Tis the night before Christmas and the whole house is silent. Everyone is finally in bed all tucked in and fast asleep. There is a plate of chocolate chip cookies and milk for Santa Clause and carrots for the reindeer right next to the fireplace. The house is beautifully decorated and the Christmas tree looks exceptionally nice this year (very symmetrical which is important for the physicist in me, not even magnetic monopoles can ruin this evening). I am here downstairs feeling extremely grateful for the life I have. My two little "blessings" - Kaitlyn and Taylor are fast asleep. They look like two angels. They had a busy day today. We went to see Disney on Ice, had family over for dinner and the anticipation of opening Christmas presents tomorrow morning was too much and it was the easiest night to tuck them in and put them to sleep.
I have had an amazing and a very blessed year. I am married to a woman who supports me in everything I do (yes, I went to MARS twice this year), the kids are healthy and cute and doing well in school. We have a beautiful home. Work is intense but fun and very rewarding. I work for a company that is a market leader. We are the best in our field. Because of my position in the company I have a policy that I will not blog about my work. This much I can share: I am part of a team that is changing the way medicine is practiced. We are passionate about what we do, we work very hard and one can say that we are quite daring in our thinking and how we go about reducing our thoughts to practice. This year we changed the "standard of care" for patients with aortic stenosis who are not suitable candidates for surgery. This year our youngest patient treated was 11 years and our oldest was 102. It's hard to believe that Justin R our youngest "compassionate use patient" who was also the first patient to receive a pulmonic valve in the US is now 5 years out. He had a short time to live before we stepped in and moved heaven and earth to get him a percutaneous valve. I have a wonderful family, get to go to work and change the world, fly planes, SCUBA dive and go on simulated Mars missions to the Mars Desert Research Station. Not a bad life at all!
All of you who know me, knows how passionate I am about human spaceflight. So as I go to sleep on this Christmas Eve, I am going to dream a little dream. I am going to dream about this. Because while my wife dreams of the girls someday spending a semester at the Sorbonne in Paris.. hee, hee. I have a different dream for the girls. I want them to spend a semester studying while in orbit around Io or Europa. I want them to see and go places that is beyond my imagination. So, tonight I am going to dream about flying the Dragon. Why? Because these guys at SpaceX are doing for human spaceflight what my team is doing for medicine. Changing the "standard".
Merry Christmas to ALL.
Animation showing the proposed flight profile of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft ferrying astronauts to the International Space Station under NASA's NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS-D) contract.