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« Last Bastion In Baghdad | Main | Iran In Panic? »

Tragic News

Matt Bowes was a young space enthusiast, who had a blog called Space Liberates Us. I met him at a conference (I think in July, in DC, though it may have been at the ISDC in Dallas, in May).

He was far too young to die in a senseless accident but sadly, the young (particularly those young who want to conquer the newest and highest frontier) tend to be less risk averse, and sometimes, it bites them. He was only nineteen.

When I was his age, I (too?) thought that I was immortal. I imagine that he did as well. But no matter how advanced the technologies, accidents will still happen. I feel older now, and chastened, and mortal. But somehow, because of many of the advances that I read about as a child only as science fiction, but that I can now see on the technological horizon, I hope to live much longer, and my sadness at Matt's loss (and ours, who knew him) is only magnified by that thought.

From Michael Mealling (who informed me of this via email, noting that it was a motorcycle accident), of Masten Space:

Matt was an intern at Masten Space Systems this past summer. Very sad and shocking...


On Sunday, September 9, 2007 of Bethesda, MD. Beloved son of Dr. Julia A. LaJoie and Robert B. Bowes; loving brother of Audrey and Jackie Bowes. Matt is also survived by a large family and numerous friends. Friends will be received at St. Bartholomew's Catholic Church, 6900 River Rd., Bethesda, MD, on Friday, September 14 from 4 to 8 p.m., where Mass of Catholic Burial will be offered on Saturday, September 15 at 10 a.m. Interment Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Silver Spring, MD. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. Anselm's Abbey School, 4501 S. Dakota Ave., NE, Washington, DC 20017-2795, Olin College of Engineering, c/o Office of Student Life, Olin Way, Needham, MA 02492-1200 or to the MARS Society, PO Box 273, Indian Hills, CO 80454.

Please view and sign the family guestbook.

Here another obit, at the WaPo.

[Friday morning update]

More thoughts from Clark Lindsey, Jon Goff (who worked with him briefly at Masten) and Keith Cowing.

Posted by Rand Simberg at September 27, 2007 03:38 PM
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While we think about how safe or dangerous we should "allow" manned rocketry to be and while we think about how much tragedy the public may tolerate in human spaceflight endeavors we should never forget that death lurks around every corner, not just at the launch pad. Life is, to date, a 100% fatal condition, it is the journey that defines us. You must have life to live, but if you have life and don't live, that is as great a tragedy.

We may not all decide to tip the scales the same way Bowes' did, but we should all be wary of tipping them too far in the opposite direction (despite how trendy that is these days).

Posted by Robin Goodfellow at September 28, 2007 12:50 AM

Read his post from May 4th.

My sympathies to his family.

Even God needs good engineering students.

Posted by Dave G at September 28, 2007 06:08 AM

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

T. Roosevelt

Posted by jah at September 28, 2007 08:07 AM

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