'Astronaut Suicides' shows why we need to return to space

In first grade, my teacher asked my class what our desired occupation was in the future. Several other friends and I answered "astronaut." None of us ever did come close.

It's an uncertain time for American astronaut hopefuls. The Space Shuttle program's over and we're not even sure how we're going to send new men and women into space without piggybacking on a Soyuz rocket or hopping in a private SpaceX capsule. Yes, things look cloudy and gray now, but we have to remember that as long as we can dream it, we can do it.

In a weird, oblique way, that's exactly what Neil DaCosta and Sara Phillips are saying with their set of photos entitled Astronaut Suicides.

Here we have an unemployed astronaut, sitting idly, drowning in his/her generic Earthly routine and ready to commit suicide in various ways. It's utterly strange. According to DaCosta and Phillips, the photos aren't meant to pour gasoline onto the burning flames of the astronaut dream, but were taken to serve as sort of a reminder that astronauts are still important to U.S. space exploration and we still need dreamers.

"We wanted to acknowledge the end of an era in a visual way that would bring the conversation to the creative community," says Phillips. "The incongruity of the astronaut in these situations is, we hope, compelling and humorous, and we hope that we're encouraging a younger audience to pay attention to what's going on."

The astronaut isn't dead or dying then as Astronaut Suicides would suggest, but is in hibernation. There's still hope that the U.S. will blast astronauts into space atop a modified Atlas V rocket or a Falcon Heavy rocket. It's morbid, sure, but it makes you care about the astronaut as a symbol and a character.

Check out Astronaut Suicides for yourself in the whimsical gallery below.

Astronaut Suicides, via Wired

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