I'd like to apologize in advance to, well, just about everyone. Things are about to get a lot geekier. Those with CERS, or Chronic Eye Rolling Syndrome (my sister was afflicted when I blossomed into geekhood with my discovery of "Star Wars"), should look away. I'm starting to get excited about space again.

I'd like to apologize in advance to, well, just about everyone. Things are about to get a lot geekier.

Those with CERS, or Chronic Eye Rolling Syndrome (my sister was afflicted when I blossomed into geekhood with my discovery of "Star Wars"), should look away, cut out the article, roll it up, burn it, sprinkle the ashes in a rough circle, and dance about, all in order to protect themselves from geek infection. Those without CERS, drink deeply.

I'm starting to get excited about space again.

It snuck up on me! For the past couple of years, I've had my head buried in the proverbial sand, only interacting with what used to be one of my favorite subjects in the universe through cheesy science fiction serials (science only in the broadest of senses), through non-cheesy sources like Robert Heinlein and Spider Robinson, authors I adore, and through liberal applications of "Firefly" beamed directly into my frontal lobe.

But recently, having gotten bitten by the revamped "Star Trek" franchise, I've found my thoughts rambling in that direction again. Often I'll be sitting at a local city council meeting, listening to city minutia, when a stray thought will occur to me: How would this work on a space station? Or on the moon? On a colony ship sent to explore the edges of human knowledge? In another universe? How would this work with aliens on the council? How ...

(It's usually then that another reporter friend of mine will poke me before the drool starts to pool up underneath the desk and the mayor offers to call paramedics. "No, not a stroke," I say to him, but I'm never sure he believes me.)

Recently the International Space Station received the first-ever Japanese space cargo ship, an unmanned cylinder that looks more like a Coke can than the Millennium Falcon. It's unmanned, carries both pressurized and non-pressurized sections, and brings various supplies, like laptops, up to the astronauts. Japan's spacecraft is the latest part of a quickly mounting international effort to bring freight to the station, which includes Russia's Progress freighters and the European Automated Transfer Vehicle.

Part of me is sad, too, because the space shuttle program, first launched with Columbia in 1981, is near the end of its lifespan. The United States, currently at what is the tail end of the worst financial crisis of the decade (gross understatement) will likely postpone or outright cancel development into new space technologies to replace the shuttle fleet.

The space shuttle is scheduled to be retired in 2010, which means the United States will have to rely on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to carry astronauts from the Earth into space. It may be cliche patriotism, but I want American spacemen ferried in American spacecraft.

Still, I have confidence that will work itself out, and we'll be going for the big prize: moon colonies! NASA probes have detected the possibility of water at the moon's south pole, which is an important factor for future space travel throughout the solar system and for the viability of any kind of moon community.

Not to mention, I really want to live on the moon. Call me a Loonie if you want. I wouldn't mind.

David Ryan Palmer, a writer/reporter for the Southwest Daily News in Sulphur, La., is happy to include as many "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" references in as many things as he can shoehorn. You can contact him at nonah.me@gmail.com.