REARDON: St. Louis Needs Inspiration From NASA's Brooke Harper

The St. Louis native is part of the Mars InSIght lander team

Mark Reardon
November 30, 2018 - 9:51 am
Mars InSIght photo

Photo provided/NASA

I had a great conversation with NASA Engineer and St. Louis Native Brooke Harper this week and I thanked her. Brooke made news not only because she works on the team that guided the successful touchdown of the InSIght lander on the surface of Mars—but also because of an epic handshake celebration.

If you haven’t seen her NFL touchdown like celebration you can watch here:

The reason I thanked Brooke is that we need news like that of her inspirational success story at NASA and what became the viral celebration that followed. When I say “we” I mean collectively but I also mean here in St. Louis. At the same time I was having an amazing conversation with Brooke on KMOX on Thursday afternoon (you can listen below or here) another devastating story for our city was unfolding with the Federal indictment of 4 St. Louis City police officers.

Related: 4 St. Louis Officers Indicted for Civil Rights Violations, Obstruction of Justice

Mind you this came in the same week as what appears to be a major victory for the city. By a vote of 26-to-2 today, the Board of Alderman committee passed a bill that would clear the way for an MLS stadium to be built on a piece of land that has been sitting idle for decades. Nothing is final of course, and the ownership group still needs the league to award the franchise, but don’t look now—in a city that has suffered gut punch after gut punch the past five years, something really good might be about to happen.

Related: St. Louis Vote of Aldermen Passes MLS Stadium Resolution by 26-2 vote

Related: Kindle Betz, Kavanaugh Give More MLS Stadium Details

Fox Sports Midwest and Cardinals’ broadcaster Dan McLaughlin gave an impassioned speech before the board telling them:

"I believe this stadium, MLS, makes us a better city. This is progress for St. Louis. If we don’t do this, and take soccer out of the equation, if we don’t support projects like this through, believe me...we are in trouble. As a city, we need to set cranes in the ground reaching toward the sky. People at work, Progress for the city."

Related: MLS Stadium Resolution Unanimously Passes Out of Committee

There have been legitimate questions asked by elected officials during this process, but the bottom line is the MLS stadium proposal is a no-brainer. And for the first time in a while, I saw people this week buzzing about opportunity and progress in St. Louis. At least for a little while. But then came the indictments.

So, here’s hoping during this Holiday season we have a reason to be optimistic in St. Louis. It’s been tough. The new indictments will make it tougher. 

But let’s use Brooke and her team at the Jet Propulsion Lab as some inspiration. If we can land a rover on Mars surely we can get St. Louis headed down a better more promising path.