Don’t Tell The Remote Control Spaceman What He Can’t Do

After all, he made it all the way to the MoMA (store). It’s just a shame the journey cost him everything.

Don’t Tell The Remote Control Spaceman What He Can’t Do

How will I be remembered? What is my lasting legacy? These are questions that plague most of us most every day. But it was never a question for Spaceman. Some might say it was a shame we lost him so young–these people didn’t know Spaceman. I dare say, these people don’t even know themselves.


“we absolutely loved this – its [sic] a riot but it broke within 15 minutes. it flew high immediately and hit the ceiling and then nose dived to ground and broke apart. we were heartbroken. better directions and a warning would have probably helped.”

Nothing would have helped. Because you don’t tell Spaceman what he can’t do. Trust me, I know.

“We ordered two of these astronauts to be Santa gifts. Neither one will work, and the kids were crushed. An uncle who is a mechanical engineer could not get them to function. We will be returning them for a refund.”

The Remote Control Spaceman is not a toy, just as a mechanical engineer is no astronaut.

“the spaceman almost immediately became damaged on his propeller when it had a hard langind [sic] and an extremely tiny screw fell out. We were able to find the screw after several hours and his handy father re-attached it with some glue and then it worked again. How much longer will it last? I suspect not much…”

Well, they were right about that. Spaceman had a death wish since day one, but I consider myself lucky to have known him, if only for half a semester at college when we shared a dorm room. By then he’d found his calling. Girls would come by, ask him to go dancing–he was handsome, I guess–but Spaceman was singularly focused. He always had an excuse, like running to the store to get more black or red paint.


Or … maybe I shouldn’t tell this story here. But if not here, where else? Right before his death, Spaceman started going on long walks. He wouldn’t tell anyone where he was going, even when we’d ask. So some of us followed him one night. We weren’t being nosy, we were just worried that he was in trouble or something. That’s when we realized Spaceman, a mere undergrad, had been hosting the entire astrophysics faculty on the quad, giving lectures on his theoretical space-copter.

The shouting cut through the night, full of passionate arguments on why helicopters couldn’t work in the vacuum of space, countered with several hundred lines of equations–like you see in the movies–that Spaceman stood firmly by because, apparently, no one could disprove them. And the only way he could prove them? To test the space-copter in flight.

Of course it didn’t work. Helicopters don’t work in vacuums. Even I know that. Still, he was a better man than you. He was a better man than any of us.

Pay your respects here ($26).

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started, a simple way to give back every day.