Cooper was born at the wrong time, his father-in-law tells him.
Originally a pilot and engineer, Cooper never fulfilled his dream of exploring the final frontier. The blight and the dust storms came, and the world ran out of food. He became a farmer.
Cooper’s world is devoid of creativity, innovation, aspirations, and hope. NASA’s budget was slashed after people began to starve, leaving humanity without the possibility of finding another habitable planet. Schoolteachers provide Cooper’s daughter with a "corrected" textbook that says America faked the moon landing to bankrupt the Soviets.
"We used to look up in the sky and wonder, at our place in the stars," Cooper says. "Now we just look down, and worry about our place in the dirt."
But NASA is not dead. Remnants of the once-celebrated organization are planning one last mission to find an alternative home and save humanity from extinction. And they want Coop to pilot that mission.
Faced with a hostile, indifferent climate on Earth and a narrow-minded public, Cooper has to make a choice. Will he stay on the planet and keep his children safe as the dust storms swell and oxygen in the atmosphere dissipates, or will he sacrifice watching his children grow up to find humanity a home in another galaxy?
Cooper makes the sacrifice of pioneers, motivated by the desire to save millions of families and render the vast unknown of space known. He rejects the fatalism of a generation that has given up on survival. He rages against the dying of the light.
"Perhaps we’ve just forgotten," Cooper says. "That we are still pioneers. That we’ve barely begun. And that our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us. That our destiny lies above us."
Amen, Coop. For inspiring us to once again take risks and reach for the stars, Cooper is a Washington Free Beacon man of the year.
Published under: Men of the Year