Friday, August 19, 2005

Aim for the stars

A photo of an F-15 with the space shuttle lifting off in the background (it almost looks altered (no jet trail), but I think the light color on the underside suggests a dawn shot, which correlates well with the background).

I almost posted this over at my alter ego's web site, Serendipity Happens, because it's more reflective in nature, but the F-15 fighter isn't appropriate there.

This is one of many interesting photos and reflections by Damaris, a young woman who's blog is how I am becoming an astronaut. I'm particularly interested in her story, because I (showing my age) can remember the latter Apollo missions. I wish there were more than a possibility of a shadowy memory of seeing the very first landing. I'd have to check with my parents to see if they had me parked in front of the TV. I was probably at the babysitter's house - Mrs. Bridger. I can't imagine why I would have missed it. Everyone in the world with access to a television was watching.

I always wanted to be an astronaut growing up (yeah sure, I know - who didn't). Those moon landings inspired me to challenge myself, and to excel in areas of study that I might not otherwise have attempted.

Along the way, I found other things that captured my imagination, but I still look toward the heavens in wonder (much easier to do in Wisconsin than in New Orleans where there's almost always a haze over the city from the heat and humidity).

Well Damaris - aim high. Good luck!


At 8/19/2005 02:56:00 PM, Blogger Michael said...

I think your Google Moon post a few weeks ago brought out my own space geek, and I've devoted some spare time of late to prowling around NASA's (and Wikipedia's) legacy pages...

Aside: I always find it odd to consider that what looks so out-of-date (for instance, shots of Mission Control's computer set up) was state of the art back then...

And, one note re: whether or not you viewed the moon landing--if I remember right, Armstrong didn't step on the moon until kind of late at night (they landed, then took a six hour rest break). One other thing I DEFINITELY remember from that time were various animations and "simulations" that the television networks ran--the latter being in-studio recreations that might have helped launch the moon landing hoax nonsense.

At 8/19/2005 04:19:00 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...

My wife recently bought an old video cassette of the Apollo 11 mission. Pretty hokey NASA production. Weird serialist music in the background, and that stale chainsmoker's delivery. No information other than banal remarks like "the astronauts conducted important science experiments that provided scientists with data to analyze for years to come." It was a great reminiscence of my days growing up. I remembered, for example, that when I was a kid I built a little plastic model of the lunar lander complete with gold foil.

Have you been paying attention to the upcoming Mars opposition? I'm no astronomer, and there are a few other planets out there right now to cause confusion, but on a clear night, you just about make out the circular shape of Mars with the naked eye.

I love the NASA images. You know, the Stennis Space Center visitors' center is worth a stop the next time you're headed to the Gulf Coast. It's right at the entrance, and not that far off the highway - plus, it's just a beatiful, peaceful area that reminds me in some ways of Wisconsin (well, that's Mississippi generally, sans all the things you mentioned about cultural differences in another post).

At 8/20/2005 12:11:00 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Thanks for the tip about the Stennis center--I'll put it on my list. As for the Mars opposition, yeah, I've kept an eye out. A couple of years ago the opposition was likewise really something, and I got good views from my parents' house out near New Iberia. If I remember right, there was a big dust storm on the planet that made it even more copper colored.

My folks have a small telescope, and I pulled it out, but it really didn't help--although with the scope, you can see Saturn's rings, Titan, Jupiter's bands (barely) and the Galilean satellites. With the higher power lens, you can also catch the rotation of the earth, because your target will appear to move.

One thing I'll never object to as a taxpayer is money spent on space/space science research. As Enrico Fermi said when asked about how pure physics contributed to the national defense, it gives us something worth defending...

At 8/20/2005 12:35:00 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...

There's a guy in the French Quarter who occasionally rolls his big reflecting telescope out for people. He asks for donations - no hard sell. He can usually be found Friday or Saturday nights in front of Cafe du Monde. I hope to head down there some night when it's clear to see if he's there. If you ask him questions, it sets him off like he's lived on a planet for years where there's no intelligent life (French Quarter tourists?).


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