The space shuttle releases its rockets and before they know it, they’re in deep, dark, incredible space.
written by Lucy M. Goerge
llustrated by Ando Twin
QEB Publishers, 2016
I never wanted to be an astronaut. Lots of kids did, though. It was the 1960s after all and the Space Race was in full gear. I don’t think it had anything to do with the outfits or the dried food. I’m okay in closed places, but maybe not for weeks (or months) on end. I’m awed by the view from high places.
Maybe it was the math. Or all those time zones.
Lots of brave and adventurous kids grew up to astronauts: John Glenn, Sally Ride, Neil Armstrong, Judith Resnick, for example.
Now we have an International Space Station. I last wrote about the ISS in January, 2016 (The Impossible Dream). Another launch is scheduled for December 8, so I thought I’d revisit.
Six astronauts are aboard doing research, three Americans, two Russians, and an Italian. The crew is studying how to grow plants and had a successful Thanksgiving harvest of cabbage, lettuce, and mizuna (an Asian green). When space missions are longer, astronauts will need to grow their own food. Learning how plants react to microgravity is important.
Will that help me next Spring when I put out my Leaf and Romaine? Maybe not in an actual sense, but feeling connected to Outer Space, something much bigger than me, helps me find perspective in these “crazy” times at home on Earth.
The astronauts are studying weather and electronics. They’re studying the effects of microgravity on muscle-loss. They’re studying how to protect low-flying satellites from radiation.
And they’re running out of essentials. A SpaceX rocket will deliver 2.5 tons of supplies and equipment, including fiber optics. You can view the launch on line (if you can’t get to NASA by this Friday). https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/launches-and-events/events-calendar/see-a-rocket-launch
You can find the ISS as it orbits over you on this schedule: https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/sightings/view.cfm?country=United_States®ion=Ohio&city=Boardman#.WiZqh0qnHIU
So I’m asking myself, “Why am I more interested in space now than I was when I was young?”
I think it has to do with perspective and taking the long view of what is important. Siri, OKGoogle, and Cortana calculate answers fast, but can’t reason out why I like yellow more than gray or why bananas are repulsive.
Some things just are. I know that. But I like to wonder. Why? What if. . .? What happens when. . .? In Outer Space, there are more questions than answers. Brave scientists are searching. I admire that.
One day soon, I’ll talk about Tesla, Musk, and SpaceX. I wish them well on their last launch of the year.