Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Space, The Not-So-Final-Frontier

It's been 35 years since NASA's Apollo 11 mission landed the first two humans on the moon before safely bringing them back home. Without dating myself too badly, I was but a young pup building sand castles on the beach at Long Sault, Ontario. Yet something about the achievement resonates so strongly a generation later.

I've been a bit of an airhead and space cadet ever since. No, stop making jokes about my intelligence. Seriously, I've had a huge interest in aviation and space; both the technology that makes it all possible, and its day-to-day applications. It explains why even a flight to atomically-frozen Winnipeg (also known as Winterpeg) on behalf of a faceless corporate entity was enjoyable. I would always get the window seat, and I always enjoyed the show from the time we pushed back to the time I got off the plane.

The moral: no matter how far removed we are from the "firsts" of any technology, we should never lose sight of the magic that made it all possible in the first place.

We can explain flight by examining how air behaves as it moves over a wing. And we can explain space flight by understanding how rockets make acceleration possible in the void of space. But we can not easily appreciate the courage it takes to take that first step, so jaded have we become in our cocoon of modern technology.

2 comments:

Trillian said...

I have to say that I also look forward to the window seat when flying. I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time that way, and it was amazing. Also, I don't know if you've seen it, but the irrigation systems out that way make most farmer's fields look like circles from that far up. You have to take my word for it.

As for space, Arthur thinks that the Apollo moon landings were faked. I wasn't alive for the whole thing, myself, and so I'm academically impartial. We'll let history decide. Oh, I guess it already has.

Carmi said...

That sounds very cool...too bad it's so hard to take good pictures through those awful plastic windows on today's planes.

I find it hard to understand why anyone wouldn't be awestruck by the cool factor of observing the planet from 7 miles.