Saturday, November 29, 2014

Finding the mothership

Orbital view
Outer Space
November 2014
This is the view from a Soyuz spacecraft - specifically TMA-15M - as it approached the International Space Station last Sunday night. I screen-grabbed the image from my iPad as I sat on the couch in my living room. And as much as screen-grabbing something has become somewhat routine in this age of mobile devices and high-speed wireless networks, I didn't want the moment to pass into history without a bit of reflection.

That's because as nonchalant as it might seem to use an iPad to watch a spacecraft dock, live, as it flies around the planet at 25 times the speed of sound, the entire process, and our earthbound involvement in it, is anything but nonchalant or routine.

The technology that allowed me - and thousands more folks like me scattered around the globe - to peer over the shoulder of an astronaut and watch this surreal scene unfold in real-time is nothing short of miraculous. A countless number of tiny moving pieces all had to work flawlessly for the entire moment to happen in the first place - and for it to be shared. And as easy as it seemed within the confines of a 9.7-inch tablet screen, I knew that this stuff was, indeed is, special.

Space is hard. Global communication is hard, too. And the very fact that we live in an age where we can actively participate in moments like this is something that deserves to be marked and celebrated. Just because it's routine doesn't mean it isn't remarkable.

Safe flight to the six space travellers who now live on the ISS. We'll be watching.

Your turn: Something that deserves a second look. Please discuss.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Carmi, I do agree with you that this is something we should not just let pass us by without noticing. This Is short of miraculous! This is my third viewing of an ISS docking. On the last one (expedition 42) about a week ago, I snapped several hundreds screen- shots with my iPad.

During the "environment/climate stabilization" between the ISS and Soyuz, I was watching in total fascination for about an hour on NASA TV, the interview with Samanta, she is really something else! Love her. They have now two women on board, another first! I stayed up late to watch the joining of the two teams, and the communication of the three newcomers and their families on the ground in Russia.

I have a collection by now of several thousands pictures from our breathtaking planet as seen from the ISS copula I've captured from Twitter, AWESOME!!

Will continue following their journeys and numerous fascinating experiments for a long time to come!