STS-119

March 16, 2009

Just watched the Shuttle launch, on its way to the International Space Station to put on some new solar panel wings.

It was glorious.

There’s something about manned spaceflight that just makes my heart race in a way that simply doesn’t happen when the robots (much as I love the little guys) go off to explore Mars. That’s us up there, putting it on the line to go and expand our frontiers.

Brett Roberts found this lovely piece on the Tubes so I thought I’d share. It’s footage of the Apollo 11 launch with comments from Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins and other Apollo astronauts taken from the fabulous TV series ‘In the Shadow of the Moon’.

What always astonishes me is that in the forty years since we first stepped on the moon we’ve … stopped. The moon wasn’t the goal, it was the first stepping stone on to the rest of the universe (there’s a lot of it) and maybe as a first step it was a little too far (a space station makes more sense, intellectually speaking) but the passion, the emotion, the humanity of it as a goal is what set it apart from a scientific mission. The same reasoning (ha – lack of reason, I would say) that put us on the moon makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up whenever I watch a manned launch.

I want my girls to grow up in an ever expanding world, not one that’s static or, worse still, contracting. There’s a huge universe of opportunity out there – why don’t we grasp it with both hands!

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