June 27, 2013

Human Ingenuity

This week the International Space Station's orbit takes it right over our neck of the woods for a few minutes each night.

There we stood on Tuesday evening, staring up at the sky at the bright light of the ISS as it streaked across the sky.  I am sure the neighbors wondered what the heck we were doing.

My kids talked about Chris Hadfield, the recently returned from space and then retired Canadian astronaut that is famous for his YouTube videos from the station as he gave tours, answered kids' questions, did experiments and, perhaps most famously, performed music from space.

I am a little too young to remember the excitement of America's early space programs, but I do remember television time devoted to launches and landings.  I vividly remember the tragedies of the shuttle program.  My kids were excited to see the ISS for three minutes as it sparkled in the night sky - but I struggled to answer them when they asked who was on the station now, and what their purpose was.

I am sure there are plenty of research-based scientific things going on that may, one day, be important to our everyday lives.  It is sad that we don't really know what those things are.

I don't know what there is left to accomplish in space (and the idea of populating another planet holds no attraction for me), but I wish there were something about the space program that we could still celebrate together as a nation.


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