Ever since I was a small child, the idea of space travel has fascinated me. I can remember back in the 60's, watching the last of the Mercury missions, through the Gemini and Apollo programs. Like every other American (as well as the rest of the world) in that hot summer of July, 1969, our family watched in awe as two human beings stepped foot on the moon. My parents let me stay up late that night when Neil Armstrong planted his booted foot in the soil, and the whole world became a bit smaller. I also remember, but not totally comprehending the tragedy of two years earlier, when three astronauts, Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee died in a launch pad fire on Apollo 1.
The Challenger and Columbia disasters. I remember where I was when they happened. For Challenger, I was working, and had just dropped off a patient at the hospital when I heard it on the radio in the ambulance. For Columbia, it was waking up that morning to the horrible news that it had happened again.
It was this interest in the space program that pushed me towards the realm of science fiction, both in print, and in the movies and TV. I fully remember the first sci-fi book I ever read, "The Andromeda Strain." While there were some things in it at the time that were hard for a 10 year-old to grasp, I read it, and read it, over and over again until I got it. From TV, it was the the cheesy stuff, Fireball XL-5, Space, 1999, and even some of the original Star Trek series (not all of them Cake, so don't kill me) to more polished shows such as Babylon 5, and the recently ended Battlestar Galactica, where the ideas that science fiction presented allowed me to dream beyond the confines of my earthly home, and in some ways, helped me to push my own dreams forward.
Then of course, there is Blade Runner. I would be remiss in not mentioning the inspiration for this blog, as well as a movie that had a profound impact on me. It still inspires me to this day.
The unmanned missions to other planets; Pathfinder, Viking, the two current Mars rovers, just to name a few. Then, there's Hubble. I think that with all the accomplishments that other unmanned probes have to list, for me, nothing stands out like Hubble. Its eye has opened up the universe in ways that awe like no other. However, there is another telescope that has given Hubble a run for its money; the Chandra X-Ray observatory. It was this space telescope that inspired me this week, and just makes your jaw drop. It was this picture in particular, that makes me realize how insignificant, and how special we are as humans on this planet:
How incredibly amazing is this? It was labeled the "Cosmic Hand," for its obviously weird similarity to a human hand. The first thing that jumped to mind was Michelangelo's painting in the Sistine Chapel of God reaching out to Adam to give him the spark of life.
In reality, it is a nebula created by a dying star, a pulsar, seemingly touching another nebula. Though the two are far apart, they are cosmic neighbors. In any case, it is a example of the pure beauty and violence that the universe can offer.
the state of windmills - This is a nice series of old windmills the USPS put out in 1980 the one in *Virginia* is located in Williamsburg, known as the Robertson Windmill. the on...
3 days ago