The Space Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to land today, ending NASA’s Space Shuttle program, and current US-operated missions in space. American astronauts will still be in space, on the ISS, but will be using Russian Soyuz rockets. Gives you a whole new perspective on the concept of hitchhiking.
The end of the Space Shuttle program is especially sad given that today is the anniversary of the of Neil Armstrong’s famous words: “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind” following the landing of the Eagle, the lunar module of Apollo 11. Days that changed to world.
A great overview of the Apollo program is the HBO miniseries “From the Earth to the Moon.” It makes you feel as if you’re part of those heady times where all the people in the Apollo program were bound together by this overarching mission, and with this heady sense of discovery, no matter what their individual roles or positions were. And it makes you wish for the days when NASA will return to those glorious days of exploration, not just of the moon, but also of Mars and so on. The Mars rover programs fascinate as well, but it’s just a different thing to know that humans are exploring the universum.
Time to go watch “Mare Tranquilitatis” – the episode detailing Apollo 11.