Wonder Wednesday

Here’s an amazing and quite detailed tour of the International Space Station, visiting every module from tip to tip to tip to tip!  Plus some great views out the various portholes and windows… and all in French!  (With English subtitles too!)

Crew-2 returned just a few days ago (with the video’s host, Thomas Pesquet aboard) and Crew-3 has just departed a few hours ago on their way to the ISS.  Busy week in the lovely gem of the ISS!

Wonder Wednesday

A little over two weeks ago, I was supremely privileged to get to walk on hallowed ground… and in no way could I contain my excitement!

Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.  Yes, I totally squeed.  There is so much history from this pad:  Apollo, Skylab, Shuttle, F9, FH, and now Crew Dragon.  Amazing.  And while the technical bits are exciting, above all I am always moved to tears witnessing and being present to the great heights we can accomplish when we work together towards a lofty goal.

After the visit came time to watch the launch from the most prime of locations, atop OSB-2!

Needless to say, it was a grand time, 100% exhilarating and wonderful.  After the lifetime of never seeing a launch in person, twice now within a year.  And I’m very much down for more.

Wonder Wednesday

Pale Blue Dot, 1990, taken 6 billion km from earth by the Voyager 1 spacecraft, the last photograph it took during its mission, enhanced by modern computing techniques in 2020.

The Day the Earth Smiled, 2013, taken from the orbit of Saturn by the Cassini spacecraft.

Link to a wonderful article describing how both photos came to be.

And if you’ve not heard Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot thoughts, do so here:

Last Orbit

Sad news today, hearing that Michael Collins passed away.  He is one of my absolute favourite astronauts; every time I saw him speak, he always radiated an authentic zest for life, mixed serious capability with a twinkle of humour & amusement, and he was profoundly connected with our shared humanity. If you can pardon the pun, he seemed someone who was very down to earth, being humble, earnest, eager, excited, and kind.

If you haven’t seen the documentary “In the Shadow of the Moon” do yourself a favour and check it out.  It’s a wonderful piece that captures the Apollo program through the astronauts own words and, most importantly, their experiences.  Rather than focus on the technical bits and the historical contexts, which, don’t get me wrong, are great and I love that bit too, but this one’s uniquely focused on the astronauts as people and that’s what makes it really special to watch.  And watch Michael Collins, who embodies all I said above.

Rest in Peace, Mr Collins.  You led us to the moon and back, and left our spirits forever looking towards the stars.

Wonder Wednesday

Ohhh yes, more Perseverance! Starting with these amazing videos of the landing, taken from the descent ship, sky crane, and the rover itself:

And then this 360 degree panorama of the Martian landscape that Perseverance finds itself in:

And to cap it off, this wonderful little bit… turns out the descent chute had a hidden message in it!

Which has already been decoded by internet sleuths (it was in binary):

“Dare Mighty Things.”  The motto of the JPL, and boy, they dared and did a great thing indeed.

 

Wonder Saturday (from Thursday)

Another amazing achievement by NASA and JPL in landing the Perseverance rover on Mars!  I watched the livestream just as I did during the descent of Curiosity back in 2015, and it was just as exciting.  And doubly so to see ‘familiar faces’ in the control room who also worked on Curiosity.  Also fun to note the differences several years of tech have made, with better telemetry and images coming in much sooner after touchdown.

And as if that wasn’t amazing enough… the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter managed to capture a picture of the descent, with the rover capsule dangling beneath its (largest ever, supersonic) parachute!

Wickedly cool all around.