Wonder Wednesday

While it may be “Launch America,” with the astronauts being Bob & Doug, there’s a definite Canadian angle to this as well… take of eh!

This is exciting as all get out.  I’m keeping the live feed from SpaceX/NASA in the corner of my monitor as I work and I’ve let everyone know I’m unavailable for an hour this afternoon.  Not. Missing. This.

Check out the live feed, on right now!

Wonder Wednesday

An amazing photo of SpaceX’s 20th CRS mission to the International Space Station, with both launch and the historic 50th landing of a booster:

Most amazing is this bit here, where you can see Main Engine Cut-Off, followed by stage separation, followed by Second Stage Engine Light, followed (and this is the super amazing bit) by first stage re-light and the boost back burn for its return back to land just a couple of miles away from where it started:

 

I can’t wait for the first crewed mission (just weeks away now!) and for tests on Starship to begin. Congrats to SpaceX!

Photos by Teslarati

 

Wonder Wednesday

From tranquility laced with danger, crammed into a can yet without the comfort of gravity, with no time left to your own devices, yet yearning, aching, needing to share this amazing new vista with everyone, a beauty beyond compare.

Alexei Leonov was not only the first person to walk in space, but also the first to draw in space, this sketch of a sunrise unlike any other:

Using the simplest of media, modified by the most hack of hacks (elastic bands FTW), with those strong strokes it evokes all the wonder and power of that sight.  Love it.

Read more about it in this article by the Guardian and compliment it with this great video by the Art Assignment.

Wonder Wednesday

The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing happens this weekend.  Watching and listening to the many recaps and recollections these past few weeks has had me repeatedly being moved by the magnificence that is when we come together to work towards, and achieve, amazing endeavours.  Moments when we reach beyond ourselves, perchance to touch the unknown, to make ourselves feel in ways perhaps before unfathomable, to be inspired, and to connect in the face of something wonderful.

“After Apollo 11, the three of us went on an around the world trip.  Wherever we went, people instead of saying ‘well, you Americans did it’, everywhere they said ‘we did it’, we human kind, we the human race, we… people did it.  And I had heard of people in different countries use this word we, we, we as emphatically as we were hearing wherever we went.  It was we finally did it.  And I thought that was a wonderful thing.”  — Michael Collins

So here’s an awesome video that combines the landing camera, ground-to-space voice loop, the ground control loop, and altitude and pitch representations to capture the entirety of the powered descent to touchdown on the moon.  Strap in, it’s time for goosebumps.

 

Wonder Wednesday

It was 1992.  I was in my first year of university.  And the game Star Control II was released.  It was big, epic, and full of exploration and story and cool starship conflict, and above all else, it had a killer soundtrack.  In the game you spent a lot of time in hyperspace, and fortunately, the music for it was fabulous:

Ahhh, great memories.  There’s a reason this game appears on so many “top games” lists, and the music is certainly one of them.  I even have all the music saved within my music library, ready to pull up for fun times at any time.

Did you play?  If so, I bet you have the theme running gloriously through your head now…

Reach for the Moon

There’s a documentary out in theatres right now titled, simply, Apollo 11, and it’s rather neat.  For you see, while it is a straightforward documentary on Apollo 11, it has an interesting conceit:  all of the film is comprised of actual archival footage or audio from the actual mission.  (The only exception is a couple of shots from other Apollo missions, and some line drawing animations showing the position and sequence of the craft on its way to and from the moon.)  That’s pretty cool.  There are no talking heads, no voice-over narration unless it comes from audio spoken and transmitted at the time (to which mission control and news reports do a great job for that), and no big explanations or digressions.  It’s the closest you can get to ‘cinema verité’ and ‘home movies from space’, just the story unfolding in a narrative manner as it happened.

Best of all, a lot of the footage is of the “never before seen” type, found almost forgotten in a NASA vault, shot in glorious 70mm and scanned at a ridiculously high resolution.  There are some amazing shots and sequences that alone were worth the price of admission, doubly so worth it to see it on a large screen.  There were also some candid moments of levity between the crew and control that were both hilarious and oh so human, a lovely touch to this technological marvel that, at the same time, touches our souls deeply in the spirit of exploration, accomplishment, and wonder.*

I would have preferred things if they hadn’t broken the conceit to include the animations (though I understand why they did so, not everyone would be as familiar with it all as I was), but my biggest “complaint” is simply that I wanted it to be longer.  I wanted more of the amazing footage, more of the banter, more of the wonder unfolding before me.  And that’s pretty high praise indeed.

Apollo 11 is a definite good, well worth seeing in a cinema.  A great remembrance of a grand mission.

 

* To this end, if you haven’t seen the documentary In the Shadow of the Moon I highly, highly recommend it.  It’s the complete opposite of Apollo 11, composed of interviews with most of the astronauts who travelled to the moon (Michael Collins is a freakin’ riot, I love that guy) and it’s profound to hear of their experiences.