Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Appreciating What We Have Already

Sometimes we forget we're living in really amazing times. I saw this over on Wayne Hales' blog and shamelessly stole it. It looks like the cover of an SF book or a still from an SF movie, but it's not. It's astronaut Tracy Caldwell-Dyson looking out of the ISS cupola. Here's the full-sized original from wikimedia.

Wayne Hale talked about how images like this would inspire the public. I was personally wondering how she managed to look like she was lying down when she was in zero g, and whether her elbow was going to smudge the optically perfect glass.

For me, the constant SF eye candy can never dull the awesome reality of knowing that someone up there is seeing something like this right now. We have a 300 tonne space station, 3 different unmanned cargo vehicles, a space plane headed for retirement and the prospect of 3 or 4 new craft to replace it. Add to that the prospect of a private space station before the end of the decade, the Russians and Chinese possibly building their own and it gives you hope for the future. Yeah, space isn't happening as quickly as we would like but boy, what we have already boggles the mind.

If you've got the time (and bandwidth) why not watch a tour of the ISS from Youtube and get a taste of what it's like out there.

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