This is what tonight needs to be all about…..my hot cup of tea in my fancy tea cup….my yummy smelling candle lit……and my heart thankful that I’m living here on planet Earth. Tonight Steve and I had the opportunity to go out on a date (thank you Grammy Jeannie!). We headed over to ArcLight Theaters to watch ‘Gravity’ with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Wow was that intense. Made me realize so many things.
1. Being an astronaut can be scary stuff if things go wrong.
2. Now I totally get what my friend Beth was describing- of the mess in space from when China purposefully destroyed one of its own satellites- and created a ton of space debris. Oh.my.word. Now I understand the Kessler Syndrome: “wherein impacts between objects of sizable mass spalls off debris from the force of collision. The shrapnel can then hit other objects, creating even more space debris”. Scary stuff I’m telling you. Scary. Intense. Not good. At all.
3. Oh my word I feel myself understanding what my friend Thelma meant when she said with all sorts of angst in her voice “AND WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT?!” Okay so the Chinese tested an anti-satellite missile test and purposefully blew up one of their own satellites. It resulted in the largest recorded creation of space debris in history with at least 2,317 pieces of trackable size (golf ball size and larger) and an estimated 150,000 debris particles. My word. I never knew about that. It really did happen- in 2007. That is a lot of trash just speeding through space! How is it that even space is now messed up by humans? Wow.
4. I was happy tonight to have my feet firmly grounded on Earth. There were so many gnarly situations that Sandra Bullock was in, as the main astronaut. Wow. Being lost in space is no joke. Being without communication to Mission Control on Earth would be beyond scary. Having limited or no exit plans back to Earth would be a harrowing reality. I seriously thought I was going to cry by the end of the movie- there was so much built up suspense and emotion throughout the movie. It made me realize what incredible amounts of courage astronauts have when they blast off into space and leave behind all the securities and comforts of life on Earth. I’ve been in awe of all that I’ve been reading and learning about space…..but tonight I have a newfound awe and admiration for astronauts.
5. Almost every night I’ve been opening up an app on my iPhone and pointing it up to the night sky to learn how to identify the constellations. Space is a-m-a-z-i-n-g. It is so vast. There is SO much out there! I’ve been finding myself reading and reading a ton of literature about space. The stuff fascinates me. I truly am very intrigued by it all. The irony of it all….that tonight when we went on our date night and watched Gravity….that today is the marked “Day of Remembrance” that NASA has set aside to remember those who actually have lost their lives in the exploration of space.
“Virgil I. “Gus” Grisson, Edward H. White II and Roger B. Chaffee perished in NASA’s first major tragedy on Jan. 27, 1967. A fire broke out in the Apollo 1 module during a ground test at the launch pad about a month before the scheduled launch.
Almost 20 years later, NASA lost seven more astronauts when the space shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds after launch on Jan. 28, 1986. Francis “Dick” Scobee, Ron McNair, Mike Smith, Ellison Onizuka, Judy Resnik, Greg Jarvis and NASA’s first educator astronaut, Christa McAuliffe. Exceptionally cold weather had caused a seal, called an O-ring, on the shuttle’s right solid rocket booster to fail at liftoff. This allowed pressurized hot gas to escape from inside the booster, which damaged the attachment between the booster and the orbiter.
On Feb. 1, 2003, NASA suffered another space tragedy when the space shuttle Columbia broke up over Texas on its return home at the end of the STS-107 mission. Following the accident, studies showed that a piece of foam insulation from Columbia’s fuel tank broke off during launch and hit the orbiter’s left wing, damaging the heat shield. Commander Rick Husband, pilot William McCool, mission specialists Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, David Brown, payload commander Michael Anderson and Illan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut, were lost when the orbiter’s heat shield failed to protect the vehicle from the intense heat upon re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.”
6. When I see pictures of Earth taken from space, there is just an awe that overwhelms me. A beautiful sight.
7. Working in weightlessness. Wow.
8. Muscle atrophy. Bone loss. Issues with vision. Radiation exposure. Breathing recycled air- never having fresh air for months on end. Being away from family….far far away. Astronauts accept these risks and realities. They are brave, brave, brave people.
9. So thankful that the Internet exists and that I can learn so much at my fingertips. So thrilled to get to sit at home with my kiddos learning together. What a special day it was on Monday when we were watching a live camera feed of the two Russian cosmonauts who were out on a Space Walk at the International Space Station. The feed was on our computer for the full six hour duration. As we walked through the kitchen we kept checking on their progress. Soooooooo incredible to think that here we were doing homeschooling and there they were at the ISS walking in space, tethered, doing their work. Absolutely mind-boggling. So thrilled we live in a day and age that we can witness this because of incredible technology. I love the internet!
10. Happy that tonight was Date Night. Happy that I got to spend time with my hubby and best friend. Thankful for his humor as we walked into the theater, when he turned to me and said “I think I’m going to leave my jacket on so that as you grip my arm during the movie, your nails don’t bury themselves into my skin.” Ha! He totally knows me!!!! He knew that the suspense of this movie would be at the extreme of what I could handle. I was thrilled to get to hold hands with him. To cling to him.