A Chance to Glance at a Dream. The Authors Collection.
June 19, 2014
RECENTLY, THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION passed directly over our home on a clear night and at a time when we were awake. Of course, we had to go out and watch its six minute flight. Actually, with all our trees, it was only visible for three minutes. But there were no clouds, nothing to obstruct our view, except those trees. We stood, necks craned, tracking its progress, in awe.
How did we know it would be there? The local TV station announced its direction, its elevation and the time. And so we went out to view it, as we had several times before. Most likely, thousands of others across the country followed the man-made satellite as it soared 250 miles above us at roughly 17,200 miles per hour, with a wingspan the length of a football field.
But from our vantage point, it is just a bright, white dot, racing across the sky. So, why did we check the clock, careful not to miss it, particularly when we had seen it before? Why do so many people make a point to stretch their necks to watch a tiny spot move rapidly, smoothly, and silently across the dark sky?
Because it is not a white dot racing across the sky. It is man soaring through the skies, through the heavens. It is an incredible collection of laboratories which for over a decade has been carrying out experiments in astrobiology, astronomy, medicine, sciences (both physical and life), weather, meteorology, and more. It is an experiment in which many nations, often at odds with each other, come together to work on a project to help mankind learn. It will someday act as a staging base for missions to the moon, Mars and asteroids.
It is man’s tentative steps into space.
And watching it is our chance to glance at a dream.
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