This has been an incredible weekend for science. Not so much for important, Earth-shattering discoveries, but for excitement, and meaningful endeavors.
Yesterday the shuttle Endeavor began its trip through the streets of Las Angeles to its new home on display in the California Science Center. I’ve seen some awesome pictures of the parade, with the shuttle just barely clearing trees and buildings along the route by mere inches.
The shuttles have been an iconic part of American culture since before I was born. It seems strange to be moving beyond that era, especially without a clear successor to the shuttle.
The other “bit of incredibleness” (as Kat refers to it) is Felix Baumgartner’s epic jump out of a pressurized capsule 128,000 feet above the Earth, landing with incredible grace on his own two feet. He actually broke the sound barrier on his way down.
Neither of these events advanced human knowledge or scientific understanding. What they did was to bring us closer to each other. With the Endeavor, throngs of Americans lined the street to see the immense spacecraft slowly make its way down the street. Some were almost close enough to touch it. This was a moment to remember, not just the shuttle itself, but the space program in its entirety and how far we’ve come in the last fifty years.
With the space jump, people all over the world watching this Austrian skydiver land in the desert of New Mexico. I was following the hashtag #Stratos on twitter, but few than half the posts were in English. This was not a daredevil stunt. This was a mission with extensive safety precautions and training and support.
This weekend also brought news for me personally. It looks like I’ll be moving on soon, as the Rev. is almost completely back to his old self. I’ll definitely be staying here through the holidays, as that’s an incredibly busy season in a church. Then sometime in January I’m headed for Las Vegas. Yup, you heard that right. It’s Vegas, baby.