Looking at the Big Sky

Yesterday was an interesting day. There were lots of people standing outside, looking up. And not just looking up, talking about stuff happening “up there”, “out there”…

The trifecta events of a lunar eclipse in primetime, US shooting down a spy satellite and the Shuttle Atlantis landing all on one day got space and astronomy in the mainstream news for a change. Plus, it’s an interesting mix of events.

First, the shuttle missions are are the tail-end of their history. How NASA is able to replace them might be more than just the future of NASA, it may be tied to our future in space.

Second, the US shooting down the space satellite might turn out to be one of the worst moves ever. There is quite a debate on the use of weapons in space raging. Given China’s recent shooting of a satellite, a global space arms race could bankrupt the world. Worse, it may damage any ability for humanity to unite in the massive task of manned exploration of the solar system, a task far beyond the ability of one nation. Is that what we want in space? The worst of our natures?

But, on a much better note, the beauty of lunar eclipse thrilled many last night. My good friend and avid amateur astronomer Ken Randall took some great shots last night.


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