"Spin" in aviation training: a "stall" or loss of lift, a subsequent nose-down spin, the specific actions required for recovery, and the feeling, after recovery, that you could tackle absolutely anything!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The International Space Station and That Dog.

I wish I was a scientist.  I really do. If I could go back and do it all again, I would have paid attention in math and chemistry and I would be, right now, high above the Earth doing some experiment in the International Space Station.  I'm sorry, but I still don't understand why, when it passes, we aren't all out in our back yards watching it go.  I'm there, but I never see anyone else, except for the old, annoying dog in the Mercheson's yard. Its just he and I, watching something remarkable.

The I.S.S. orbits the Earth every ninety minutes, at a speed of (you might want to sit down for this,) 17,320 Miles Per Hour.  THAT IS REALLY, REALLY FAST.  We can see it, with the naked eye when the sun reflects off of it's sixteen solar arrays.  And then, THEN, inside it, there are people; brilliant people doing science.  Shall we discuss, for example, "Heliophysics."  Heliophysics, which is the study of the sun and how it affects the Earth, basically.  Say it: "Heliophysics." "Heliophysics."  I could have been a 

"Yes, Mrs. Demetre, this is Dr. Suzanne Crone."
"Oh, really.  How nice.  And what are you a doctor of...dear?"
"That's lovely.  And look at the new drapes in this room.  Aren't they something? I think I need a drink."

I've watched it pass for years now.  I check the website and find the times and the directions (Heavens Above) and then I wait.  And then it comes, like a trusted friend bounding out of his door after dinner.  It's bright and steady and never lets me down.  Every time I see it, it helps me to reset my priorities, and yes, it makes me a little sad; I wish I had stretched more. I wish I had challenged myself more.  But at least, if nothing else, I'm a fan.  I look up from whatever it is that I'm doing, and I see an example of how amazing man's ingenuity is. It's something to see.  It really is.  That Mercheson dog and I, we have yet to be disappointed.  I've seen lots of passes, but I don't think that dog has missed one.  Maybe he's not such an annoying dog after all. No sir.  Maybe not.


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