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Posts Tagged ‘astronauts’

For those who’ve never viewed it, here’s the link to a video filmed aboard the international space station. It’s candid, fun, and fascinating. And the pleasant interactions between the Russian cosmonauts and American astronauts are nice to see.

For writers, viewing this should give you a better idea what weightlessness is like. I also jotted notes on space restrictions in the station, exercise, equipment, food, etc. Science fiction writers especially should pay attention to the real thing rather than how things are portrayed on television and in the movies.

And, yes, I’ve got this link posted on my website, too. But I think it’s worth seeing twice! What do you think of the video?

http://www.youtube.com/embed/doN4t5NKW-k

And Happy International Women’s Day!

I hope you’re enjoying my blog posts and links. Want to show some love? Visit my Amazon page and consider buying a book. 🙂

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Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, was born on August 5, 1930 in Wapakoneta, Ohio. And whichever version of his famous words broadcast from the moon’s surface as his boot kicked up a bit of lunar dust you heard (live or in a recording), the dream of space exploration seemed close at hand as he looked back at earth from the moon’s surface.

Sadly, Neil Armstrong’s life ended in August of last year. For those of us who watched his historic lunar landing and moon walk in the sixties, the chances of other manned missions to the moon, Mars, or beyond in our lifetime now seem slim. We satisfy our longing for travel amongst the stars by watching science fiction movies, reading science fiction novels, or better yet, writing science fiction stories.

I’ve been hard at work on a science fiction tale about a soldier and his dog stationed on a distant world. I’m hoping the finished story will soon appear in print, but even if it doesn’t, I’m happy to celebrate the possibility of humankind traveling to other planets. And in my own small way, remembering Neil Armstrong and his fellow astronauts.

So, Happy Birthday, Neil Armstrong – and thanks for inspiring so many of us to reach for the stars.

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Today, at Washington National Cathedral, the USA said good-bye to astronaut Neil Armstrong (Aug. 5, 1930 – Aug. 25, 2012). High above the crowd of people there honoring a true American hero in one of that cathedral’s stained glass windows is embedded a moon rock the Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, gave to that church.

Real heroes are hard to come by. The men who traveled to the moon, especially those pioneers aboard Apollo 11, are heroes. And they left a plague on the surface of the moon that reads: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”

I never got to meet Neil, but from all accounts he was a reluctant hero. He and his fellow astronauts have always been heroes to me. I wrote a poem years ago about my experience that fateful summer night when Neil left the first footprint in moon dust which was included in River of Stars, one of my books of poetry. I’ve posted it here for all to read:

Apollo 11

On July 20, 1969,

at the Manor Care Nursing Home

in the second floor television room,

two gnarled women and I watched

Buzz Aldrin land The Eagle.

I held my breath

as Neil Armstrong descended

the lunar module’s stairs,

as his left foot stirred the dust

of The Sea of Tranquility.

It was 10:56 P.M. —

long past patients’ lights-out,

my nursing aide shift almost ended.

But none of us left.

“That’s one small step for a man,

one giant leap

for mankind,” Neil exclaimed.

“Humankind,” a resident corrected

as she leaned closer to the TV,

raised an arthritic hand,

“Humankind.”

Beyond the set,

through thermal-plated windows,

I contemplated the moon

and knew that 240,000 miles away,

three men looked up into the black sky

at a blue-green sphere

with the same longing.

Copyright 2002 Vonnie Winslow Crist, River of Stars, Lite Circle Books.

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