Posts Tagged ‘space travel’

“The most important thing we can do is inspire young minds and to advance the kind of science, math and technology education that will help youngsters take us to the next phase of space travel.” – John Glenn, astronaut (and more)

Perhaps it’s because I’m writing some science fiction as the moment, but I’ve been remembering the excitement, not only in the USA, but around the world about space travel when I was younger. I’m not sure anything can take the place of the absolute certainty I felt as a child and young adult that humans would travel not only in our solar system, but among the stars. And like John Glenn, I know the students of today are the ones who must take us into the next phase of space travel.

But long before computers were a way of life, John Glenn trusted a woman, Katherine Johnson, to calculate the mathematics for his flight into space. Never heard of her? Most people haven’t. Here’s a Women’s History Minute video to introduce you to Katherine Johnson.

Still want more? Here’s a link to a little more information about Katherine Johnson from NASA.

Let’s encourage kids to learn more math, science, and technology – and reach for the stars once more.

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I love photos of space. The Hubble Telescope and other new technologies give us such spectacular images upon which to gaze. I suspect, like me, other writers of science fiction study these pictures (or ones like them) and use the images for inspiration.

I’ve always dreamed of exploring another world, but I think my age and the lack of space travel opportunities have made that dream unobtainable – except in my imagination. And so, I shall continue to paint images of distant worlds and write science fiction stories where treading upon the soil of a planet in another galaxy is not only possible, but a common experience.

Below is a link to a gallery titled, “Cosmos” NASA Images of  a Space-Time Odyssey. From this link, you can get to other fabulous photos.


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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?


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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I’d prepared a different post for today, but decided instead to comment on the passing of astronaut, Sally Ride (May 26, 1951 – July 23, 2012).

I’ve always been a fan of traveling in space, even if it’s only in the earth’s orbit. As a child, teen, and later as an adult, I’d stay up late or get up early if necessary to watch the launch or landing of a rocket, space capsule, or the space shuttle. I was lucky to view the evening launch of Atlantis from just outside the gates to the Kennedy Space Center (the old Cape Canaveral). It was the last successful launch prior to the Challenger disaster, and one of the most memorable events of my life.

So inspired was I by Sally Ride (and her Russian counterpart), that I included a poem dedicated to them in one of my poetry books, River of Stars. Here is the entire poem for your reading enjoyment:

 Being First

for Sally Ride and Valentina Tereshkova

Valentina was first,

forty-nine orbits in Vostok 6 —

but she was a cosmonaut

and cold war attitudes

diminished her achievement.

Twenty years later,

when the shuttle blasted off

the launch pad in June’83,

half of the western world felt

their hearts lift, soar,

escape gravity with Sally.

 And she did it again —

climbed aboard the thirteenth mission,

a woman who didn’t give credence

to superstitions,

and overcame mechanical problems

to launch the Earth Radiation Satellite

from Challenger’s cargo bay.

There is nobility in being first,

of risking all for triumph or death,

that we of lesser determination,

lesser courage, admire,

and during rare moments

of our own bravery —


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

Thank you, Sally Ride, for proving that women could be equals in space. And by your professionalism and determination, showing girls (and women) that they, too, could reach the stars.

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