10 August 2005

Considering it's the silly season, current affairs are grimly serious and pressing. The Sun did its best today to take our tiny minds off the global situation (civil unrest in Israel, extreme 'Islamists' in Britain, end of the era of human spaceflight) with this endearingly bizarre image on its front page:

(picture - Associated Press)

The article accompanying the image of the new I Don't Belieeeve It constellation quotes several luminaries in the world of British astronomy giving their thumbs-up to the discovery. Marvellous stuff. Pictured is Mark Garlick, who's responsible for this extraordinary milestone in cosmology. Mark was a consultant on the magazine I once worked for, 'Secrets of the Universe', as was Robin Scagell, also quoted in the piece. I wrote for SotU in a popular scholarship stylee on things like the life of Newton, the career of the only scientist to walk on the Moon ( Harrison 'Jack' Schmitt), and various episodes in the lives of the Space Shuttle fleet, the Mir space station, and sundry other bits of metal (plus human occupants) that slipped the surly bonds of Earth. So I made sure I was in front of the tv to see the homecoming of STS-114, quite possibly the last trip to space by people for many, many years.

Or they might launch Atlantis in September.

Space Shuttle Discovery leaving Earth in September 1993. This was STS-51.


McK said...

STS-114, quite possibly the last trip to space by people for many, many years.
Don't worry, Stephen, there's a Soyuz launch planned for 27th Sept. The shuttle's an over-designed ball and chain around NASA's ankle, and the sooner they retire it and put the money into developing something new the better, in my opinion. It does look nice thought, I'll grant you that.

sbs said...

you're quite right to pull me up, mck. unforgivable of me to neglect the Russians. however, if they junk the Shuttle, and expansion of the ISS is put on hold, where next for Soyuz? horrible if it just becomes Alton Towers for billionaires.