From moon walk to space station

This article was originally published in The Christian Science Monitor under the title, “From the first walk on the moon to the space station: our expanding infinite.”

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first men to walk on the moon. My brother and I, just little kids at the time, watched history in the making.

Another little boy watched that TV broadcast too: 9-year-old Chris Hadfield. Years later that Ontario farm boy fulfilled his dream and grew up to be commander of the International Space Station. During his five-month stay there, he became an online celebrity, posting videos that shared insights into his life and work in space. His most popular video, having over 21 million views, is a performance of David Bowie’s song “Space Oddity.” It shows Hadfield singing and floating with his guitar in space, while awe-inspiring views of Earth go by in the background.

Many things point to humanity’s yearning to know more about the universe than our finite earth-bound perspective can give us: the 21 million views of Hadfield’s video; the surge of interest in private space travel, asteroid mining, and Mars in general; the jaw-dropping beauty of two decades of images from the Hubble Space Telescope; and, of course, the never-ending theories about the origin and makeup of Earth and the universe. I suspect the weightlessness we see the astronauts experiencing entices us to think that maybe even a glimpse of infinity might cut us loose from the burdens that weigh us down.

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If we're really spiritual...
July 14, 2014

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