Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Rocketing to Class

We watched the lift-off of the shuttle Endeavor this evening. Still gives me the tingling feeling every time I watch one of these modern day miracles take place. I cannot begin to relate to the amount of bravery these astronauts possess, to allow themselves to be rocketed into space.

"Endeavor, expanding the International Space Station while creating a classroom in space." I always listen for the blurb the control room says as the lift-off happens. Love 'em.

The buzz for this launch was the amazing story of Barbara Morgan, a 55 year old teacher who was chosen as the back-up for Christa McAuliffe's spot on the Challenger in 1986. They were representing NASA's teacher-in-space program. After 21 long years, Barbara Morgan gets her ride.

Laura Bush phoned the teacher Monday to wish her well and praise her for her dedication to the education of our country's children. Morgan worked for NASA after the Challenger disaster, traveling to schools around the country spreading the word of the benefits of our space program.

The teacher-in-space program was a vision of President Reagan. He thought it was a wonderful tool for promoting the importance of math and science education to school children.

"Morgan is racing toward space on the wings of a legacy." A quote heard from a former astronaut used as a commentator on tv. Well said.

What really impresses me about Barbara Morgan is that she was in such great shape at the age of 55 and able to train and go up as the oldest member of this crew. I'm three years younger than her and I'm awed by her physical superiority.

She'll teach from space. She and maybe other members of the crew will do 20 minute question and answer sessions with students via live television. How cool is that? She brought along 10 million basil seeds and NASA will distribute them to schools around the country upon return to earth. It's an experiment planned to design and build a plant growth chamber like the type future space settlers on the moon and Mars will need to grow fresh food. Now that's exciting.

NASA extended its commitment to the teacher-in-space program in 2004. Three more teachers are now in advanced stages of training. Two are middle school science and math teachers and one is a high school science teacher. Rock on.

Safe travels.


Paul is a Hermit said...

The launch was beautiful as always.
I wish I could see our attempt to create atmosphere on another planet, like Mars.
Or if they ever determine a distant planet has an ability to sustain us, humans will have to be placed in suspension for the hundreds or tens of thousands of years to reach it at speeds we are doing now. I'd like to see the end of such a trip.
I've seen some thoughts of making new generations and growing food to sustain ourselves all in the long trip. It doesn't seem as feasible though.
What do I know. They're trying. That Morgan is tough! People like her may pull it off

I hope we never stop. We weren't meant to be bound to earth and one day must leave because the earth will die from over-population and it's effects, long before the sun will destroy her.

Debbie said...

I watched the shuttle also. I think I held my breath until I knew everything was OK. I remember seeing the first teacher, Krista McCullough's family after the explosion. It was horrible. It would have been terrible if it happened again.

I worry every time a shuttle goes up, there are so many things going wrong with the fleet. It's old and the space station they were made for is, well, not what I thought it would be.

Incognito said...

That's exciting... didn't get a chance to watch it.

She really is an inspiration to all middle-aged women!

AC said...

Everytime there is a lift off, I miss my dad. He, years ago after his WWII service, went into a physics program, he said because he believed one day there would be space travel and he wanted to be a part of it. Along the way he was rerouted into chemical engineering for employment purposes but never lost that sense of wonder and excitement. He would have loved the NASA channel.

wordnerd said...

One of my favorite parts in one of my favorite movies, Apollo 13, was when Lowell's wife realized that the public had begun taking the launches for granted and the stations weren't even airing the coverage. Every time we launch, we should take a moment to remember those launches that didn't go as planned, but also to stand in awe of what our nation has been able to accomplish.

c.a. Marks said...

We watched it too and my 10 year old son was enthralled with it all. He was spouting off statistics and doing the math on how fast they were going and such. I was impressed. lol

Yes, very cool indeed.

Frasypoo said...

That is a great feat !She is fitter than I am !
I love Laura Bush for things like this.she is such a gracious first lady,very classy.

Debbie said...

My hubby went to school with Margaret Rhea Seddon (M.D.), NASA Astronaut (former). Our daughter went to Space Camp in Alabama two years, and I thought she might be interested in being an astronaut. But I think all kids go through stages like that.

Donald Douglas said...

It's a truly great story!

Thanks so much!