Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Farewell to the shuttle

By the time you read these words, Alantis will have returned to earth in the pre-dawn hours at Kennedy Space Center and for the first time in 30 years, America will be without a manned space program.  Thus marks the end of the most prolific space vehicle that the world has ever known.  

America will return to space, of that I am sure. The space shuttle program wasn't our first that we have seen nor will it be the last, but it will always be my space program.  I watched Columbia launch for the first time.  The play house in the back yard was shuttle shaped (thanks to a patient father).  I cheered for Sally Ride.  One of the teachers in my school was a state finalist for the Teacher in Space program. I watched Challenger explode live, and I was devastated.  I voted for the name of the new orbiter. I was shopping for wedding invitations when Columbia went down.  As a budding young nerd the shuttle program represented everything that was awesome about science and technology and the limits of the human spirit.  I got goose bumps at every launch, and since Challenger I still cringed during launch when mission control called for "go to full throttle".  If there is such a thing as a shuttle fan boy, then I am it.

I love the space program and I cheer for the shuttle successor.  I look to return to the moon and Mars in my lifetime.  I am excited for the missions to Pluto and Io and Europa in the near future.  There is a lot of good stuff coming up in space, but still, today marks the end of an era that really means a lot to me.  We will never forget the men and women we lost on Columbia and Challenger.  We honor the many more who flew on Discovery, Endeavor and Atlantis.  Thanks for the memories.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Need a little help...

I need some help.  Here is an incredible photograph of my grandfather and grandmother.  It is clearly on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway in Colorado Springs, but we do not know the year.  My mom recognized the man on the right but couldn't remember his name.  I'm posting this here so Google will index it and possibly somebody might be able to help me out.

I found this in my Mom's garage and I restored it (you can see the original in the picasa web folder).  Modestly, I think I did a great job.