20,541 Days Reaching For Space

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/12/5200-days-in-space/383510/

I rarely recommend articles, usually because I’m interested in things that most people are not into. For example, a Chinese spy ring, fixing complex governments through less rules and more ethics, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and public bathrooms. However, there is one topic that I’m more than happy to force upon my friends:

SPACEFor me, it’s always fascinating how much there is to explore in the upper reaches of our atmosphere, and how much potential there is for growth. There will always be another frontier, another problem to be solved. It’s where the greatest navigation is combined with super science and engineering. While reading through historical science documents and growths, I just can’t help but feel empowered by all that humanity has done, together.

It has been twenty thousand, five hundred and forty one days since President Eisenhower has signed the  National Aeronautics and Space Act  in 1958. 947 days until Alan Shephard became the first US citizen to reach space. 3941 days until Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon. 5339 days until the first US space lab, Skynet, was put into orbit. 8229 days until the first flight of the Space Shuttle. 11528 days until the Hubble Space Telescope began bringing us pictures clear of atmospheric distortion. 14165 days until the first rover began exploring Mars. 15373 days until the first permanent crew boarded the International Space Station, beginning semi-permanent presence in space.  20519 days until Orion, the next generation of spacecraft, launched on top of Delta IV heavys.

Every single day, there are teams of scientists, engineers, mechanics, astronauts, trainers, and everyone else working to put us further out there, reaching the next destination. Sometimes, we forget about them; the extraordinary can seem ordinary when it happens so often. Yet, they are the ones pushing humanity into the future.

I leave you with a line from Walt Whitman, who lived through the final period of exploration on Earth.

Chant on—sail on—bear o’er the boundless blue, from me, to every shore,

This song for mariners and all their ships.

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