Sunday, November 04, 2007

NASA in Geneva

The trip to Geneva ended in a high with the Nasa reception at the Intercontinental Hotel. We were addressed by the astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria (above) who told us about life on the International Space Station, and talked us through a short film.

It must be a very weird life. There's the years of training, not knowing what mission if any will come. Then there's the very real risks of death associated with launch and re-entry. While up there you are constrained in this tiny tin can where nothing stays still but the views are great.

I could probably cope with that. But the worst bit comes after the mission - years upon years of receptions like this one for the good of Nasa PR. By the end of the evening after meeting and greeting with a long line with sweaty palms, smiling for dozens of snaps, and signing piles of photos his eyes were distinctly glazed.

Makes Neil Armstrong's decision to live a hermit life very understandable!

But exploring space is something that thrills us all - like many when young I wanted to be an astronaut. Its also a force for aspiration and unity in a time of gloom and disunity. To look up at the stars not down into the gutter.

So I hope they get their way and we head back to the Moon. And thanks to those who make it possible - the American tax payer.

1 comment:

i pay american taxes said...

You're welcome. The dollars of mine that NASA fire into space do a lot more good than some of the things the US government wastes my money on.