Thursday, February 21, 2008
When I was a kid, and very excited by the impending Moon missions being launched by NASA, I was fascinated by our planetary companion. I learned all that I could about it as a small child, gazing up at it in the evenings and using the reflector telescope that my parents had bought me so that I could see the volcanic flatlands and the monstrous craters and the ragged highlands. I imagined the frail Apollo spacecraft flying to Luna and the spider-like Lunar Excursion Module touching down on the surface to deposit its crew of two.
Those were great days to be a kid interested in nature. To look up at the moon and to know that men were heading there. To read science books and understand how it was being done. To watch the news and see it happening. I'll never forget sitting in front of the television set to watch the launches of the various spacecraft as the USA painstakingly went through each step along the way. There were the Mercury shots, the Gemini missions, and then the Apollo spacecraft with the enormous Saturn V boosters.
I never forgot the feelings of pure amazement of how things worked, both in the turning of the globe, of the orbit of the Moon, of our own journey about the Sun. I would look up at the night sky and marvel at it all.
Last night, my son and I watched the total eclipse of the Moon. I've seen such events many times since I was a kid. I'd seen so many that I actually found myself missing them from time to time, despite the opportunity to witness them. But last night my son and I set up my digital camera and tripod and we took photos as the moon slowly vanished behind the enormous shadow of the Earth.
And there, for a moment, I felt a little of the awe over such an event when I was just a kid. It was nice.