Who woulda thought NASA would suddenly come over all media-savvy and blip out not one but two press releases in a matter of days? First with the “Back to the Moon! (er … soon … ish)”, which has got everyone going “yeah!!! … uh … yeah!!!” and wondering what to do between now and 2024 when we all get to live in Shackleton Crater near the moon’s south pole due to clement and sunny conditions most of the time. But somehow picking an asteroid hole named after the Antarctic explorer who spent far too long not exploring and marooned on the embarrassing misnomer Elephant Island eating penguins doesn’t inspire moon-tourist confidence.
NASA, mourning the silence of long-faithful Mars Global Surveyor after ten year mission are now keeping all space geeks, which I am deliriously proud to be, salivating with mind-numbing anticipation over Briefing to Announce Significant Find on Mars which is happening sometime around 3am Thursday. Plenty of wild speculation mostly revolving around water, microbes, aliens. I think it sounds all too much like 2001: A Space Odyssey, and I know exactly what they’ve found.
Reblogging again, this time combining a some of my disparate loves. Astronaut Shannon Lucid, like writer J. G. Ballard has had one of lives that is so far removed from the ordinary. I’m really only blogging this post from Science Blog because there’s something about her life, from being born in Shanghai to spending most of a year on the Russian space station Mir that embodies something of the glorious strangeness of being human.
For Lucid, the trip will bring back memories of her unique childhood upbringing. As an infant, in 1943, during the height of World War II, Shannon was held captive along with her parents, aunts and uncle, and grandparents, by the Japanese Army in Shanghai’s Chapei Civil Assembly Center prison camp. Shannon learned to walk in early 1944 onboard the Swedish ship Gripsholm, the world’s first transatlantic motorship, which transferred Shannon and her parents back to the United States as part of a peaceful exchange of noncombatant citizens of the warfaring nations. The Gripsholm made its way back to the U.S. via India and South Africa. While in port in Johannesburg, Shannon received her first pair of shoes.