Ever since I could remember I’ve always been fascinated by space. No I’m not claustrophobic or afraid of committment, no I’m talking about space as in the vast vacuum of the universe where planets and other celestial bodies travel. I don’t know if it’s from watching all those episodes of the original Star Trek with the “girls-them-sugar” Capt. James Tiberius Kirk and his love for women of any color or species.
When I say I love space I mean I watch every space launch and was ecstatic when SpaceX had their recent launch sending astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). I watched that launch for hours and checked in on the Falcon 9 rocket’s progress all the way until they docked and boarded the ISS.
Naturally I was pumped when I found out that NASA had a website (https://spotthestation.nasa.gov) that gives you the precise time, angle and duration where you can see with the naked eye the ISS passing over your location anywhere on the planet. I know right!! On top of that you can sign up for email alerts to remind you of when it will happen because it doesn’t happen every day.
So yesterday I received the following email:
Time: Thu Jul 16 5:28 AM, Visible: 6 min, Max Height: 81°, Appears: 10° above NW, Disappears: 14° above SSE
I know what you’re thinking and I thought it too. How the firetruck am I, a simple finance/risk management man, going to be able to find this with my mathematical challenges? I figured the first thing I needed was a compass right, because where the heck is NW and SSE in relation to my location and my usual point of reference, the POS Lighthouse. The best thing about this digital age is that instruments like a compass are just an android play store download away.
Anyway to make a long story short, I awoke at 5:25AM and looked outside expecting to only see the usual Sahara Dust haze. However, I could see stars and the moon so I knew I was in business. Now it was just to figure out where this thing was coming from. At 5:29AM there was still no ISS in the sky. I started wondering if it was a Trini flying this thing and he wake up late or worse yet if it was a Trini who sent me the blasted email.
Then a magical thing happened. There it was, the ISS traveling across the morning sky. Close enough for me to see it with my naked eye but not close enough to see astronauts Bob, Chris, Doug, Anatoly or Ivan taking their morning zero G constitutional. It looked like a star moving slowly across the sky. I took a brief video but it wasn’t the best quality because let’s face it, phone cameras pale in comparison to the quality of the human eye.
In this world of racism, pandemics, wars, political division, entanglements and ridiculous import charges it was refreshing and awe inspiring to stop and take time to appreciate the better side of man. The side that could cooperate across race, nations and ideologies to accomplish something truly important to all of mankind. Don’t ask me what exactly they’re doing on the ISS other than “experiments”.
Space is really the final frontier. I mean it’s the only place man hasn’t completely messed up yet. I look forward to the upcoming mission to Mars with a feeling of excitement but also “allyuh just leave the people ting alone nah”.
Yeah, I know… I’m a nerd. Ok, back to our regularly scheduled diet of sarcasm and semi-intelligent observations and critiques.