Saturday, October 07, 2006

Pics In Space, Again

Hey Gang, it's that joyful time we all look forward to with the knowledge that it will brighten up an otherwise gloomy day, and add a sparkle to really nice ones. Remember? That joyful time... It hasn't been that long, has it? Come on, you know what I mean--the Meow has a link to the new space photos!! (As usual, just click on "see the slide show.") Every month goes to the trouble of putting together a slide show of recent space-related pictorial delights, and every month, I take it upon myself to bring them to you. Isn't that nice of me? Isn't that nice of MSNBC? Isn't it nice of the people who snapped the pics so that those of us who don't happen to live in places where we can see space shuttles take off, or have a way to glimpse the crew spacewalking around the International Space Station, view Crater Lake from the ISS, or marvel at the rings of a crescent Saturn, can still feel a part of the wonderful world that's "out of this world?"

This month's offering has a gem, or two, and you won't want to miss them. One that I found particularly inspiring wasn't actually a photo from, or of, space. Some of you may know that recently an Iranian-American women went as a paying passenger to the ISS. Anousheh Ansari paid an estimated $20 million to be the first woman to buy the privilege of a trip into orbit. Here's her blog. Definitely read her blog. It's fascinating, and I found I couldn't stop reading. (It was a tad confusing, because the entries are on individual pages and come up in reverse order to time, but once I discovered the little calendar on the right side of the page, I just started calling the posts up by date, which straightened things out for me.) As engaging as her story is, however, the picture this month which inspired me and got my attention the most wasn't of her, or things she saw; it was a group of young Iranian women pointing into space with joyous enthusiasm as the ISS passed over Tehran, carrying Ansari, on September 23rd. It just does my heart good to think of young Iranian women dreaming of space, and seeing what a woman from Iran has accomplished. (Seeing them all swathed in black tents while the boys were wearing comfortable t-shirts is another story, but at least the girls were there.)

Like lightning? There's a real "finger of God" kind of image awaiting you. Like big toys? Have a look at a Soyuz rocket booster. Like geography and geology? Go gaze at some of the amazing sights to behold on Venus and Mars. The aurora borealis is pretty spectacular from the ISS, and a hurricane looks just like a flowing white skirt from the shuttle Atlantis, but the prettiest picture from my point of view is the image snapped by Hubble of the fragments of a supernova. I think that one gets my vote for best photo this month. There's more to see and enjoy in our little monthly diversion into the realm of space photography, so have fun. Then come back and report on your favorite image--or not, as your spirit leads. Space is all about flying free, as far as I'm concerned, so by all means, go where the lack of gravity takes you.