One Giant Leap: a reflection on the 45th Anniversary of the first manned lunar landing in history

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Dear reader,

Today is July 20th, 2014 and if one looks at a calendar at the time this blog post is being written (4:56 pm CST), this is an obvious fact. What is not obvious (unless you’re a space nerd like me) is that exactly 45 years ago at this very minute, three men from planet Earth were orbiting the moon, some 218,000 miles from Earth. Two of those gentleman were making preparations for a brief landing on an ancient lava field on the lunar surface known as the Sea of Tranquility. Wow. Though it was quite a time ago it is still a chilling fact that for the first time since the dawn of history, an age old dream to bring earth to heaven and visit a place one can see in the sky has happened. As a student of aerospace engineering and rocket engine design I can somewhat appreciate just how difficult that was.

See that amazing photograph (above)? It is one of the most unique pictures every recorded on a roll of film, for it includes whether living or dead the remains of every human being who’s ever been born (before July 21st, 1969 of course) except Mr. Astronaut Michael Collins. Sorry Mike, but thanks for taking the photo, I think it came out quite well! Michael Collins’ job was to wait in the command/service module until his crew mates Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin returned from their stroll on Luna’s surface. In this photo, which includes all humans (who aren’t either named Michael Collins or where born after the snapshot) is a sense of unity, for it shows how the national, ethinic, economical, educational or other differences human’s have invented to divide ourselves really don’t exist on the grand scheme of things.

I hope that remembering the Apollo 11 moon landing serves as a reminder of what is possible with faith, persistence, hard work and consideration for other’s perspectives. I highly doubt the thousands of engineers, scientists, and technicians who were involved with making Project Apollo possible would have been successful at their astronomical task had they allowed differences and squabbles impede them in their accomplishment of the ultimate goal. Earth is one planet, and the human species is also one. I think that the moon landing which occurred on this very day 45 years ago truly represents that we ‘came in peace for all mankind’.

Sincerely,

Astromaverick

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Can You Choose Intelligence?

Can You Choose Intelligence?

An interesting lunch time read on the perception of intelligence. Perhaps intelligence isn’t innate, it could be that society defines it so rigidly and materialistically that many ‘intelligent’ minds are devalued simply because they cannot translate their mental capacities into something that society deems ‘valuable’. Just a thought.

Thought Catalog

I spent most of my life thinking I wasn’t smart because I wasn’t very good at math.

I was pretty polarized throughout my academic life: I was either completely invested and wholeheartedly interested or didn’t care at all. I look back now and see that what I once considered one of my greatest faults was actually, in an odd way, wisdom. I didn’t care about regurgitating information back on a test. At some level, I understood which things I was learning would and wouldn’t apply to my life. I was more interested in a math class in which they taught about bonds and loans and budgeting and investments — real life things — than formulas I knew that I, personally, would never have to use.

[tc-related]

The things I enjoyed were the things that made sense to me. Books. English. Writing. Reading. Because this seemed to me the study of existence. You…

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The Winding Road: A first blog post statement

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Dear reader,

Initially I had drafted what I thought was an amazing description of this winding road photo that I took a few weeks ago while taking an evening, mind clearing stroll. I wanted to use the photo, with its winding concrete path and green overhanging foliage to draw an analogy between this photo and the dissertation research process. Haphazardly, I was able to post the photo but did not save any of the text……about 800 words worth of text all gone! But that is life! I like to encourage myself when things like that happen to see such losses as lessons, and opportunities to produce something even better the next time. For what it’s worth I do have a strange fascination with how the strange twists, bends and turns in life often lead it’s travelers on the paths they are destined to travel. I can’t believe that it has been a year and a half since I’ve started my doctoral dissertation research. The time has really flown by! The topic that I started with is still in focus, but in this time I’ve already designed a facility which is being constructed now to do experiments and also my specific area of investigation has changed from what I initially started with. Link in this photo (see above) the path of research (and life) seems confusing and riddled with proverbial foliage, it gets clearer and becomes more deeply understood with more effort and deeper investigation. I think that’s why I’ve always loved research…..it’s the combination of confusion, curiosity and passion that brings to light amazing discoveries about the world around me, both small discoveries and large ones (although I haven’t really made any large discoveries….and who defines what ‘large’ means anyways).

Happy researching!

Astromaverick