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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Heads or Tails Tuesday - Wonder

This week's Heads or Tails Tuesday offers the choice of 'wonder' or 'wander'. I often post accounts of my wanders, so I've opted for 'wonder' as my theme.

When was the last time you felt a genuine, child-like sense of wonder, untainted by the cynicism of adulthood? For me, it was a couple of weeks ago. I had just walked through my garden gate, after darkness had fallen, and looked up at the night sky, as I often do on a clear night. I felt my usual sense of wonder at seeing Orion's Belt, the Big Dipper and countless other heavenly bodies I couldn't name. The same questions came to mind as usually do at such times. Is there anyone out there? If yes, what are they like? How many different kinds are there? What would the flora and fauna on their worlds be like? Why are we here? What is this all about? And where is it going?

Suddenly, these thoughts were interrupted by a brilliant light which approached from the north-west. It got brighter and brighter as it flew over my head, and continued on its way towards the south-east. To my amazement, the light suddenly grew fainter and fainter and blinked out. I knew instinctively that it was a spacecraft. I then realized what it was - the International Space Station, which some other local bloggers had reporting witnessing on previous nights. As soon as I got indoors, I turned the laptop on and headed to the NASA website. Sure enough, it confirmed that the ISS had flown over my city at precisely the time I saw the bright light.

My sense of wonder increased when I read that it was docked at the time, with the Space Shuttle, Atlantis. Not only that, but there were men OUTSIDE the docked craft, working on it, suspended in space, as they flew over my head. Wow!

As if that wasn't enough, I felt my sense of wonder increasing even further, when I realized that the first powered flight in the history of mankind, took place on December 17th, 1903 - a little over a hundred years ago. Brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright, had been experimenting with flying gliders for a few years beforehand.

Orville Wright

Wilbur Wright

But their ultimate goal was powered flight, which they achieved at the end of 1903, with the famous Wright Flyer, pictured below.

Although the Wright Brothers' claims to be the inventors of powered flight have been disputed in recent years, for my purposes, that's irrelevant. Whoever invented powered flight, the fact remains that within a few decades of the Wright Flyer's inaugural trip, humans were launching spacecraft into orbit. Shortly afterwards, men were launched into space, and landed on the moon. We now send probes to examine the planets of our solar system, as well as a telescope that can spy on distant galaxies. Heck, we've even landed a probe on an asteroid, raising hopes that if a biggie ever finds itself on a collision course with Earth, we may just be able to deflect it and save the planet, as Bruce Willis did in that dreadful movie. How can anyone not feel a sense of wonder at what we've achieved with flight, in such a comparatively short time?

There we have it - my Heads or Tails Tuesday babblings for this week. Happy Tuesday!


Anonymous said...

Excellent "babbling"! I "wonder" how long it'll be before we're all taking trips to space! :)

Skittles said...

What an amazing and wonder filled experience to have seen that.

Me and hubby have been to Kitty Hawk briefly on our way to somewhere else and we'd love to go back and let the whole importance and atmosphere soak into us.

Drew said...

Sometimes I get that feeling when I watch professional wrestling. it just reminds me of being a kid - a time when my biggest problem was whether or not my fav brawler would get a title shot.

Misty Dawn said...

WOW! I bet that was truly awesome! I bet it was even more exciting when you confirmed that it was in fact what you had thought! That is really neat!

And lately, nature is almost always the cause of my being in pure wonder.

Robyn Jones said...

That is pretty cool! I would have loved to have seen about the right place at the right time!

Natalie said...

That's really neat you were able to see that. My dad would love to see that, he's really into looking at the sky with telescopes and such.

Jen said...

That is such a cool experience for you! Thanks for sharing! :)

Gellianne said...

Hi, Siani! I have not posted my entry but I am so glad to have found your new home!Your own domain! I found it via technorati.

Take care and great take on the theme!

Dragonstar said...

Wonderful to see the ISS like that. I'm with you - absolutely incredible thinking of what's happening "up" there, and how little time it's actually taken.

Hootin' Anni said...

Absolutely the most fantastic "Wonder" You most certainly outdid yourself Siani!!! What a terrific post you've shared. And what a thing to witness in your own backyard. Wow.

Love the historical wonders of aircraft too.

My HoT entry is posted; hope you can stop by.

Laane said...

Great post!

I have enjoyed this feeling of wonder too.

Sitting at my desk, with a cup of coffee, I could see right in space what those astronauts were doing while they flew over my head.

It was cloudy, so there was no need to go outside.

My "heads or tails" is up ::here::

Baldwins Girl said...

I really love where you went this week....great thoughts, and truly wonder provoking. :)

Rambler said...

very interesting post..

The Mama Bear said...

That was an incredible post for this week's HorT theme.
I think the child like sense of wonder is excellent when we adults get to experience again.

Skittles said...

You can find the Notify List on my right sidebar in the Heads Or Tails section :)

Andrée said...

wow, lucky you! I always mean to check the fly overs but always forget. I'm glad you reminded me. My HoT is here. Thank you.

Dianne said...

You described how I felt when I saw the lunar eclipse. Clouds parted just in time - and just for me :)

I love all the research and photos you put into this!

Really interesting

I'm traveling around the HoT entries - nice to meet you.

Anonymous said...

What an incredible experience! I often ponder how far we've come. I remember being fascinated, as a child, that adults I'd known had seen the changes at the last turn of the century (1899), and now we are the adults who have seen these incredible changes! It is mind boggling.