As you know, Andrew Krystal and I have a regular Friday feature which is called, not surprisingly, the Friday Science Files, where we discuss, conjecture and pontificate all things that are science or border on the scientific. And one of the most popular topics that we visit again and again is that of outer space. It has fascinated me since I was a little kid. And it still has me enthralled.
We tend to think that outer space, interplanetary travel et al is the purview of the likes of NASA and the European Space Agency. But an Alberta teacher, Tony Rafat, has shown yet again that big bucks don’t ever come close to innovation and effort. You don’t have to spend gigabucks to touch the outer reaches the Earth and the beginnings of space. With a few students, a camera, a few surplus weather balloons and some helium he has been able to take spectacular pics of what is just beyond the reach of us lesser mortals.
Back in July he and his students launched the balloon with camera in tow, into the upper stratosphere and three hours later, after the balloon exploded and came back down to Earth, they had almost 200 of the most beautiful digital photos of this frail and incredible planet that we call Earth.
I sampled the pics on the internet and I have to say that I was moved. They were above all the life that we know to exist in the entire universe, taking a backward picture of what we call home. And my, it looked small and frail and distant.
Standing here on the ground looking up at the sky, we can be forgiven for thinking that the Earth and its bounty is infinite and limitless and ours for the taking. We are looking through the wrong end of the lens and nowhere is that more evident when lift ourselves off the couch and look back on where we live.
Maybe it is time that we took our leaders, business, government, religious and any others, and hooked a few helium balloons to their britches so they could get a different perspective. Its small and round and limited and so are its resources. Thank you Tony Rafat for again showing that teachers can and do teach…us all.
3 Responses to “ Spaced Out ”
Add New Comment