May 27, 2020
The Crew Dragon capsule is set to be the first commercially built craft to take people to orbit.
On Wednesday, if the weather in Florida cooperates, two NASA astronauts plan to strap themselves into a capsule atop a SpaceX rocket and travel to space. If the launch succeeds, it will mark a number of firsts in human spaceflight. It will be the first time a private company has flown humans to orbit, and the first time astronauts have launched from US soil since NASA retired the Space Shuttle in 2011.
Perhaps most significantly, it is the first time in 17 years that anyone has launched a new type of spaceship to carry humans to Earth orbit (see ‘How humans have reached orbit’). “This is a whole new way of sending people to space,” says Robert Cabana, a former NASA astronaut who is now director of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Like all other big ideas (especially space), it is valuable to remember how deeply ignorant of the universe and to understand, to advance knowledge, to make life better. We are small and we live on a pale blue dot, but we aspire.
It is estimated that 99.9% of all species that ever lived on the planet are now extinct. Our own species has been pushed to the brink and nearly joined the list. I think it’s worthwhile to spend some time on these lost species and consider their existence and contemplate their meanings. They include all manner of tiny and enormous, incredible and bizarre things. From the T-rex to the Dodo to smallpox, forgotten species have much to say about the history of earth and mankind.
Let’s keep thinking BIG and inspire but also be kind and take care of one another.
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