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'tis My Most Favorite Day Of The Year...!!

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by kkrish, Dec 22, 2018.

  1. kkrish

    kkrish IL Hall of Fame

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    If anyone asked what my most favorite day in the year … now why would anyone ask me that question, or care, or … oh well, just in case… someone asked me, my answer will be

    December 21st.

    For me December 21st is the cusp day - out with the old and start of the new. This day being the shortest day and longest night, it means from tomorrow the sun would start setting a little later and the days will stay brighter, a wee bit longer... every day till June 21st that is.

    *********
    Today is actually a historical day. So, a snippet from space exploration history.

    Today, December 21, 2018 marks the 50th Anniversary of the first human flight beyond near-Earth orbit and took three humans 240,000 miles to our natural satellite, the Moon.

    It was the day Apollo 8 launched - Dec 21, 1968 - on the most powerful rocket ever made, Saturn V.

    The mission was to test coordinated performance of the crew, the command and service modules, etc. The mission was also to test navigation, communications, corrections, and a multitude of other details required for the farthest, pioneering journey humans have ever undertaken.

    If something were to happen there was no lifeboat to return to Earth.

    This trip was crucial in so many ways before humans can land on the moon and accomplish the mission that President John F. Kennedy called upon his nation to do.

    The trajectory was so tricky. This was almost like throwing a basketball from New Delhi hoping it will fall into the hoop at Kanya Kumari. No one had done it before. All they had were calculations and hope.

    They had computers with less power than today’s hand held phones.

    Travelling at a new world speed record of 24,200 mph (38,938 km/hr), after 61 hours, 8 minutes, and 54 seconds of launch, on Christmas Eve, Apollo 8 reached lunar orbit.

    At 68 hours, 58 minutes, 45 seconds, lost signal as it went behind the Moon. At that precise moment the three men in the spacecraft were the first humans to see Moon’s far side.

    Apollo 8 orbited the Moon ten times and the crew was busy filming the craters and mountains on Moon. It was during the fourth orbit that, while Borman was trying to get a navigational fix over the horizon that he first spotted a blue-and white fuzzy blob.

    It is said that this was a rare moment of an astronaut losing his cool, as he realized what he was watching: Earth rising!
    Anders then takes the first photograph of our Earth from the vantage point of another world which brought to all humankind the frail conditions we live in.

    The Earth, a beautiful blue against the stark blackness of empty space and a stark grayness of an empty Moon was the only thing that had color.

    It was not a world with bordered countries, or people of different colors, languages, cultures. It was our home, our only home in the vastness of emptiness.

    Here is that iconic picture. Now with many other pictures sent by other spacecraft this may not mean much, but fifty years ago this changed the way we treated our Mother Earth, and brought to light how privileged we are.

    download.jpg
    Image: nasa.gov
    Information: nasa and other sources.


    Recommended Book - Rocket Men by Robert Kurson.
    51p6R2Q1aYL._AC_UL160_.jpg
    image: amazon.com
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018
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  2. GeetaKashyap

    GeetaKashyap IL Hall of Fame

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    Fab article, @kkrish. I loved the above quoted sentimental lines.
     
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  3. jskls

    jskls IL Hall of Fame

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    Wow lovely article. Loved tha above lines. Living in the northern hemisphere I too look forward for Winter Solstice for the exact reason as you do. More daylight

    Thanks for sharing.
     
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  4. kkrish

    kkrish IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you @GeetaKashyap .

    Thank you @jskls
     
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  5. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Kamala,

    An excellent memories of the efforts made by the Space Missions those days. I was in 10th grade at that time. We didn't have television to watch all that action back in India. Mostly people remember the major mission like the day Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon but it is important to remember these milestones that enabled such a mission to land man on the Moon possible. It was a rat race at that time to beat the Soviet Union as well and every mission was compressed for time and need to be successful.

    Viswa
     
  6. Amica

    Amica IL Hall of Fame

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    Good write-up, @kkrish! I love looking at space through your lens.

    This "unscheduled" photograph is one of my favorites. Major Anders will never be forgotten by anyone.

    Indeed!
    .
     
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  7. kkrish

    kkrish IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks @Viswamitra .
    True that.
    Neil Armstrong himself mentioned that Apollo 8 was the most important mission in the Apollo program.
    Also this mission was to be conducted within one year of losing the three men on Apollo 1 on the launchpad. So there was a lot of trepidation, fear, and the question of how to move forward if all failed.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018
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  8. kkrish

    kkrish IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you @Amica
     
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  9. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    K, just this morning I was reading about the full moon and Ursid meteor shower happening the same day as the winter solstice, and was thinking haven't seen a write-up from you in a while. And you posted!

    As always, neatly narrated in byte-sized information, facts and opinion that inspires and humbles. Inspires as it reminds of what humans have achieved. Humbles as we see how big the big picture really is.

    The entire post has many whimsical and profound (for lack of better words) observations that I ended up unwittingly relating to others things and human ventures and ambitions.

    Wow. I will never get impatient again when an app on my phone becomes slow.

    Well described. Reading the post likes watching a riveting documentary with the text being narrated effectively.

    As an aside -- as with any other field, people outside the field know the names of only more well-known pioneers. There are many unsung heroes and happenstances that we learn about only by chance. Such as the story behind this photo and how it was taken.

    "Our home, our only home in the vastness of emptiness" -- poetic. Our only home like sometimes a fleeting moment is our only moment of quiet or joy or happiness in a day.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018
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  10. kkrish

    kkrish IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks @Rihana
    I am writing and writing my next post... still writing. A lot of personal interruptions and demands. So at times too tired to write.
    I believe there was a scramble among the three to get their hands on the camera and Anders got it. :)

    :thumbsup:
     
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