Friday, 17 May 2013

My Tribute to the Commander

I meant to post this a few days ago and it slipped my mind so apologies for the late and brief tribute Commander!
So the legend that is Commander Hadfield has left the International Space Station. The man who brought us into orbit with him and shared so many wonderful glimpses of our beautiful Earth has returned to terra firma and he should be returning to a lot of gratitude from all of us. I personally was lucky enough to have my home county featured on one of his flyovers. Even more amazingly he got us without cloud. Something that led me to believe he photoshopped his image! This website is amazing.  Kudos to the people who mapped out his pictures into lovely drop down options. From what I can tell, via Dara O’Briain, it was this guy that mapped it out so a big thank you to him!
The Commander is one lucky man however. Even in this day and age he has bosses that evidently don’t have a clue about social media. Their employee was up in space tweeting, playing space sounds on Soundcloud and ‘Youtube-ing’ to his heart’s content! Did the man get any actual work done up there I wonder?! How many billions in working hours did he cost his employers? Actually, now that I think of it, I’m glad the Commander is back. Hopefully the next Commander of the International Space Station actually does some work up there and gets off the Twitterer and Facebuk or whatever they’re called. IT’S NOT A HOLIDAY CAMP SPACE PEOPLE.
On a more serious note, in the last number of years, we have seen the United States decimate its funding of NASA while its military budget is ever increasing: both are to the detriment of humanity. Not only is NASA’s core budget cut for sending shuttles to space, its outreach program is also being destroyed. Commander Hadfield should act as an inspiration to governments around the globe to quit both cuts to education and austerity measures and pump money into science and education. It should be noted the interest this man garnered from the Earth’s populace. Imagine a new age of cooperation among nations and a space race that was not about one country winning, but everyone. Just imagine the technologies that could be invented due to massive investment in new research and people. Look at the jump humanity took when NASA was receiving a mere 4% of the US’ Federal budget in the 1960’s. Sadly since then, NASA’s budget has continuously shrunk. It didn’t even receive half a percent of total Federal funds this year. That is criminal. I mean compare it to the funds the Energy Corporations receive. Massive, profit making, tax avoiding, Earth polluting, energy companies. The figures are terrible.
Upon landing (and at the time of writing) he had amassed 969,338 Twitter followers. Imagine if we could get more people in such wonderfully privileged positions to engage so wonderfully with the general populace. Give people proper role models in life with proper aspirational goals. You would hope that stories like this are true and that he does inspire more and more people to dream about space. That can only have a knock on effect in terms of funding and humanities evolution as a species.
Of course there can’t be many people who didn’t see or at least know about his amazing penultimate departure day serenade! David Bowie’s Space Oddity never looked so good and with over six million views – the world agrees! Can you imagine having written that song, how awesome it must have been to have it performed so fantastically by an actual astronaut?! Actual space footage to go with your words? It sent chills through me watching that video and listening to the words! The Commander has inspired us and governments should ride this wave of inspiration and drive ourselves on for a new scientific age.
I mean when you glimpse at a selection of his best photos it is truly awe inspiring to think of the possibilities for better understanding our planet and its wonders.
So for reminding me of just how amazing our home, Earth, is and just how lucky I am to have a chance at living on this planet, I humbly thank thee.

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