Photo # 1 (Nov 2009)
TO FLY FREE IN SPACE
The great thing about this world
is not so much where we are,
but in what direction we are moving.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Credit: STS-41B, NASA
At about 100 meters from the cargo bay of the space shuttle Challenger, Bruce McCandless II was farther out than anyone had ever been before. Guided by a Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), astronaut McCandless, pictured above, was floating free in space. McCandless and fellow NASA astronaut Robert Stewart were the first to experience such an "untethered space walk" during Space Shuttle mission 41-B in 1984. The MMU works by shooting jets of nitrogen and has since been used to help deploy and retrieve satellites. With a mass over 140 kilograms, an MMU is heavy on Earth, but, like everything, is weightless when drifting in orbit. The MMU was replaced with the SAFER backpack propulsion unit.
Our world is facing incredible, dangerous, life-threatening challenges. Our politiicans are not even beginning to deal adequately with the causes of global heating, pollution, exhaustion of natural resources and overpopulation. It is important to keep our focus on where we are and where we want to get to... And to do whatever is needed in order to get there...
- Dan Benor, MD