27 July 2005

BOT: the Beauty in the Dark

Caught a bit of NASA TV on BBC World, which was covering the Space Shuttle Discovery's Return to Flight launch. At about 8 minutes or so into the launch, a nice shot of the belly of the orbiter from a camera mounted on the External Tank (also known as the Big Orange Thing or BOT) appeared on the telly. Earth dominated the lower left of the screen, the curve horizon evocative of the fragility of the present and promise of the future. That beautiful, beautiful blue marble upon which we ALL depend.

Then the Big Orange Thing jettisoned, and the orbiter just floated away ever so quickly but ever so gently, peeling away from the Big Orange Thing like a whale swimming away from the observer in a dark ocean with stately grace. What a beautiful sight. You can see the video from here (or at least a still if your system doesn't take *.ram).

Beautiful. We need more moments of beauty like this in this world of ours.