Saturday, September 23, 2006

Wide open spaces

If you had a billion dollars would you spend 20 million to take a ride in the space shuttle to International Space Station (ISS)? Keep in mind that it could be the last thing you do if things go wrong.

I know there are no guarantees in life. But some risks are riskier than others, no?
As you might have read in the news Anousheh Ansari did just that. I was biting my nails as I watched the lift off on NASA TV. Boy, what a scary place to be. The bottom of the shuttle is exploding in flames as you lay in the spacecraft thinking about all the people and the life you are leaving behind…maybe forever.
But no guts, no glory.

I speculate that most people would go for it. I wouldn’t be one of those people. I look at life as a series of experiences. Orbiting around earth would be one of the experiences that one can have and no doubt a very rare and unique experience. But I wouldn’t weigh this experience over scuba diving or climbing Mt. Everest. I realize that scuba diving is something everybody can do, so it may not be a unique thing to do in a world perspective. But it is a unique experience for me. In my mind sacrificing scuba diving, traveling around the world, growing old with family and friends and what not is not worth the one experience of floating around earth feeling nauseated, bloated and sick all the while.

Having said that, I have tremendous respect for those who dare to go on these incredible adventures. The kind of advances we have made with space travel and whatever little we know about our universe blows my mind. None of this would have been possible without these courageous cosmonauts backed up by the endless hours of work the scientists have put in. The photos of objects in space some hundred million light years away from us and conceivable ideas about births of galaxies and planets never cease to amaze me. We have come a long way from the days of lore when earth was flat and sun revolved around the earth. If I weren’t numerophobic I would have considered becoming a cosmologist. Since my little brain does not allow me to conceive trajectories and equations very well I play around with tiny cells and bacteria to see what’s going on inside these little buggers. That’s as much fun too.

But I digress. Coming back to space travels, I have been following Anousheh’s blog since she took off and she has been updating it from outer space. Things like, what space smelled like and how her insides went for a spin even after she stopped spinning around.

Anousheh says:

I was finally able to take a look outside and saw the earth for the very first time. Tears started rolling down my face. So peaceful, so beautiful, no signs of borders, no signs of war…just pure beauty.

You can read her blog at

Such curious little creatures we are.


Fleiger said...

Space travel? That would be next in my list after a ride in MiG-29.

Some risks are too fun to take sometimes.

Crystal blur said...

have you checked this out?

Fleiger said...

Next in line after

$3750 sounds kind of cheap, doesn't it? (not as a student, as a person with steady job)

Rockus said...

I am no daredevil...but I wish I had 10 million bucks to just throw away!

Btw been reading your posts and really like them...been too lazy to comment...but ur touching made me feel guilty! :P

Crystal blur said...

Wow Fleiger, that looks exciting! So have you got your ticket to Moscow yet?

It sure would be fun to be filthy rich, in fact thats the only kind of filthy I like :)

Okay, whats all this touching you are talking about? (Eyes suspiciously)

Fleiger said...

That activity is postponed till I get a VC to sign my cheques ;)

Rockus said...

Did a miss a word called 'post' somewhere in the comment? I guess I did! :D

rajiv© said...

hmmmm ... am gonna buy the space pen next week .. for a start ...