Wednesday, September 13, 2006

On Spacewalking

I was reading about spacewalking yesterday:

Two astronauts made spacewalking look easy today as they hooked up the newest part of the International Space Station: a 35,000-pound truss with a solar array that will provide additional power to the station.

The two astronauts — Joseph R. Tanner, a former Navy pilot and a veteran of three previous space flights and five spacewalks, and Heidemarie M. Stefanyshyn-Piper, a Navy commander on her first space flight — ventured out into space and scrambled over the orbiting construction project at 5:17 a.m. Eastern time. They returned to the space station's Quest airlock a little more than six and one-half hours later.

Imagine doing that. I get shivers down my spine, and think how very fortunate those people are. To be out in the space, not on a planet, to see the earth from outside, to experience something so unique. Yet I'm not quite sure why this excites me so. I don't want to go out there myself.

Or perhaps I do. We are like people forced to sit on one sofa in the living-room all our lives, and the only view we have is of the opposite wall. There are other trips we can make, of course, all along the length and width of the sofa, but we never really know what's in the next room, except a little in our imaginations.