by Doctor Science
On July 20, 1969, my family returned to our house in Champaign, IL, from a year in France, where my father had been a Fulbright Scholar. I was twelve, my brother was ten. I remember we were excited, wondering what changes we'd see after our year away -- and it was like one of those Twilight Zone episodes, where you wake up and everyone has vanished, all that's left is a crumpled newspaper blowing down Main Street.
We'd been traveling for months at this point, so we'd kind of lost track of what was going on in the world, and why the streets would be deserted in mid-afternoon. Suddenly we remembered: "Right! it's the moon landing!"
So I remember being in the house, eating pizza and watching Walter Cronkite on our little black & white TV, seated among the boxes being brought up from the basement where they'd been stored while the house was rented.
On the evening of July 16, 1994, I went to a college Astronomy Club to talk to people and look through their telescopes, to see if we could see any part of the impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy on Jupiter. Of course, it being New Jersey, it started to rain about an hour before impact and rained steadily for the next 2 days. So I went home and Mister Doctor and I downloaded images as they were posted to various newsgroups and to the fledgling World Wide Web. Or at least we tried -- this was the first news event I recall that broke parts of the Internet due to high image traffic. I mean, the JPL comet home page got almost a quarter million "hits" on one day alone (July 20) -- that was pretty heady stuff!
Today, I'm tracking New Horizon's location, and following Emily Lakdawalla and Phil Plait, and boogeying to Pluto music. And every time we get a new image of Pluto, it's the best image we've ever had.
I love living in the future.
Another example: Sasquan, the World SF Convention, says it's taking place in "Spokane, Washington, USA, Earth". This is not just being cute, because the membership breakdown includes:
That's "Space -- Earth Orbit -- 1", because Dr. Kjell Lindgren will be attending via remote link, from the International Space Station.
We're getting there.