For someone who was never meant for this world, I must confess I’m suddenly having a hard time leaving it. Of course, they say every atom in our bodies was once part of a star. Maybe I’m not leaving… maybe I’m going home. —Vincent
“Today humanity awaits a Message; men gaze at the silent, shining stars and listen. Earth sighs with weariness. Salvation must come from Space.”—W. Raymond Drake, from Spacemen in the Ancient East (1968)
“Much of what exists we do not see, much of what we see does not exist. Astronomers cannot see the void into which the galaxies allegedly recede, the physicists cannot see inside the atom; the light we see from countless stars was emitted millions of years ago, many may have long since exploded; now—and what is Now?—our senses are stimulated by radiations from them, our brain computes a pattern based on its memory-bank and frames a reality. Esoterically all we ever see is ourselves, a secret most profound.”—W. Raymond Drake, from Spacemen in the Ancient East (1968)
“I was 24 when I joined NACA—later NASA—and was given very challenging work both as a pilot and as an engineer in flight research. I was confident that men of that age could do the job. Additionally, this new Space Age required people who understood digital computers, and most of the people in that category were in their 20s.”—Neil Armstrong, from Popular Mechanics “No Margin for Error: The Untold Story of Apollo 11” (June 2009 Issue). Read more about it here.
Giuseppe Tiberio Madeleine, Spazio E Pensurro Pa., Etching, in NASA’s permanent collection.
Len Gittleman, Unnamed crater, 1972, from Lunar Transformations Series, Serigraph, in NASA’s permanent collection.
Len Gittleman, Oceanus Procelarum, 1972, from Lunar Transformations Series, Serigraph, in NASA’s permanent collection.
Jack Perlmutter, One Giant Step, Woodblock, in NASA’s permanent collection.
Wilhelm Geissler, Kosmische Fahrt, 1966, Woodblock, in NASA’s permanent collection.
Robert T. McCall*, Splashdown, 1977, Lithograph, in NASA’s permanent collection.
* Perlmutter was the chair of printmaking at Corcoran Gallery of Art (1960-1982) and was also the curator for the Cosmos Club featuring members of distinguished professionals and intellectuals in science and the arts.
A moving letter by astronaut Tom Jones. Originally published online on March 11, 2009.
Republished in the June 2009 issue of Popular Mechanics.
NASA is at a crossroads and President Barack Obama has not yet nominated an administrator to guide the agency as it wrestles with a growing list of problems. Looming decisions facing the president will make or break America’s status as the world leader in space. Astronaut, author and PM contributing editor Tom Jones has advice for Obama on what he needs to do to keep NASA on the right trajectory.