Sunday, February 7, 2016

Heroic Determination!

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage
to lose sight of the shore. (Andrew Gide)

Exploration awaits you, said Leonard Nimoy.
Not mapping stars and studying nebula,
but in charting the unknown possibilities of existence.

In wisdom gathered over time, I have found that every experience
is a form of exploration.” (Ansel Adams)

The Kon Tiki Expedition
In 1947 Thor Heyerdahl, a Norwegian explorer and writer led a journey by raft from South America to the Polynesia Islands. The raft was named Kon Tiki after the Inca sungod, Viracho. Heyerdahl believed that the people from South America could have settled Polynesia in pre-Columbian times. The Kon Tiki expedition was funded by private loans, along with donations of equipment from the U.S. Navy.

Heyerdahl and a small team went to Peru, where, with the help of dockyard facilities, they constructed the raft out of balsa logs and other native materials, an indigenous style as recorded in illustrations by the Spanish conquistadors. Beginning on April 28, 1947, Heyerdahl and 5 companions sailed the raft for 101 days over 6,900 km (4,300 miles) across the Pacific Ocean before smashing into a reef at Rarola in the Tuamotu Islands on August 7, 1947. The crew made successful land, returning safely.

Thor Heyerdahl's book about his experience became a 'best-seller'...published in Norwegian in 1948 as The Kon Tiki Expedition: By Raft Across the South Seas, was later reprinted as Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific on a Raft in English in 1950...also in many other languages. A documentary motion picture about the expedition, also called Kon-Tiki was produced, winning an Academy Award (directed by Thor Hayerdahl).
I'm a storyteller: that's what exploration really is all about.
Going to places where others haven't been and return to tell a story
that hadn't been heard before. (James Cameron)

Spanish Exploration of the Pacific
In 1521, Ferdinand Magellan's expedition was the first known crossing of the Pacific Ocean, who then named it the 'peaceful sea'. Born into a wealthy Portuguese family (in around 1480), Magellan became a skilled sailor and naval officer and was eventually selected by King Charles I of Spain to search for a western route to the Maluka Islands (the Spice Islands). Commanding a fleet of vessels, he headed south through the Atlantic Ocean to Patagonia, passing through the Strait of Magellan into a body of water he named the 'peaceful sea' (the modern Pacific Ocean).

Despite a series of storms and mutinies, the expedition reached the Spice Islands in 1521...and returned home via the Indian Ocean to complete the first circuit of the globe. Magellan did not complete the entire voyage, as he was killed during the Battle of Mactan in the Philippines in 1521.
The “Megellan Penguin” is named after him
as he was the first European to note it.

Ferdinand Magellan's navigational skills have also been acknowledged
by the naming of objects associated with the stars...including the 'Megellan Clouds'...
now known to be two nearby dwarf galaxies.

Space Exploration

Do You Star Gaze? Who Hasn't?
The Tau Zero Foundation is a global volunteer group of scientists, engineers, writers, entrepreneurs and writers working together to advance the goal of interstellar flight.

Why Do We Go to Outer Space? We live in a world so full of social injustice...of problems, of poverty and disease. Is it worth spending even one dollar up there when there is suffering and pain on Earth?
Did You Know? Virgin Galactic has already sold tickets to space to more people than have ever gone before. Waiting for their time when they step on that spaceship and fulfil their childhood dream and go to space, are 650 peole who have paid up. (One such traveller is a female journalist from Burlington, Ontario.) This stuff is really, really close on the horizon.

Space Exploration is the ongoing discovery and explanation of celestial structures in outer space by means of continuously evolving and growing space technology. Carried out mainly by astronomers with telescopes, the physical exploration of space is conducted both by unmanned robotic probes and human spaceflight.

Way Back When...I was in public school, we had to give a 10-minute talk to our class on any given subject listed by the classroom teacher. Being extremely shy and of low-esteem, I was dreading this presentation. Fortunately, in a magazine was a fictional account with several cartoon-like-drawings entitled...A Trip to the Moon. Pure Fantasy at that time! My mother and I redrew these 'cartoon-like drawings' with colour and mounted them onto sizeable 12” x 16” bristol board showcards. These, when displayed to my classmates, were my 'crutches' to get through the presentation.
No one at that time would have believed such Space Travel would ever occur!!!

In later years, a Space Race between the Soviet Union and United States evolved. The launch of the first human-made object to orbit Earth...the Soviet Union's Sputnik 1 on 4 October 1957 and the first Moon Landing by the American Apollo 11 mission on 20 July 1969 are often taken as landmarks for this initial space exploration period.
Landing a Man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth
within a decade, was a national goal set by John F. Kennedy in 1961.
On 20 July 1969, Astronaut Neil Armstrong 'took a giant step for mankind'
as he stepped onto the moon's surface. Six Apollo missions were made
to explore the moon between 1969 and 1972.

After 20 years of exploration, the focus shifted to the Space Shuttle Program,
from competition to co-operation as with the International Space Statioon (ISS).

* * * * * * *

The day we stop exploring is the day we commit ourselves
to live in a stagnant world, devoid of curiosity, empty of dreams.
(Neil deGrasse Tyson)

Written by Merle Baird-Kerr...November 6, 2015

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