Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Best Show On T.V.

If you're tired of watching non-stop coverage of bombs exploding in Israel and Lebanon, allow us to point you in the direction of some of television's most interesting -- and beautiful -- pictures this week: NASA TV.

But hurry... the show ends on Monday.

Since the Columbia disaster, NASA has rigged more cameras on the Shuttle orbiter than in any other time during the program's history. If you are a space geek or you just like watching the Earth spin far below, take a look at NASA TV.

I have NEVER seen so many interesting angles of the Earth... spacewalkers... or the shuttledoing giant loops in Earth orbit. There's more coverage of this trip than in a Michael Bay action film.

During one spacewalk this week, small cameras mounted on the helmets of the astronauts provided crystal clear images of the men working on the space station.

Talk about an 'up-close-and-personal-point-of-view.'

Even the banter from the astronauts is becoming less guarded and loaded with NASA-speak (Spacewalker: "Lemme give the airlatch a twist... ugh! This is a real mother to get closed.").

Can't get NASA TV? Don't fret-- just log on to NASA and take a look at some of their archived video clips. One of the most fascinating shots is from a camera mounted onto one of the shuttle's solid rocket boosters. The camera captures the neck-breaking moment that the orbiter blasts free of the launchpad gantry... and continues all the way to reaching the boundry of space. The moment of separation between the shuttle and the booster rocket is an absolutely incredible sight. Buck Rogers lives! We've come a long way since those grainy images of Neil and Buzz...

For the serious student of NASA-land, point your browser to another NASA website that allows you to view -- with your bare eyes -- the shuttle and International Space Station. I'm traveling this week, so I've seen the shuttle both in Los Angeles and high above New York City. This is probably the tenth or eleventh time I've done this, and I'm still amazed when I consider that I'm watching a small bit of humanity whizz over my head at 17,000 miles per hour.

This week you're reminded by the Shuttle's images that from two hundred miles up, borders are invisible... and the bigger picture becomes more clear.


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