As an American baby boomer who came of age during the Space Race, I am in absolute awe of the picture I saw this morning.
The European Space Agency’s comet lander, Philae, has sent back the first image from Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
That a mechanical device could be launched from Earth, travel 10 years through deep space and then land on a comet, for crying out loud, is enough of a scientific marvel all by itself.
Now we’re getting pictures that are being sent more than 300 million miles from Earth. What’s more, the clarity is astounding beyond measure.
I saw the news report earlier this week when Philae landed on the comet and watched space agency engineers cheering, back-slapping and hugging each other. It reminded me of the reaction at NASA when, for instance, the late Neil Armstrong told the world: “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”
Oh, those were the days.
I’m glad the ESA has accomplished this monumental feat. I’m delighted to see the pictures. A part of me, though, is a bit envious of the spectacular success that someone else has just achieved.