Thursday, May 25, 2006

Why I want to go to space . . .

A week ago I attended the state PTA convention in Provo. (I’m going to be on the district PTA council over family life and education in the secondary schools.) I didn’t expect much going into the experience, but I came away enthused.

Probably the best speaker I heard was former Senator Jake Garn. He spoke to the combined session that kick-started the conference. And he was great! He not only motivates, but does so with a down-to-earth approach. Plus he’s funny!

He spoke about his experiences as an astronaut aboard the Challenger space shuttle. Jake Garn told how he is still an avid runner with a resting heart rate around 48 beats per minute. He also explained how he conducted several medical tests upon himself while in space -- one being a heart rate monitor that he wore constantly. Anyway, he recalled how frustrating it was to wait hour upon hour as the shuttle launch was delayed. Finally when the final countdown began, when the engines began to rumble, when he realized that he was strapped down to over a million pounds of thrust and it was really happening, he looked down at his heart rate monitor and saw that his heart rate was 127 beats per minute. Which proves, he said, that you can be flat on your back doing absolutely nothing and still have an aerobic workout!

Jake Garn also went into detail about the beauties of space. He told of traveling at 17,500 miles per hour in orbit around the earth, so fast that in every 24 hour period the sun rose and set 16 times, each a breath-taking experience.

As much as I’d like to see and experience the wonders and beauty of space, I have another reason I’m yearning to leave the earth’s atmosphere – I want to experience weightlessness!

Just imagine weighing absolutely nothing! Someone could ask you what you weigh, and you’d reply, "Zero pounds." And everyone would weigh the same. There would be no niggling thoughts about losing that last five pounds or even the first five pounds. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty appealing to me!

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