Since I was a kid, I’ve always dreamed of what it would be like to go to space. Since my dad is really into flying and aeronautics this doesn’t really surprise me. I remember watching movies like Space Camp and Apollo 13 and wishing that one day I could go to space and see what it’s really like.
Now, in 2014, not only have I not gone to space, but I only recently took my first airplane trip a few years ago in 2011 when I went to New York. I remember being scared (as most people are on their first flight) before we took off, but mostly I was excited. I was finally going to see what the earth looked like from a high altitude.
Yes, you can look at Google Earth and zoom way out and see it that way, but that’s not the same. In Google Earth, you’re looking at a still photograph (though interactive) of the earth on a computer screen. Not seeing the actual earth. How many times have you seen a photo of the statue of liberty? And how did it compare to seeing her in person? It didn’t compare it all, did it?
We took off from the Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans at around 6:00am…just in time for the sunrise. We started to accelerate down the runway. I was moving faster than I ever had before and it was GREAT! All nervousness left me when I felt the slight weightless feeling as the plane left the ground as the city below got smaller and smaller. At first it was like being on a high bridge. Then, we rose higher than I’d ever been.
It was a semi-cloudy morning and as the cars turned into ants the sky was on fire. The sun was peeking up from the other side of Lake Ponchartrain as if the Earth herself was moving out of the way.
We banked North and suddenly the Causeway Bridges looked like two towers going into the sky creating one of the strangest optical illusions I’ve ever seen.
As daylight grew, I could see the cities below us as we flew across the country. It was nothing like I’d ever imagined…to know that what I’m looking at IS the place I’m looking at, but I can see it ALL. I wasn’t looking at pixels on a screen anymore. When I saw a street below, I knew that if I zoomed in close enough with a camera, I would see cars and people and that they were all 35,000 feet below me. I was now that tiny spot in the sky with a trail of white like a giant’s etch-a-sketch.
Seeing how beautiful it is on the screen in this video, I can only IMAGINE how beautiful and amazing it must be to see the WORLD from the perspective that the astronauts in the ISS must see. They can literally look at entire countries and continents in a glance and know that they aren’t looking at pixels on a screen but the real thing.