Space Suit of the Week

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There’s a joy, dare I say buoyancy, sometimes in simply seeing a space suit… especially for kids imagining they’re out there exploring some new planet. I’ve been bookmarking images of space suits for almost a year now and I have a few photos that feature kids in space suits so I thought I’d feature some of them in a single post instead of one-by-0ne since it’s hard to make an entire entry about an angry-looking kid dressed up as an astronaut or a youngin’ in a universe of biscuits.

The closest we’ve come to talking about what astronauts mean to kids is when we featured the work of Aspen Mays. In an interview, Aspen says during her childhood, when she felt stuck in her small town, she would imagine she was other places. Why not imagine outer space? Some carry this cosmic wanderlust into adulthood. Enough, apparently, that commercial space flight is on the horizon. But these flights will not take you into outer space, just into low earth orbit (LEO), which is still far enough away to feel like there isn’t gravity. And whatever the gravitational force is there, LEO is not a frontier of space; astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson once joked about traveling to this region “to boldly go where hundreds have gone before.”

The frontiers belong to astronauts. And dreaming about being an astronaut is just dreaming of exploration and discovery. Had they been born centuries later, would Marco Polo or Ponce de Leon become astronauts? I’d like to think so. But maybe they would have become investment bankers, traded gold instead of looking for it, and then bought a ticket into space. It’s not quite the same, but as kids, we don’t know the terminology difference between outer space and low earth orbit.

Still, I’m pretty sure none of us dream about finding flying biscuits in either region.

Alex

March 18, 2011