Astronauts, Humankind, Earth, Space, and God

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of humans landing on the moon, many newspapers and magazines have recently published articles and photos of the moon landing and other space-related events. The 14 July print edition of the Seattle Times devoted three pages (as well as a special moon-landing insert) to this special look back. In one article in that edition, Erik Lacitis interviewed astronauts who are now living in the Puget Sound area about their experiences in space. These are snippets of what they said (his several-page article, as published on the web, is referenced below):

Dottie Metcalf-Linden, a flight engineer on the space shuttle in April 2010, said of her experience: “I felt very connected to God and to the grandeur that is beyond what I can describe.” She explained the difficulty of trying to relate to her family “the beauty of the heavens and earth; the vastness that cannot be shown because photos have edges. . . . I’m sure my words fell short.”

Craig Johnson, who piloted a shuttle mission in May 2009, said, “You can’t look out into the cosmos and not think there is a higher power creating all this.”

Bill Anders piloted the lunar orbit module for Apollo 8 in December 1968. He was the astronaut who took the historic “Earthrise” photo, which Time magazine listed as among its 100 most influential photos. Anders said, “In the history of mankind, almost all people thought we were the center of the solar system. We’re hardly the center of anything, except in our own minds.”

Wendy Lawrence, who was a mission specialist on four space-shuttle flights, said this about seeing Earth from space: “You see Earth in an intensely black space. It looks very small and very fragile. This is our home.”

—source: Erik Lacitis, “ ‘It’s quite a ride’: Local astronauts reminisce,” Seattle Times, July 14, 2019, A1 & A21. Print. Published on the web as Erik Lacitis, “5 Washington astronauts try to put outer space into words: ‘grandeur that is beyond what I can describe’,” Seattle Times, July 14, 2019, https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/5-washington-astronauts-try-to-put-outer-space-into-words-grandeur-that-is-beyond-what-i-can-describe/ (accessed 18 July 2019).

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