Spaceflight Hardware Integration Engineer
As part of my career, I had the great fortune to be in private NASA audiences of astronauts at the National Air and Space Museum’s IMAX theatre, where they would describe the films they shot on Shuttle missions just a few days earlier.
The most striking and pervasive observations made by both military aviators and pilots, as well as scientists, were about the incredible beauty and fragility of our planet and it’s thin, delicate atmosphere. Often they also described how ugly rain forest devastation looks, even from as far away as space.
These astronauts also revealed that, within just a few of their many ninety-minute orbits around Earth, they saw the planet as the global continuum it is—they saw the connectedness in everything in nature: the air, the water, the land. They said they felt this connectedness for all of life’s precious and fragile environments, and how our actions—or inactions—here on Earth affect all of life, including our endangered species. These astronauts stated that they saw it was important to establish protections such as the Endangered Species Act, as the impacts of one’s shortsightedness when on the ground was very evident when one has the long view, flying above Earth where one sees it all at once.