Viewing Earth From Space

I remember sitting with my family in awe as we watched the Apollo astronauts on the Moon on television in 1969 in our darkened living room. Yet it wasn't so much the Moon that captured us, but rather seeing our own planet from far away. You've seen the image, the one on the cover of The Whole Earth Catalog.

Some years later, my father gave me a book of LandSat pictures for my birthday, which I loved. I have always been fascinated by maps and geography.

Now there is Google Earth. It just astonishes me. It doesn't cost a penny.

I had read in the New York Times an article by Graham Bowley about the perils of writing a book about last year's disastrous climb of the Himalayan peak, K2. Off I went with Google Earth, to the "Roof of the World".

I used to read about a mythical hidden city, Shambala, somewhere in the vast and uninhabitable wilderness of northern Tibet. Even in Google Earth, you will not find many uploaded pictures or YouTube videos in this region. Here are a few images of this forbidding terrain of sand and salt.

I feel like Methuselah, the Ancient of Days, or Dave Bowman in 2001: A Space Odyssey. When I was a boy, we played with sticks and dirt. Surely we are approaching the End Time. Or not.


Steerforth said...

I was five when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and wasn't terribly impressed because I thought that there was already a base on the moon - I must have watched too many episodes of Doctor Who.

Amazing to think that 40 years on, NASA still haven't got a base on the moon or sent a mission to Mars.

Brett said...

It is amazing, when you consider the staggering sums that were spent on weapons systems for a war with the Soviets that never happened. It does sound strange to say, "When I was a child, men landed on the Moon."