Cultivating wonder is one of my major jobs as a science educator, so you’d think that I’d have pushed for my kids to see LADEE launch last night. Nope.
*I* saw LADEE blaze across the southern skies last night, an orange oblong fireball that snuffed out the second our streaming NASA channel reported the dropping of the third stage. It was so very, very cool, seeing my first launch ever. Seeing something going to the MOON. Seeing it from a second story window in my *own house*.
But the kids missed it. We’d put them to bed, figuring that it would be too late, and that we probably couldn’t even see it from the top of the hill near our house, and even then the park up there is shut after sunset. We were bummed, but out of ideas.
Daddyman is like a kid on Christmas for space travel though, and he went, hopeful like a kid, to the window to see if he could see anything.
And he could, intermittently through the trees. He knew it was LADEE when it got dimmer when our NASA feed reported the drop of the second stage, and I got to the window right when it emerged from the trees into the clear night sky. I still wasn’t convinced until the oblong fireball snuffed out when the stream reported that the third stage had been dropped. So very, very cool, seeing something that was going to the MOON.
And yet I don’t feel badly that the kids missed it. Sure, it was AWESOME, but I got it by luck and surprise, and didn’t actually expect to see it. If we’d kept the kids up on the thin, rather outlandish hope that they’d be able to see it without even going outside, the memory that they would most likely have of the evening would have been pure disappointment, and I’d rather have them regret missing it than watch them get discouraged and let the very idea of space lose some of its shine in their eyes.
Instead, I told them about it this morning, and their eyes? They SHONE.