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Harmony in Space

I've just been watching a news conference of 7 astronauts that are currently on the International Space Station ISS, which just was expanded with a new building block these days by the current STS-120 Space Shuttle mission.

While this is a surely a great thing for science, I also think the political dimensions of what's happening here are also just cool: This station is operated by people from the ex-cold-war-opponents Russia and the USA, which are now working closely together there in closely joint missions, 50 years after Russia (or actually the USSR back then) flew the first experimental satellite "Sputnik", started the space age and made the US work hard to compete with them in this area. Cooperation between those nations in such a way makes them talk and do lots of work together and such communication ultimately boosts lasting peace and cooperation around the world.

This is even more so as those two big nations aren't the only two participating here, actually, the cooperative work unites people around the world and equally righted people of different origins - and the new "Harmony" module that was just added to this space station shows that perfectly: Planned by the US, this module was built in Italy, flown up by a woman-commanded NASA crew, handed over with a Canadian-built roboter arm steered by a black-skinned astronaut to a currently (incidentally) also woman-commanded space station, and will connect European and Japanese laboratories to the currently existing US and Russian modules as well as serve as a docking port for future manned missions to the station. The name of "Harmony" sounds really fitting for such a hub of international cooperation.

Even if the ISS projects span countries around the globe already, I hope even more will join in and make the peaceful international space cooperation network tighter. Some rumors tell that China is thinking about joining in in some way, NASA administrator Griffin had talks with officials there last year, though the topics of those talks stay undisclosed at the moment. Views from space made us see how small and fragile our planet actually is, work in space can hopefully make us see how we all can peacefully work together and do amazing things that wouldn't be possible without sharing and combining experience, knowledge and workforce.

This cause is surely worth attention and the help of anyone who has the abilities to support it. And those who can not directly participate should hold it up morally and try to maybe help other projects of open international cooperation, like open source software and the Mozilla project(s).

The spirit of open cooperation and communication is what really brings harmony - to space but even more to everybody down here on on this world.

Entry written by KaiRo and posted on October 27th, 2007 20:54 | Tags: ISS, NASA, Space | no comments | TrackBack


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