Journal: News & Comment

Saturday, February 01, 2003
# 7:55:00 PM:


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The largest photographic print I've ever owned sits in our downstairs rec room. It's poster-sized, laminated and mounted on thick poster board. It was very expensive when my dad bought it from the original photographer, who, like him, was a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, and had taken it in Florida in 1981.

It's a photo of the space shuttle Columbia on the launch pad, before the first-ever shuttle takeoff 22 years ago. The external fuel tank is painted white, something NASA stopped doing not long after. I haven't looked at the photo much recently, but when I did I recalled that, unlike most vehicles of that age (certainly any car my family owned then), Columbia was still in service. Until today.

[UPDATE February 22, 2003: I'd forgotten the photographer's name, but he's Jim Bernath, who's now in his seventies and has become known as "Space Man" in my city for his space hardware collection and speaking career about space exploration. There are surprisingly few articles about him on the Web, though he was recently featured on the cover of my city's community newspaper.]


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