Saturday, July 05, 2008

Thoughts on the Birds

No, not the Byrds, who sang songs like Turn, Turn, Turn and Mister Tamborine Man back in the 1960s. No, the birds, the flying, feathered descendants of the dinosaurs. While sitting out on the front porch watching birds and bees flying about, I started thinking about how prior to the invention of the aeroplane 103 years ago, mankind could only dream of flying. Still birds and insects fly under their own power without the aid of devices, something we cannot do. How frustrated and yet driven must it have made people to strive to soar like the birds.

Yet, without their example, would people have even gotten the idea of flight? In a world where no creatures took to the sky, would it have occurred to human beings to aspire to become airborne? Similarly, if the nearby Moon did not appear in Earth's sky, would we have had a space program? The allure of a neighbor in space, so close yet so far, was a lofty goal for the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States. Even today, NASA is preparing to return to the Moon as a milestone toward a manned Mars mission. But without the Moon, would Mars be unattainable?

Points to ponder on a lazy Saturday afternoon.