Tuesday, April 12, 2016

NPM Celebrations - International Day of Human Space Flight

April 12th is the International Day of Human Space Flight. Sponsored by the United Nations, this celebration is rooted in the 2011 Declaration on the Fiftieth Anniversary of Human Space Flight and the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. It reads in part:

We, the States Members of the United Nations, in commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of human space flight and the fiftieth anniversary of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space,
  1. Recall the launch into outer space of the first human-made Earth satellite, Sputnik I, on 4 October 1957, thus opening the way for space exploration;
  2. Also recall that, on 12 April 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the Earth, opening a new chapter of human endeavour in outer space;
  3. Further recall the amazing history of human presence in outer space and the remarkable achievements since the first human spaceflight, in particular Valentina Tereshkova becoming the first woman to orbit the Earth on 16 June 1963, Neil Armstrong becoming the first human to set foot upon the surface of the Moon on 20 July 1969, and the docking of the Apollo and Soyuz spacecrafts on 17 July 1975, being the first international human mission in space, and recall that for the past decade humanity has maintained a multinational permanent human presence in outer space aboard the International Space Station; 
Here are some poems that celebrate the challenges and accomplishments of putting humans in space.

Blast Off! Poems About Space (1995), compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, is an easy to read anthology containing 20 poems by various poets, including Jane Yolen, Bobbi Katz, J. Patrick Lewis, Ashley Bryan, Lee Bennett Hopkins and others. Since this book is in an easy-reader format, the poems are accessible for young children. 

When I'm An Astronaut 
by Bobbi Katz

First I'll get into my spacesuit.
Then I'll bravely wave good-bye.
Next I'll climb into my spacecraft
Built to sail right through the sky!
In command inside the capsule,
I will talk to ground control.
When we've checked out
all the systems,

I'll say, "Let the countdown roll!"
And it's 4-3-2-1 - - blast off - -
With a smile upon my face,
I’ll spin loops around the planets
up, up, up in outer space!

Poem © Bobbi Katz, 1995. All rights reserved.

Hey You!: Poems to Skyscrapers, Mosquitoes, and Other Fun Things (2007), selected by Paul B. Janeczko and illustrated by Robert Rayesky, is an anthology entirely filled with poems of address.
Here are two examples.

To An Astronaut
by Beverly McLoughland

When you're in space
So far away
With darkness all around,

And you see the little Earth
Do you miss its windy sound?

Do you feel alone
With endless space
The neighbor at your door?

Do you miss the Earth
So far away?
Do you love it even more?

Poem ©Beverly McLoughlan. All rights reserved.

Out of This World: Poems and Facts about Space (2012), written by Amy Sklansky and illustrated by Stacy Schuett, is a collection of poems about space and space exploration. Readers will also find explanations and fun facts in the margins.

Space Suit

No astronaut
is ever caught
without a suit in space

The temperatures,
extreme for sure,
make it a hostile place.

Lack of air
to breathe out there
means oxygen is key.

The suit deflects
as it protects
from any injury.

Good work is done
in shade or sun,
though movement does lack grade.
No astronaut
is ever caught
without a suit in space
Poem © Amy Sklansky, 2012. All rights reserved.

A Burst of Firsts: Doers, Shakers, and Record Breakers (2001), written by J. Patrick Lewis and illustrated by Brian Ajhar, is a collection of 22 poems about men and women who dared something special and accomplished it first.

First Men on the Moon
by J. Patrick Lewis

"The Eagle has landed!" —Apollo II Commander Neil A. Armstrong
"A magnificent desolation!" — Air Force Colonel Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr.
July 20, 1969

That afternoon in mid-July,
Two pilgrims watched from distant space
The moon ballooning in the sky.
They rose to meet it face-to-face.

Their spidery spaceship, Eagle, dropped
Down gently on the lunar sand.
And when the module's engines stopped,
Rapt silence fell across the land.

The first man down the ladder, Neil,
Spoke words that we remember now—
“One small step...” It made us feel
As if we were there too, somehow.

When Neil planted the flag and Buzz
Collected lunar rocks and dust,
They hopped like kangaroos because
Of gravity. Or wanderlust?

A quarter million miles away,
One small blue planet watched in awe.
And no one who was there that day
Will soon forget the sight they saw.

Poem © J. Patrick Lewis, 2001. All rights reserved.

Skywriting: Poems to Fly (2010), written by J. Patrick Lewis and illustrated by Laszlo Kubinyi, is a collection of 13 poems that trace the history of our obsession with flight, beginning with the myth of Icarus and ending with the space shuttle.

Space Shuttle STS-109

                                          Launched March 1, 2002

I am the behemoth of adventure,
     I am the shuttle of Uncle Sam's,
I run like thirty-nine locomotives,
     Or twenty-three revved-up Hoover Dams.

17,000 miles per hour
     In just about eight seconds flat!
I burn at 6100° Fahrenheit—
     So it says on my thermostat.

I carry people who like to walk
     Three hundred miles off the ground
I am your front-row ticket to
     Celestial theater in the round.

Poem © J. Patrick Lewis, 2010. All rights reserved.

What's it like to live in space? Here's what Scott Kelly, the only NASA astronaut to spend a continuous year in Low Earth Orbit, had to say about his time on the International Space Station.
 That's it for today. I hope you'll join me tomorrow for our next celebration.

1 comment:

  1. Tricia, this is such a great post for space lovers! I particularly love the questions posed in "To an Astronaut." Even though the means of space travel have changed, the sense of adventure and risk and wonder are the same. I follow Mars One on Twitter, and it's fascinating to hear about the folks who've signed up to go to Mars -- and never come back to Earth. Thank you!