Aphelion Issue 253, Volume 24
August 2020
 
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Hello and welcome to the August 2020 issue of Aphelion!

This afternoon I watched the Endeavor splash down and the crew safely exit their capsule. They spent two months on the International Space Station. Over the past week I have watched the launch of the latest US robotic probe mission to Mars, pressure tests and static engine fire tests, and many more amazing things. The future is moving so quickly now.

I remember watching so many of the NASA space missions. As a kid, I couldn't wait for the future to arrive. Well, it did, but  in  a way, it still is arriving.

The future didn't arrive the way we thought it would. No, it snuck in, gradually, slowly, and not without a few false starts. That's likely to be the way the future continues to arrive, too.

Of all the changes and advancements I have seen, I think that computers are probably the most sneaky. They've gone from rooms full of vacuum tubes to tiny little chips on a circuit board. From costing millions to being so inexpensive you can buy one in a grocery store from a rack of cell phones.  The internet stretches everywhere.

We're using it right now to communicate with each other in ways that couldn't have been dreamed of a century ago. Who knows what the future will bring? One thing for sure, it will bring changes.

The present circumstances have taught me one thing. I'm looking forward to my retirement years. Everything at work will look quite different after all this time away. I'll have a different perspective to use to look at it through, for one thing. I'll know how much time I've been wasting, for one thing. I'll know what living on a limited budget will be like. I'll know that I can take time to have fun and relax, to write and to read, so sleep when I need to and wake up when I want. And no alarm clocks to wrench me out of a comfortable sleep.

I don't believe I'll be quite as stressed out as I used to be about having to go to work for the few short years I have left before I can officially retire. I've been working for 42 years, and that has given me many  blessings as well as stresses. Those stresses won't be as powerful as they used to be.  I have three and a half years to go, pretty much. 

About time I quit wasting yours and let you get to reading!

Dan 

 



ON THE COVER

Title: Young star lights up reflection nebula IC 2631

Photo Credit: ESO