Posted on: 21st July 2011
After both the crew of Atlantis and mission controllers in Houston confirmed undocking, the familiar voice of the commentator came in: "Undocking confirmed at 1:28am central time. Atlantis weighs anchor from the International Space Station for the last time." A few moments later, a bell rang out. It was astronaut Ron Garan ringing the station's bronze ship's bell in the traditional farewell to a departing vessel.
I heard that "weighs anchor" as a reminder of the continuity of human exploration, and I heard that bell's ringing as a promise, to past, present and future generations, that our irrepressible human instinct to venture ever outward will not let us down... Read more