17 May 2011

And congrats to NASA

for launching Endeavour safely.

Blogging about this from Whitby is particularly poignant because the Shuttle Endeavour was named after the ship in which our local hero James Cook made the first of his circumnavigations. Cook learned his sailing skills in Whitby and Endeavour (the Earl of Pembroke before she was bought into the Royal Navy) was a Whitby-built ship. Cook's first voyage, like the modern Endeavour's last, was of cosmic import - his trip was to observe the transit of Venus acoss the face of the sun. As Cook wrote:

Saturday 3 rd This day prov'd as favourable to our purpose as we could wish, not a Clowd was to be seen the Whole day and the Air was perfectly clear, so that we had every advantage we could desire in Observing the whole of the passage of the Planet Venus over the Suns disk: we very distinctly saw an Atmosphere or dusky shade round the body of the Planet which very much disturbed the times of the contacts particularly the two internal ones.

Endeavour's mission is to deliver a mass spectrometer, a high pressure gas tank, two radio antennae and spares for the all-important meteorite shield. Thier mission is at the cutting edge of what is possible just as Cook's was. As they orbit the earth, the crew of Shuttle Endeavour are the living embodiment of Cook's personal motto 'Nil intentatem reliquit'.

Leave nothing unattempted. We wish them all a successful mission and safe return. (Pic the Australian-built replica Endeavour sailing into Whitby.)

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