Space! Fire! Smoke!
(Sorry this post is a couple of days late--I'm in the middle of the crazy season at work)
Ordinarily, if my mother had asked me if I wanted to wake up at 4:00 AM to drive out into the middle of nowhere, wait around for a few hours, and then come back...well, my answer would be a firm "No," delivered with a face like this:
But yesterday, we did exactly that. And we did it because in between the waiting for several hours and then driving home, we got to watch Orbital ATK test one of the new SLS rocket boosters that NASA plans to use on missions to Mars.
That's right: freaking MARS.
Space terrifies and fascinates me. My husband and I have a pretty slick Dobsonian telescope, and I'll admit that sometimes I'm afraid to look through it. Space is just so...vast. It feels like anything is possible in something that large. Literally any type of creature could be out there. And nevermind asteroids and comets--entire rogue planets could be flying around the void, waiting in the darkness.
That's why I love the idea of sending teams to Mars, and probes and satellites as far out as we can. I want to know what's out there, dammit. I want to know if there are other lifeforms lurking on Jupiter's moons, and if the things I read about in science fiction, like colonizing far away worlds, could really happen.
Anyway, seeing the SLS test was pretty awe inspiring. The amount of planning and engineering that goes into these rockets...just wow. And even though it was tipped on its side and strapped down to the mountain, I could definitely see how we're able to break orbit and get out into space. It's just so powerful!
Without any more of my rambling, check out this video from NASA:
And as cool as that is, here is a video recorded from closer to where I was standing (which was safely very far away). When the rocket first fired, I thought "That's cool, but it's quieter than I thought it would be." And then the sound hit us....