Saturday, April 9, 2011

Space Blogging

I really enjoyed this lovely blog post from Ron Garan, the NASA astronaut who rode up to orbit with two cosmonauts this week. He tells me a lot I wanted to know about how the Soyuz compares to the shuttle. Smoother at first, which I noticed in the onboard video during launch. I've been on the shuttle simulator at Kennedy Space Center. The shuttle is not smooth.

I would be untrue to my nature if I did not acknowledge that I blurted out "LYING!" when I got to the fourth sentence below:
Lying in our seats before launch was actually very peaceful. We periodically felt vibrations and valves opening and closing, and we heard fans and motors turning on and off, but through all that I felt a peaceful reassurance that everything was ready to go. The vehicle definitely felt alive and ready. Laying there strapped to the rocket I thought about all those people that are close to me that were watching there in Baikonur, on TV or online.

Ron, why did you switch from "lying" to "laying there?" Did you somehow in the middle of that paragraph cease to be the master of your own body? Actually, poetically speaking that's probably a pretty good choice of words. You had sort of put yourself in the hands of the other people at that point. When you climbed into the capsule you lay down and enjoyed lying in your custom molded seat, then maybe you listened to a little Bob Dylan on your headphones and felt like you had been placed there passively. (You said you like U2 and Dire Straits, but maybe the Dylan influence came through.)

What do you think, Mama, are we going to count off 10 points for "laying there" or call it poetic license? I say if Bob Dylan is completely forgiven then Ron Garan is too.

For anybody confused about the proper usage of lie and lay, here's a primer courtesy of my mama.
Lay is something you do to something. Lie is something you do. It gets complicated because of the past tense.

When I get in my bed, I lie down.
In a few minutes, I will lie down.
As I'm nestling right this minute, I lay my head on the pillow.

Yesterday when I went to bed, I lay down.
Last night when I went to bed, I laid my head on the pillow.

Sexually, it's doing something to her. He lays her today, he laid her yesterday. If he does it with her and not to her the above rules apply: He "lay" with her yesterday, and lies with her today.

The most notorious error (completely forgiven) is Lay Lady Lay, Lay Across My Big Brass Bed.

Rise and raise are the same complication.
#ToOrbit ^DB Liftoff! on Twitpic
You can see last Monday's Soyuz launch in high def on the NASA video gallery but it's not embeddable, sorry.

Here's a photo of liftoff Ron Garan's friend Dan Burbank tweeted for him. (to follow: @astroron)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you! At last this has been lain to rest in my mind.