The day my life would change for ever was April 16th, 2013. This was the day that I left planet earth and embarked on one of the most important missions in NASA’s history. I should probably back up though, and explain to you how this came about. April 16th was sunny with only a few clouds in the sky, the smell of spring was in the air and with the end of second semester right around the corner, the quad was packed with people eager to catch some much desired sun rays. Unfortunately for me though I was stuck in astronomy. That day’s topic was our very own planet earth. Dr. Bozyan was lecturing about how planet Earth was actually very wet, that nearly 71% of earths surfaced is covered with water. I learned that while other worlds of the solar system have atmospheres, only Earths contains the oxygen that we humans and animals need to survive. I had really hoped that wasn’t true because I had big aspirations of one day living on mars. We learned about about the greenhouse effect and how clouds, snow, ice and sand reflect about 31% of the incoming sunlight back into space. The earth though also emits radiation into space because of its temperature. Fighting off the urge to day dream about the nice weather, I managed to also learn how Earths magnetic field produces a magnetosphere that traps particles from the solar wind. Like the motions of Earths tectonic plates, Earths magnetic field results from our planets internal heat. The last thing I wrote down in that class was a few interesting notes about how human activity such as Deforestation, burning of fossil fuels and industrial chemicals are damaging the ozone layer in the stratosphere. As I was seconds away from reaching freedom to the the spring air, Dr. Bozyan approached me and told me that she had a question for me. She was talking though in a soft almost secretive tone. She went on for about 10 minutes how she worked for a top secret NASA program that was interested in sending me on a mission. I laughed at that, it sounded like a calvin and Hobbs comic strip that I see in the Sunday paper. She went on and told me that the the great space race between Russia and the U.S.A. had never ended and that there was a race to gather observations from all nine planets in the solar system. They had top secret technology that would allow for this mission to be completed in only one week. The only catch was that it was so secret that I would be launching out of the URI planetarium that night, and that I couldn’t tell anybody where I was going. Me being the adventurous type decided this would be a great opportunity to become famous and in the process get to see some landmarks like the milky way and the man on the moon. Within hours I was in my very first space shuttle and on my way to the moon.
The fastest time to the moon was 8 hours and 35 minutes by NASA’s New Horizons pluto mission. It was only going to take me 2 hours and 31 minutes and I was only supposed to stop at the moon for fuel because it was determined information about the outer planets was more important and we were trying to complete the mission in the quickest possible time. As the man on the moon figure approached within eye shot, I began to observe and take note of anything I could. Even though NASA had already explored the moon, that was no excuse for me not to absorb any observations of the moon for myself. I quickly began to observe that the moon was very dry and its surface was covered with plains and craters that is caused by the moon being bombarded by meteoric material also known as impact craters. As we touched down I quickly decided to throw on my space suit and check out the moon and its surroundings. I immediately found out that there was no atmosphere and no global magnetic field as it felt as if I were floating and that there was no gravity holding me down. There also appeared to be no liquid water of any kind. I realized that the 3476 km diameter of the moon was really just a spec in the cloudless...
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