When historians look back at March 1, 2016, they will hail it as the day one man overcame obstacles and did what few before him have. One man will have traveled far, risen to heights unimagined, and changed the world.
Holy Spray Tan! Yes, Tuesday marked the day the American astronaut Scott Kelly returned to earth after 340 days in space. Kelly, the twin brother of astronaut Mark Kelly, circled the earth 5,400 times and went 144 million miles. He saw 11,000 sunsets, and has racked up a total of 520 days in space, the record for an American astronaut.
That’s short of the records set by Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov, who spent 438 consecutive days in space, or Gennady Padalka’s record of 879 days total. But still, that’s almost a year in a big tin can about as spacious as a Boeing 747. You can’t beat the view, but we’re not talking elbow room.
Scott Kelly has gone where few have gone before, enduring weightlessness, close companionship and interesting food. But he did it, and if he can do it, maybe more of us can soar further into the heavens.
So look up into a clear Alaska sky and imagine yourself, or your children, or your grandchildren, drifting off into the beyond, exploring new worlds. Make it so, citizens, and dream. While you dream, cherish what’s awesome about this little pocket of the universe, perhaps with these Best Bets:
BEST GET SMART BET: Want to be an astronaut? Check out the options in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — at a STEM Careers Discovery Lab from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Friday at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center.
BEST A LITTLE BIT OF ART BET: Art openings this month feature painting and photography, with the Homer News’ own graphic artist showing his work, “Technological Organica,” at the Homer Council on the Arts. Don’t miss Toby Tyler’s new work at Ptarmigan Arts. For the full list, see page 10.
BEST LET’S GO BET: The annual Homer Council on the Arts Marimba Madness returns this year with local bands Shamwari and Tamba Hadzi, and youth band Vheneka making their premiere at the annual fundraiser. Also performing is visiting Kodiak band Chitsuwa. The evening starts at 6 p.m. Saturday with dinner and the music starts at 7 p.m., all at the Homer Elks Lodge. Admission is $5 for youth, $10 for HCOA members and $15 general.
BEST ON THE ROAD BET: You can catch a few sets of Marimba Madness and still have time to check out acoustic musician Kray Van Kirk, performing at 8 p.m. Saturday at Bunnell Street Arts Center. The Juneau musician wowed them at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
BEST YOU TELL ’EM BET: Citizen government starts at the local level, with hard working advisory committees helping state departments make decisions. Join the process at 6 p.m. Tuesday for the Homer Fish and Game Advisory Committee meeting at the NERRS Building on Kachemak Drive. At 5:30 p.m. Wednesday it’s the Kachemak Bay State Park Advisory Board meeting at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center.