COLUMN: Observation, and a prayer for the future

The human race is a lot better off when our minds come together to create something that can benefit us all.

Want our country to get back to the Moon? Saturday was the first step.

Want to go to Mars to explore and possibly even live there? Saturday was the first step.

The small steps almost always precede the big steps. It's the way science works. After all, we don't want to throw 500 people on a rocket to Mars with an engine that's never been tested.

The Falcon 9 rocket won't be taking large groups of humans to Mars -- that's being tasked to the Starship project. But it is a demonstration of several things -- the private sector and government working together, yes, but also our ingenuity and drive to touch nearby worlds.

For a few moments on Saturday, it looked like at least a good chunk of the Twitter world paused to watch the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket, with SpaceX's dragon capsule taking two Americans to the International Space Station. It was a thrilling several minutes, even though we had gone through the same thing just a few days before. The weather didn't cooperate on Thursday, and for a little while it looked like the same situation would befall NASA and SpaceX on Saturday. From personal experience, Florida weather is very tricky. It always seems like a thunderstorm is building somewhere nearby and could move overhead at any moment.

Not only is NASA concerned with the weather over Cape Canaveral, it also has to keep an eye out for weather conditions in the mission's abort zones, should something go wrong.

But, thankfully, the launch was deemed ready to go, and the entire process seemed to go off without a hitch.

The Falcon 9 launched at precisely 2:22 p.m., the rocket thundering through the Florida air and reaching orbit within minutes. Within that time, the Falcon 9 detached from the capsule and guided itself back down to Earth, landing on a pad floating in he ocean.

On Sunday, astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Furley successfully docked with the International Space Station.

NASA/SpaceX aren't out of the woods yet, though. Months from now they will have to safely land the crew back on Earth, and it's only then that we can truly celebrate.

For now, though, we should appreciate the feat as one of humanity's most exciting accomplishments all year.

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Malan is entertainment editor and astronomy columnist for the News & Eagle.

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Entertainment Editor | Copy Editor | Astronomy Writer

Hi, I'm Joe. I've been with the Enid News & Eagle since June 2009. I design many of the pages you see each week in your newspaper. I love writing and talking about space, and I love listening to and writing about music as well.

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