by Michael Cassutt
My name is Alfred Kramer, known for the better part of my life as “Lefty.” I was born April 13, 1920, in Owatonna, Minnesota.
Today is my birthday in 2020, meaning that I’ve reached the unlikely age of one century. I currently live in a geriatric facility in Mesa, Arizona. Though mobility-challenged, I am in decent health, but have learned that my facility is going into lockdown due to a new virus that reminds me of the Spanish Flu that ravaged the country just prior to my birth.
My father died when I was three. My mother, who had attended a teacher’s college prior to marrying him, went to work in a local elementary school.
Aside from the loss of my father, I had an unremarkable childhood. There was always food on the table. My mother always had a position. I was cared for by my grandparents until I was fourteen and entered high school.
I was an above average student, though never much of a reader (something I rectified in adulthood). READ MORE
by Jerry Oltion
The mood in the control room was tense. When everything depends on the next hour or so, people grow quiet and focused. In a little less than an hour, the DART spacecraft would arrive at the asteroid Didymos, and all their effort would go out in a final blaze of glory.
Priya Joshi and her partner in crime—and in practically everything else—Mark Anderson, shared a monitor at the end of the back row. They weren’t directly part of the mission, but as astronauts with extensive EVA training and experience navigating spacecraft, they were there to observe and learn and help if they could. Plus Priya was on NASA’s asteroid exploration team, an as-yet theoretical sub-group of astronauts who might someday actually venture out to one of the Solar System’s flying rocks, and this was her chance to see one up close. Really close. READ MORE