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Astronomy in Art & Architecture: A Spacecraft of Stone — 1 Comment

  1. Gus Grissom was my favorite astronaut growing up, largely as a result of the loss of his Liberty Bell 7 capsule. I felt awful for him. I watched his Mercury launch on live TV during summer vacation between my 3rd and 4th grades. His death in the Apollo 1 fire, along with Ed White and Roger Chafee, was very hard for me. I visited his gravesite at Arlington Cemetery on my 45th birthday. I found a small glass vase with a plastic flower in it, knocked over by the snow or wind, lying on the ground beside his tombstone. The anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire had only been a few weeks prior. I couldn’t help wonder if someone who knew him had put it there then. It was a very poignant moment for me standing it back up. (If anyone reading this would like to visit any astronaut’s grave site at Arlington Cemetery, here’s a map of them: https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/arlington_nasa_burials.pdf)

    I was thrilled when I learned Liberty Bell 7 had been found on the bottom of the ocean floor and would be recovered (which it was in 1999 — this has some photos: http://expeditionwriter.com/the-long-strange-journey-of-liberty-bell-7/ ). It’s now owned by the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, KS, which is where it was restored. I wasn’t able to find where or when it might next be on exhibit. I hope I’ll be able to see it in person someday.

    The name of Grissom’s “Molly Brown” Gemini capsule was familiar to most Americans at the time as a reference to the title of the Debbie Reynolds Oscar-nominated musical, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” that had come out just the year before [according to Wikipedia, a fictionalized account of the Titanic survivor’s life: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Unsinkable_Molly_Brown_(film) ].

    And while i would no doubt also enjoy seeing the Molly Brown in person at the Grissom Memorial, I discovered you can at least take a virtual walk past it, along the Spring Mill State Park trail, on Google Maps Street View: https://goo.gl/maps/PMirwoPTY5do1ZAo7 . Sadly, virtual visits are about all you can do right now.

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