American astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken (and one sparkly dinosaur) made history this weekend. They docked with and entered the International Space Station on Sunday, May 31, after launching from Florida aboard the SpaceX Dragon capsule the day before.
This was the first time that a private US company launched astronauts into orbit. It’s a milestone. People are lauding it as a new era of space travel. And the reactions to the launch online have been both hilarious and wholesome. Scroll down for Bored Panda’s interview about the launch and the future of space exploration with Wojdas from the SpaceX Memes Facebook page. And don't forget to upvote your fave pictures!
Actor Andy Milonakis’ tweet about how the astronauts who left Earth made a good choice has gone insanely viral. It got over 3.6 million likes (and counting), 796k retweets, and got over 69.6 million impressions. It’s also now the third most-liked tweet of all time (former President of the US Barack Obama’s tweets are sitting at the top two spots). Read on for Bored Panda's interview with Andy, too.
Andy told Bored Panda that he felt it was a pretty timely tweet and guessed that it might get around 2k likes.
"It’s insane how much it blew up," he said.
"I think it’s definitely a historic moment and I love learning about all things outer space, astronomy, etc. but sometimes I think about the money spent and how it could go towards the people in need on our planet and I always get a torn feeling about it. I’m most interested in the possible colonization on Mars and also learning more about black holes."
Milonakis said that he’s been overwhelmed by the amount of attention that his tweet has gotten. He also shared that he went on a guided tour of SpaceX a few years back: “It was like the Willy Wonka's Chocolate factory but for space geeks. Amazing.”
According to Wojdas from SpaceX Memes, it was ‘inevitable’ that memes and jokes would start popping up after the launch because the founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk, is involved.
“Also, I find memes as great contributors to science popularization as it will reach many young humans. And even if it inspires only a few of them to be involved in science or study engineering, I would consider it as a win!” she said about the power that jokes have in making science popular.
According to Wojdas, the SpaceX launch was definitely a historic moment. “This is the first time in history when a commercial vehicle launched humans to ISS. Such accomplishment brings excitement and joy back to humans, which is very important for future missions to the Moon and perhaps Mars,” she said.
“Many humans turn their heads back towards the sky, dreaming of space exploration. Our usual traveling via planes became something ordinary and dull. The next step would be space tourism to the lower orbit. It would also help to finance the more important missions such as a Moon base and later a Mars base.”
Wojdas from SpaceX Memes added that humankind has to go to space and create colonies in order to evolve as a species. “There are so many resources out there, we just need to grab them. E.g. Asteroid 433 Eros is known for huge deposits of gold and platinum (10,000–100,000x more than mined on Earth so far). Space is hard, but if we work together, we can accomplish anything.”
This was the first time that a US spacecraft has docked with the ISS since July 2011. The ISS was traveling at 17.5k miles per hour (that’s nearly 28.2k kilometers per hour) as the Dragon capsule attached to it.
A lot of people got emotional after the launch as they realized what this could mean for the future of humanity. Founder of SpaceX, eccentric billionaire Musk, actually broke down in tears during a press conference after the launch on Saturday. After all, we’re entering a new chapter of space exploration. Speaking of new possibilities, astronaut Hurley hinted at… Mars!
“It’s been a real honor to be a small part of this nine-year endeavor since the last time a United States spaceship has docked with the ISS,” Hurley said. “This is an incredible time to be at Nasa… new vehicles to be flown, continuing missions in lower earth orbit and then to the moon and Mars.”
The astronauts named the Dragon ship “Endeavour,” as part of a long-held tradition for travelers to space to choose the names of their spaceships. Hurley and Behnken will spend up to 4 months on the ISS while SpaceX engineers analyze the spaceship’s performance.