Today marks the 50th anniversary of the first man in space. The Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was propelled into orbit inside Vostok 1 on a 108 minute flight around the Earth on April 12th, 1961. He reached a height of 203 miles and set a new speed record of 17,025 miles per hour, proving that a human could endure the test of lift-off, re-entry, and weightlessness. His journey also propelled America to play catch up in the space race throughout the 1960s, culminating in the first man on the moon in 1969.
I've always wondered what it must be like to view the Earth from space. To be the pioneer must have been both extremely brave and utterly mind-blowing! Let's hope those Virgin Galactic flights come down a bit!
[pullquote author="Yuri Gagarin"]"What beauty. I saw clouds and their light shadows on the distant dear earth . . .. The water looked like darkish, slightly gleaming spots . . .. When I watched the horizon, I saw the abrupt, contrasting transition from the earth's light-colored surface to the absolutely black sky. I enjoyed the rich color spectrum of the earth. It is surrounded by a light blue aureole that gradually darkens, becoming turquoise, dark blue, violet, and finally coal black."[/pullquote]
[pullquote author="Yuri Gagarin"]"I could have gone on flying through space forever"[/pullquote]
A month on, and the devastation caused by the Japan tsunami and earthquake is still impossible to comprehend. With tens of thousands still missing, Jake Price has sent this haunting black & white photo report from Natori, one of the worst affected areas. Via BBC News.
I'm always up for new culinary experiences so when a pack of Moon Cakes came into the production department today thought I would give one a go. Eaten to celebrate the Chinese lunar festival of Zhongqiu, the packet looked quite enticing, and the confection contained inside rather pretty. Though I have to say I was a little alarmed by the line "With Advanced Technology" - in a cake?! First bite was very dense and sweet, the second incredibly salty. Thought I'd look up the things to see what they might contain....as well as bean or lotus seed paste, they also harbour a salted preserved duck egg (the yellow bit in the 3rd photo). Whilst I can fully appreciate this is a fine delicacy in China and other Asian countries it's not really to my taste. A well known encyclopedic source also told me: "Fillings in contemporary style mooncakes has diversified to include just about anything which can be made into a paste". Really hoping mine was traditional. Feeling a little queasy as I write this - shame for it to go to waste but also perhaps also to run to the toilet to be sick on a Monday....