ElderCollege looks at the space race

Who would have thought a lady of my certain age would actually be interested in the space race?

  • Oct. 6, 2011 12:00 p.m.

By Marlene Robertson

Who would have thought a lady of my certain age would actually be interested in the space race?

The planets yes – that’s fascinating stuff. The night sky? Definitely. What could be more beautiful than those twinkling stars?

But the space race? Not likely.

Of course, that was before I attended the first ElderCollege pilot outreach program, in Parksville. Instructor David Prud’homme did a ‘teaser’ presentation of Introduction to the Night Skies, which included the solar system and a tour of the planets, and constellations and their hidden treasures.

It was fun, as well as informative –  reminding me of eons ago when our family would lie on Cherry Point Beach after dark trying to find the Bear, the Big and Little Dippers, the North Star and so on. Those were the days.

By now you’re probably asking what the space race has to do with all of this? It turns out Prud’homme is a space junkie, which, may I point out, is much different from space junk.

Most of us saw history in the making with Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon. It certainly put the U.S. in the top-dog category – although my father-in-law, who came to Saskatchewan in an ox cart and spent his first winter in a sod shack, was totally convinced it was all staged in some Hollywood studio.

Meanwhile, our instructor has collected pretty much every book, paper and bit of trivia connected in any remote way to the space race.

His take on the propaganda wars between the U.S. and Soviet Union left me wondering when they actually found time to send men to space.

One-upmanship was the name of the game, but the fact they actually put men and animals into space at all, with the technology available at the time, is rather mind-boggling.

I know I’m going to sign up for Introduction to the Night Skies the next time it’s offered by ElderCollege. And when I have that under my belt, I’m zipping up my space suit and going to explore the universe with a class of like-minded people, to find out more about the space race and see for myself whether or not there is life out there.

After that, my biggest problem will be to make up my mind about the dozens of other courses offered.

The great news this year, besides the outreach programs, is that you can now join ElderCollege if you’re 50 or over.  Memberships are totally affordable at $15 per person, and if your spouse or partner is younger, he/she is eligible for membership.

Join today and come explore with me.

For more information, please call 1-866-734-6252 or e-mail us at pqcampus@viu.ca.



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