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.



Just Posted

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Fact-check pipe dream

We deserve more transparency now that Trans Mountain is in public hands, says letter writer

Eight displaced after fire last night in Nanaimo’s south end

Nanaimo Fire Rescue responds to fires on Strickland Street and old Jolly Miner pub

‘A really kind person:’ Parksville’s Nick Major remembered by instructor

Outpouring of support in the days following death of young man after infection from rabies

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Housing and opioid crises the real threats

Letter writer shocked that someone could blame vulnerable citizens for Nanaimo’s tarnished image

Nanaimo baseball stadium lighting project costs increasing by $350,000

Finance committee recommends LED lights at Serauxmen Stadium

Sailpast on Wheels Parade recognizes driving forces of Nanaimo bathtub race

Margaret Johnson and Bill McGuire honoured at 2019 event

World’s fastest bathtub racer to be determined this weekend in Nanaimo

Great International World Championship Bathtub Race caps full weekend of downtown events

Nanaimo-Opoly will let board game players deal Harbour City properties

Victoria’s Outset Media and Walmart Canada partner on local edition of popular game

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Most Read