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November 24th, 2008
08:12 AM ET

Rocketting through space – and time

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/TECH/space/11/14/shuttle.endeavor/art.endeavour.gi.jpg caption="Space shuttle Endeavour lifted off at 7:55 p.m. ET last Friday, en route to the international space station."]
Dave Schechter
CNN Senior National Editor

A former colleague once lamented that – contrary to the expectations of our early 1960s childhood – space travel for the average American man and woman would not be realized in our lifetimes. Fewer than 500 humans have soared beyond Earth’s grasp; military test pilots, specially-trained astronauts and, more recently, a handful of wealthy people who have paid for passage aboard a Russian craft.

I thought of this tonight as I stood in my driveway and stared into the evening darkness. At 6.13 p.m., as forecasted, a bright light traveled from southwest to northeast, emerging above the trees across the street and passing overhead until its disappeared through trees behind the house. It had the look of a star and cruised at an altitude well beyond that of anairliner.

I craned my neck to follow the space shuttle Endeavour, gradually turning my body 180 degrees. I marveled at this rare sight with the kind of uninhibited emotion (“that’s really neat”) you give up passing from childhood into adolescence and then adulthood. Today, with satellites beaming live signals of the world to itself (including from the shuttle, thanks to the NASA channel), it is easy to lose the wonder of seeing something with your own eyes.

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Filed under: David Schechter • NASA • Raw Politics • Space
October 13th, 2008
11:18 AM ET

Stephen Hawking: "I see great dangers for the human race"

CNN's Becky Anderson holds an exclusive interview with scientist Stephen Hawking on his views of the world.
CNN's Becky Anderson holds an exclusive interview with scientist Stephen Hawking on his views of the world.

Becky Anderson | BIO
CNN International anchor

This was one of those moments in any journalist’s career when you realize just how lucky you are to do your job. What wouldn’t anyone give to get the chance to interview Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein? Professor Stephen Hawking is arguably our generation’s most important scientist and this was my Eureka moment.

Aside from the rather vacuous fact that I’d get a chance to get my photo taken with this great man, getting to spend time in the presence of such a brilliant thinker was one of those rare opportunities in life when u sit back and think… wow.

He first achieved international fame with the publication of the scientific bestseller “A Brief History of Time 2 decades ago.

I have to admit that it’s not easy to sit down with a man whose only means of communication is a sort of vague blinking of the eye. It’s with a slight muscle twitch that he activates his voice synthesizer rigged up to a computer that’s pre-loaded with the answers to my submitted questions. He is disabled by a condition that has left him almost completely paralyzed.

It was a humbling experience. And a real learning experience in life for me.

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Filed under: Becky Anderson • Space • Stephen Hawking
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