To Space

I don’t understand the technical aspects of thermodynamics. This week will be about astronauts who do. Instead, I look at these laws of physics in a more philosophical way: systems require work.

  • There is nothing that exists without effort.

  • There is nothing that stays without effort either.

During graduate school I worked for AmeriCorps. For one year I tutored, instructed, helped, sorted, screened, and encouraged children to be healthier. In the Appalachian foothills there was a lot of work to do, not for everyone, but always for someone.

I was operated out of a school and in addition to lice and vision screenings, gym classes, role modeling, and after school tutoring, I had to figure out the best way to spend a grant the school got. I was a good person for the job, because I knew everything.

All-knowing, I told my boss that the best use of the grant would be to hire a chef for the school. Besides cooking for students, they could offer classes at night for the parents.

How could I be so wise without knowing the laws of thermodynamics?

My boss, who was very wise, schooled me. This grant needed to be for something permanent. It needed to outlast me, the grant money, and even the interest. It had to be nearly self-sufficient because there might not be any to keep it running. Chefs only work if they get paid. Our solution, outdoor exercise equipment, works forever.

Living in space is like that, only so much more. The upcoming stories from astronauts are helpful because they demonstrate how to keep ‘the top spinning’. Astronauts understand the physical, and philosophical laws of thermodynamics.