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All posts for the month June, 2006

What’s the cat constellation? Lynx? Leo Major? Leo Minor? All three actually, giving the cat family some permanence among the stars. So, in honor of cats in space, I present the space cats here at thespacewriter.com in honor of Friday Cat Blogging!

Pixel, named for the Cat Who Walked Through Walls

Pixel, named for the Cat Who Walked Through Walls

I have this theory that cats will rule the spaceways someday. They seem made for space travel, as long as you make sure there’s enough cat food (and, of course, a sandbox) for their needs. Those are things I thought about when I wrote Larry Cat In Space (one of the most popular planetarium shows I’ve done 28-plus years of doing this). We got the cat some food for his journey, but sort of forgot about the sandbox. Next time we’ll do better!

Anyway, here’s to the Friday Cats!

Lazarus Long, Laz for short. Named for a famous Heinlein character.

Lazarus Long, "Laz" for short. Named for a famous Heinlein character.

Miranda, named after a moon of Uranus

Miranda, named after a moon of Uranus

I was going through my filing cabinets recently and found a series of letters I got back in the late 1980s from a young woman in Zimbabwe. I’m not sure how she found me, but she wrote to ask me how she could become an astronaut. All her life, she wrote, she loved the stars. She used to go out and make up her own constellations, in addition to the stories her people (the Shona) told about the stars. Once she even sent me several pages of drawings she made of the night sky, the stars all connected with lines to show me her constellations.

I sent her some astronomy books and encouraged her to keep studying science as long as she could. She didn’t have a lot of hope that she’d be allowed to study astronomy since her country needed doctors and computer programmers and more “practical” scientists before it needed astronomers. Eventually we lost track of each other, and in the years since, Zimbabwe has fallen onto very hard times under its current government. So, I don’t know what happened to my friend. I hope that she has been able to persevere and study science, and that she looks out at the stars and still does her astronomy. And, now that I think about her again, I’m going to do a little searching out of Shona and Zimbabwean understanding of the stars and the cosmos.