Last week John Glenn died. I didn’t know much about him. I knew the name and knew he was an early astronaut, but not much more than that. What I did not know was that he was a Christian with a strong interest in the environment.
The experience of going into space has affected men and women in different ways. Many of the Apollo astronauts are said to have struggled with the experience. But views such as earth rise from the moon have also made some astronauts much more concerned about the environment. Indeed earth rise from the moon is said to have launched the whole modern environmental movement, although you could have also said this of the book “Silent Spring”. Maybe it was both. I don’t have enough information on whether it was this that made John Glenn concerned about this issue but his obituary says that he was an early exponent of environmentalism who wanted the head of the environmental protection agency to have a seat in the US cabinet.
John Glenn had a fascinating and full life from a decorated fighter pilot in both World war II and the Korean war to Astronaut and democratic senator for 24 years. In 1998 in a move reminiscent of the film “Space Cowboys” (which must have got the idea from this event) he went back into space as crew on the space shuttle. Whilst this was controversial at the time they compared his health data from thirty odd years before.
We need more people of the calibre of John Glenn. All I can say is Godspeed John Glenn you will be missed.