But nothing can compare to last night. I'd planned to watch LCROSS crash into the moon by myself, as we have NASA TV here and, frankly, it was awfully early in the morning for this night owl. I'd planned to sleep and my partner promised to wake me up early enough to catch the launch. Then I went on Twitter for what was supposed to be one last time and all thoughts of sleep went away very quickly as I found out a bunch of people were planning to stay up all night.
We started a chat room hours before the impact was scheduled and made sport of looking at the NASA, LCROSS, and Moon trending topics and sharing the wackiest comments by the sort we dubbed "the zombie people." I would mention their insane thoughts except they've already given voice to them far too much (and many other blogs have covered them). The point is, here were a bunch of smart, funny, like-minded people who decided that it would be more fun to laugh at these insane notions than to cry over them, even though I think we all had a few choked up moments. Gagging moments may be more like it, come to think of it.
As the hours wound down the conversation slowed while we got sucked into the various broadcasts. When the plume we were told to expect failed to occur we experienced an even more special moment, disappointed there wasn't more of a show to watch but excited we had shared in history, made all the sweeter by sharing it with enthusiasts all over the world.
I haven't had so much fun staying up all night in a long time!
None of it would have happened without Twitter or the Space Tweep Society. They've brought together everyone from professionals to people like me, who love the space program simply as citizens. If you support the space program and astronomy in general, please join up! If I learned anything from last night it's that we need to band together if we have any hope of enlightening others to the value of science and study. I don't know if we can reach the zombie people, but let's at least try to get everyone else!