Above and Beyond

by wjw on May 23, 2012

Here we see astronaut Mike Fincke pointing out some of the features of the moon suit on display at the Air & Space Museum on the Washington Mall.

Mike didn’t have to do this.  He and I were asked to guide a tour after the Nebula Weekend organizers were unable to find a docent able to take a party around on Friday afternoon.  And whereas my contributions were along the lines of, “Oh look, it’s Skylab!  Oh look, it’s a Ford Tri-Motor!”, Mike’s talks were informed by his knowledge of aerospace history and the fact that he’s actually worn one of these suits, along with the Russian moon suit parked in the glass case next to this one.

Mike did a lot of things over the Nebula Weekend that he didn’t have to do. (Hanging out with writers, for one thing.)  Attending the programming.  Being mobbed by fans at the room parties.

Among other things, he was cleverly studying his audience. Because when the time came to deliver his speech, it was pitched right between our eyes.  It was funny, it was informative, and it was inspiring.  I saw tears in people’s eyes.

Yes, he was that good.

While Mike and I have been in touch for a few years now, and while I had the pleasure of meeting his family last year prior to the Endeavor launch, I’d never actually met Mike in person before last week.

So yeah, he’s about as cool as we all suspected.

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