atom! Bear Creek Road atom!
Bear Creek Road runs up from the Clinch River and the old Solway Bridge along the valley, out past Haw Ridge, where the plants are, eventually running into Highway 95 out east of Knoxville. A good road, though hardly a straight one, Bear Creek carries a lot of traffic. Deer frequent the road, far too often for their health or the drivers', especially in the early hours and the twilight ones when the shifts are changing and the volume of traffic is four or five times heavier than other times.
Bear Creek is the site of high-intensity work, fences and guards and places where your dad worked and couldn't tell you what he did. Places where they won The War.

On this page, you'll find projects that I consider high intensity, though they'll change from time to time.

I was about to move all this and start up something on Evolution and ID - but I'm putting that in Emory Valley instead. Check it out.

"Keeping the Dream"

Now it's seventeen, the astronauts the US Space Program has lost. The total of those who've died from Earth to take us out of the cradle into the Universe is much higher. The Russians have lost ten cosmonauts of their own, plus over fifty ground personnel in accidents such as our program was fortunate to miss.

Is it worth it?


At this moment, we still have three people* in space: Expedition Six on the International Space Station—Commander Ken Bowersox, science officer Don Pettit and Russian Soyuz commander Nikolai Budarin, who replaced Expedition Five (Valery Korzun, Peggy Whitson, and Sergei Treschev). Men and women of several nations, of one planet, are still working to build our home in space, the best chance of immortality our species has.

The Columbia crew knew the risks. They thought it was worth it.

More Than Stars in Their Eyes

* That was true in February, when this page was made. At this moment (October) there are two people in space: Expedition Seven—Yuri Malenchenko of Russia and Edward Lu of the US. They went up on a Soyuz-TMA, TMA-2 in fact, and Expedition Six came home on Soyuz-TMA-1. There was a navigational glitch, but they got home (Kazakhstan... Earth) just fine. The Russians are keeping the ISS supplied with Progresses... They're doing their part to keep the dream alive. We must all do ours as well.**

** Expedition Ten is up at the moment (January 1, 2005). They've just been resupplied by a Progress - got their Christmas and New Year's presents, too.

And the Chinese are going up now, as well. Here's a little bit about what Michael Foale (Expedition Eight's commander) thinks about that: "Welcome Aboard!"

For some prosaic and practical reasons why it's worth it, check here: Top Ten Reasons to Inhabit Outer Space

For a more lyrical and philosphical answer to "why go?", check Ray Bradbury's view.

Feb. 4th, 2003: At the dawn of the space age some 40 years ago, we always knew who was orbiting Earth or flying to the Moon. Neil Armstrong, Yuri Gagarin, John Glenn. They were household names--everywhere.

Lately it’s different. Space flight has become more “routine.” Another flight of the shuttle. Another visit to the space station. Who’s onboard this time? Unless you’re a NASA employee or a serious space enthusiast, you might not know.

Dave Brown, Rick Husband, Laurel Clark, Kalpana Chawla, Michael Anderson, William McCool, and Ilan Ramon

Now we know. Those are the names of the seven astronauts who were tragically lost on Saturday, Feb. 1st, when the space shuttle Columbia (STS-107) broke apart over Texas.

Before the accident, perhaps, they were strangers to you. But if that's so, why did you have a knot in your gut when you heard the news? What were those tears all about? Why do you feel so deep-down sad for seven strangers?

Astronauts have an unaccountable hold on us. They are explorers. Curious, humorous, serious, daring, careful. Where they go, they go in peace. Every kid wants to be one. Astronauts are the essence of humanity.

They are not strangers. They are us.

While still in orbit Dave Brown asked, jokingly, “do we really have to come back?”

No. But we wish you had.

The Science@NASA team, as does all of NASA and the world, extends heartfelt sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of the STS-107 crew. Please see the NASA Home Page ( for more information on the Columbia Investigation.

--Tony Phillips, Ron Koczor, Bryan Walls, Becky Bray, Patrick Meyer.

If you want to know more about these seven, here's a link to Columbia Crew Biographies

If you want to go through the mission, here's a link to Space.Com's STS107 Archive of stories, pictures, film, and interviews.

Here's my favorite story: "Columbia Astronauts Find Small Miracles of Life and Light"

Here's my page on Mir, our first home away from home.

Here's Expedition Twelve- Michael Lopez-Alegria, Mikhail Tyurin, Sunita Williams, Thomas Reiter - up there right now. Reiter (a German) stayed on from Expedition 13, just as Williams will be staying on for Expedition 15.
Here's Expedition Thirteen- Pavel Vinogradov, Jeffrey Williams, Thomas Reiter.
Here's Expedition Twelve- Bill McArthur and Valery Tokarev, up there now.
Here's Expedition Eleven - Sergei Krikalev and John Phillips, who came home in October. Krikalev, by the way, set a series of spaceflight records during Expedition 11, among them becoming the first Russian cosmonaut to fly six missions, the first astronaut to visit the ISS three times and – at the end of this flight – the all-time high for time spent in space (800 days) - in large part due to being the guy who was in orbit when the Soviet Union fell apart.
Here's Expedition Ten - Leroy Chiao and Salizhan Sharipov.
Here's Expedition Nine: Michael Fincke and Gennady Padalka.
Here's Expedition Eight: Alexander Kaleri and Michael Foale.
Here's Expedition Seven, the first two-man crew: Yuri Malenchenko and Edward Lu.
Here's Expedition Six, the crew who were up when Columbia died: Ken Bowersox, Don Pettit, and Nikolai Budarin, .
Here's Expedition Five, the crew who had just come home: Valery Korzun, Peggy Whitson, and Sergei Treschev.
Here's Expedition Four: Valery Korzun, Peggy Whitson, and Sergei Treschev.
Here's Expedition Three: Frank Culbertson, Vladimir Dezhurov, and Mikhail Turin.
Here's Expedition Two: Yuri Usachev, Susan Helms, and Jim Voss..
Here's Expedition One, the crew who was there first: Bill Shepherd, Sergei Krikalev, and Yuri Gidzenko.


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  Greenbelt | Emory Valley | Pellissippi Parkway
Bear Creek Road | Key Springs Road | Snapping Turtle Pond