Man's Quest For "Wings"

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Ever since the Wright brothers invented the first airplane, humanity's exploration of the skies and beyond never ceased. Are we destined to becoming a multi-planetary species?

Created by STORIES OF ERNE™ on February 23, 2023

Doorway to a Technological Extravaganza

Welcome to the National Air and Space Museum! Situated in the North American capital of Washington D.C., this spectacular landmark is astounding evidence of humanity's never-ending crusade to conquer the heavens. Get ready as I walk you thru the various exhibits that celebrate the unprecedented milestones of air and space expeditions. Follow me!

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Exterior Facade of National Air and Space Museum (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

As I stepped inside this incredible institution, it was like entering a science laboratory but on a more humungous scale! As far as my eyes could see, there were dozens of collections of airplanes, jets, military equipment, drones, rockets, satellites, and space vehicles. Because I was and still am a die-hard enthusiast of aviation and space technologies, my jaw dropped immediately as these shiny, metallic objects lured me deeper into the different exhibition halls. A sensual feast was about to begin!

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Airplance for Private Use (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

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I could hear the exciting voices of museum-goers buzzing around. People from all walks of life were present, from solo visitors, couples, families, foreign tourists, school children organized as field trips, and obviously, techno geeks like me. Can you blame me? Lol. 🤣


Exhibition of Airplanes and Aerial Vehicles

Our first stop was a special department dedicated to airplanes and related flying machines. You could witness planes from World Wars I and II, modern military and commercial aircraft, seaplanes, experimental concepts, and those intended for private use.

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Exhibition of Various Aircraft (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

Most of these gigantic paraphernalia were suspended from the building's ceiling with invisibly thin cables that they seem to float, hover, and fly. Moreover, apart from the sufficient interior lighting, they were also well-brightened by the full-height glass windows and overhead skylights that provided ample illumination on the eye-catching exhibits. Isn't that mind-blowing?

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Exhibition of Various Aircraft (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

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Hence, I had to stare up most of the time and ensured that my neck wouldn't stiffen early to survive the rest of the tour. The items on display were absolutely irresistible that it was almost impossible to look down.

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Collection of Military Airplanes (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

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Experimental High-Powered Jet (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

I was particularly fascinated by those advanced aircraft recognized internationally for their record-high altitude, stealth capabilities, and lightning acceleration. As I studied them up close and personal, I couldn't avoid scratching my head imagining how in the world could a piece of metal defy the laws of nature by traveling faster than the speed of sound!

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Close-up of Airplane Motor Engine (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

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Pilot Cockpit of Aircraft (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

This museum also treated us to never-before-seen perspectives of airplane engines and pilot cockpits revealing their inner mechanisms, apparatus, controls, and overall design. As complicated as they were, I could only admire in awe the countless hours of work involved in achieving such a marvelous feat. Kudos to our scientists, engineers, and inventors!

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Scaled Model of Seaplane (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

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Scaled Model of Seaplane (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

Aside from life-size aircraft, there were likewise scaled model planes that were so realistic I thought they were the real thing. Well, if you glance at their photos, you'll have the impression that they're standard dimensions, literally. Do you think so?

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Advanced Military Drone (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

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Advanced Military Drone (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

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Scaled Model of Aircraft Carrier (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

The last batch of exhibits for the airplane area were interesting types of military drones. These state-of-the-art units were unmanned aerial vehicles, and were specifically deployed for warfare and surveillance, all from the comfort of remote-controlled devices. How impressive is that, right?

Unconsciously, I must have drowned with the staggering amount of technological gadgetry that had flooded me here. However, nothing prepared me for the upcoming section exhibiting more sophisticated science. It was high time to access the space realm!


Colonization of Space and the Cosmos

This was my first actual experience of real physical rockets and related equipment at close range. I admit that I became a child again, starting from square one to absorb all the novel information that was presented in front of me.

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Space Rocket Boosters (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

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Rockets, Lunar Modules, and Space Capsules (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

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Lunar Modules and Space Capsules (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

With no idea about the space industry and its respective sectors, I had to unlearn everything from science books in school and stand clueless before these mentally overwhelming inventions.

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Moon Landing Vehicle (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

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Moon Landing Vehicle (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

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Moon Landing Vehicle (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

These rocket boosters, lunar modules, space capsules, and land-based transportation systems were said to be used on the first moon landing. Therefore, I couldn’t help but read all the interesting facts written on their corresponding signage. I was obviously hungry to know more! Aren't these innovative space vehicles fascinating? Like me, do these incredible inventions arouse your curiosity?

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Earth-Hovering Satellite (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

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And to add to my escalating thrill, right beside them were Earth-hovering satellites! At first glance, I thought they were toys due to their small nature, but then I realized that they also had large counterparts, depending on their primary mission. As sophisticated as they were, I learned that these planetary devices cost millions if not billions of U.S. dollars to produce, operate, and maintain.

Earth-Hovering Satellite (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

This ended my personal discovery and investigation of this distinguished museum. And although I already had some fundamental ideas of the sophisticated technologies implemented here, the knowledge gained was not enough because I believe science will always be a never-ending process of evolution. If we stop learning, we also terminate growth!


The Future of Flight and Celestial Travel

What have I learned so far?

I think we're still on the early phases of space conquest. However, we are already on the forefront of space tourism. Big players like Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos of Blue Origin have been offering courageous and extremely wealthy individuals who can afford the ridiculously expensive ride, the rare chance to experience space for a few minutes. Would you dare and try this unique adventure if you had the money?

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Space Rocket Booster and Capsule (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

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Space Rocket Booster and Capsule (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

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Space Rocket Booster Engine (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

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Space Module Toilet Technology (Photo: © 2023 storiesoferne)

Furthermore, with the likes of extraordinary visionaries like Elon Musk, the big dream of colonizing Mars and humans evolving into an inter-planetary civilization might still remain controversial. On the contrary, with his revolutionary company called SpaceX and other supporting ventures that tirelessly continue to challenge the enormous difficulties of space exploration, perhaps these imagined realities are closer than you think.

Could we finally say that man has achieved his "Wings"? Only time will tell.

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Meet the Author

ERNE is an Architect, Environmentalist, and Adventurer. On the Hive Blockchain, he is the Creator of the Architecture+Design Community. If you are passionate about architecture, the natural environment, and global travel, feel free to connect with him. He will gladly welcome you into his world.

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