Tradition tells us that the full moon was known in Scotland as “Macfarlane’s Lantern”, in reference to Clan Macfarlane’s skills as cattle rustlers. However in July, 1969, another well-known reiving family temporarily claimed the “lantern” by landing a man on it: the Armstrongs.
As with many other areas of society, the Scots have left their mark on manned spaceflight since its beginnings in the 1960s. The following article will hopefully pay a fitting tribute to that legacy of those descendants of Highlanders and border reivers who “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to explore outer space.
Besides tartan, a copy of the works of Robert Burns has also flown in Space. In November, 2009 British astronaut Nick Patrick was given a miniature copy of the works of Burns by students from the Scottish Space School at the University of Strathclyde who were visiting the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Patrick carried the wee book (along with a fragment of Jean Armour’s wedding dress) with him aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor in February, 2010 as part of a two-week mission to the International Space Station. Patrick gave the book to First Minister Alex Salmond at Holyrood in June 2010. The book is now on display at the Burns Museum in Alloway.
Bean, Alan. Phone interview. 12 May 2008.
The author would especially to thank Captain Alan Bean, Eric Jones, Colonel Jerry Ross, George Ross of the Clan Ross (Netherlands) and Charles Ross, President of the Clan Ross Society USA for their assistance in writing this article.
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---. “Clan MacBean’s Moon Tartan”. Accessed May 12, 2008. http://www.clanmacbean.net/moon.htm.
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Ross, George, and David Ross. "Ross tartans in space." Clan Ross (Netherlands). Accessed July 14, 2011.http://www.clan-ross.nl/ross-tartans-in-space/ross-tartans-in-space.htm#top <http://www.clan-ross.nl/ross-tartans-in-space/ross-tartans-in-space.htm
Ross, Jerry. E-mail to the author. August 2, 2011.
Ross, Peter. "Touch the sky: 40 years of space travel." The Scotsman, June 7, 2009. Accessed July 14, 2011.http://news.scotsman.com/spacescience/Touch-the-sky-40-years.5339534.jp
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University of Strathclyde. “Astronaut lands in Strathclyde to receive honorary degree”. Accessed August 5, 2011. http://www.strath.ac.uk/features/archive/universityday/
University of Strathclyde Engineering. "Burns in Space." Accessed July 14, 2011.http://www.strath.ac.uk/eee/undergraduatecourses/admissionsevents/outreachactivitiesforschoolpupils/burnsinspace/
Wilson, Stuart. "Book of Burns poetry orbits the world." Ayrshire Post, July 9, 2010. Accessed July 14, 2011.http://www.ayrshirepost.net/ayrshire-news/local-news-ayrshire/ayr-news/2010/07/09/book-of-burns-poetry-orbits-the-world-102545-26799114/
Bean, Alan. Phone interview. 12 May 2008.
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