Another humbling reminder of the passage of time:
Scott Carpenter, the second man to orbit the Earth, died Thursday.
That means the only living of the orginal Mercury astronauts is John Glenn.
What was unique about Carpenter was he was both an astronaut and aquanaut — a pioneer in both space and sea.
"Curiosity is a thread that goes through all of my activity," he said.
He was also the coolest of the astronauts, unshakeable, ready with a quip. On his first trip into space, a mechanical failure caused him to miss the assigned landing area by 200 miles, scaring a nation. When he was finally found in the Carribbean, he was calmly relaxing in a life raft with his feet plopped on the side, a move that didn't sit well with the rigid and proper military officials.
On completing his first orbit of the Earth, he exclaimed, "Hooray, we're tied with the Soviets."
They may not make pioneers of his kind anymore — or we don't send them into space.