Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Beyond the Blue Horizon

Voyager May Be at End of Solar System

Can you believe it?

I can't really convey the awe I feel, the vastness of the incredulity I experience when pondering this event. The record, that golden record with the message sent to the universe, is heading out there. Such a tiny thing to be sent as envoy.

I keep thinking "Science Fiction". I recall the thrill of the Enterprise traveling through space (despite the corniness, despite the dated production values. I think of every book I've read where man seeks to know the larger reality.

I hope we don't lose that desire to reach beyond. I hope that other, better probes will be launched and children of the future will think "Wow, they just picked up the latest signal from beyond the galaxy."

Yes, I know. "We should spend that money and effort on our earthly problems! It's a waste! It's not doing any good."

But it is. Our entire human history has been based around some portion of us reaching into the unknown. We've dreamed, lived, and died seeking to know what lay beyond the horizon, under the earth and sea, beyond the visible sky. When we turn our attentions outward, we aren't shooting each other. We think the high minded thoughts of "how can what we learn be used to help?" I think it can be argued that space exploration has done a great deal to provide solutions for many of the problems we face on our planet -- and so many of those problems are more about how we treat each other, not about whether we seek to better understand our world. There's no amount of money we can spend that will make one group of people cease to hate, fear or persecute another.

And the answers may well be out there, somewhere.

No comments: