We live in a pioneering age, when the very idea of the final frontier is no longer a distant wish but something that we will physically begin to explore in the lifetime of the child just born a few moments ago. It’s a shame that I will not live long enough to see where we take it.
I have always been fascinated with space, not simply because of the untold possibilities it holds but also because of the emptiness. It is infinite, at least as far as the human mind can conceive, and yet we put such limitations on it in order to quantify it so it makes sense to us. The idea that you can get lost, truly lost, in that great expanse is a source of… inspiration. One wrong push… and you are gone… forever. The finality of it is intriguing.
I realize that sounds a bit morbid. I understand that and I don’t shy from it. Perhaps it is depressing to think of the finality of space, the idea of being completely gone with no way to ever come back, completely lost with no way to ever find your way home, as a source of inspiration, but it can help mold your humanity as well. It can make you a better person when you begin to realize just how small we truly are and how important treating each other and our planet with respect really is.
I haven’t had a chance to read it but I heard that the book “Pale Blue Dot” by Carl Sagan really puts some things about our world into perspective. I’ve seen the photo that inspired the book and I can see how it would do that. This planet is all we have. All. We. Have. If we were destroyed right now, whether by killing each other or the Sun deciding that it wanted to go super nova right this second, there is nowhere we could go and no one that could help us. No one. We would be gone and all of our cultures, our art, our politics, religions, languages, conflicts, and worries would be gone with it. We are meaningless. This is the most sobering thought I’ve had in a long time…
This is why space excites me and why being in this pioneering age is both a source of elation and frustration. My grandchildren will one day go into that great beyond and see things I only dream of. They may one day see Saturn’s rings… they may one day know what our own galaxy truly holds within its core. I, on the other hand, will not. I will only see pictures. I will only dream. It will always be my final frontier.