Just read this article on New Horizons’ fly by of Pluto and the problems that were solved while the probe was millions of miles away. Amazing to think we can do that now. Solve problems without even being there. Send out probes that will never return, for the sole purpose of flying through the universe that, almost certainly, none of us will ever see with our own eyes. I’ve been so excited seeing the pictures New Horizons is sending back all over my Twitter feed.
Sometimes I think the technologically advanced world we live in does contribute to a sense of being weary with it all. We get tired and jaded and think, ‘Damn. I guess my phone is obsolete again. Have to get a new one.’ We read the science news and hear about new developments and it goes right over our heads because life goes on, right? I mean, are we supposed to care about such things when you have to get up, get to work, get on with it, no matter what?
And what about the world itself? Wars and hunger and collapsing economies and murders and politicians we hate and celebrities we wish would shut up…it never ends. We want to hide out from the never-ending news cycle. The barrage of negativity. The sense that no matter how right things might be with you at any given moment (which almost never happens, if you ask anyone), things will never be right with this crazy world.
The world is more than human society.
It’s also clouds and oceans and mountains and space and a tiny Earth-born machine talking to itself–talking to us– as it trundles along on an arid landscape, millions of miles away.
When I get tired of the unrelenting, constantly judging, prattling heads on TV, I check out my science news pages, and I never fail to be inspired. The idea that no matter what goes wrong with me or the world today, our flawed species has managed to send out the most hardy of ambassadors, complex machines that have done so much more than we hoped, against all odds, and that are sending back information, right now, that could help us alleviate that age-old condition.
Perhaps Mars Rover will never find evidence of even the most basic life-forms. Maybe Philae will find nothing but ice on 67P. But…
…science is so fun now. We are exploring our world, our universe, ourselves, on a regular basis in ways we only dreamed imaginable 50 years ago. And the answers are coming back to us, loud and clear and amazing.
Most likely. Probably. Possibly. Maybe. Out there.
There be life.
If so, I hope they’ll be as excited to find us as we will be to find them.
Stay thirsty, my friends!