Our ability to dream has always been intertwined with the universe. When our ancient ancestors looked up at the night sky, they didn’t see just a tapestry of stars–they saw stories, the unknown, the future. Their imagination turned the stars into constellations!
It makes me wonder about the world’s largest cities, clouded by light pollution, surrounded by sound. In our time of constant information transfer, do we ever really have a moment to ourselves? A moment to listen, to look up to the stars, and to dream?
When I was a young girl, every week I would receive a pamphlet (or two) detailing some interesting tid bit of the universe from alien lifeforms and black holes to strange stars and x-rays! I now have a collection of hundreds of these pamphlets and it’s one of my most prized possessions.
I remember being entranced by the knowledge, the speculations, the mystery of the unknown. It made me dream about life on Earth and life elsewhere in the universe and what it must feel like to see the Earth from the surface of the moon! My childhood wonder is a product of my ability to imagine. As Carl Sagan said, “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.”
Space, more than anything else, inspires man. It is the most vast, empty, and limitless construct we have come to understand. Every day we learn more about our universe. But its emptiness is a gift because we can fill it with our dreams. So what about the future of NASA and all later missions that have shaped human technology and thought? I think Niel deGrasse Tyson captures this notion well:
As Carl Sagan once said, “We are a way for the universe to know itself.” Our search for understanding the cosmos reveals more about humanity, our accomplishments, failures, our limits, and our unbounded vision. It is imperative that we always question and examine our universe and that we do so with the most modern of technology.
Now, enough of that, here’s the real reason NASA is amazing!
Images via Unimpressed Astronaut