a human figure in a spacesuit, seeming to float in space

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“Space isn’t remote at all. It’s only an hour’s drive away if your car could go straight upwards.”

Fred Hoyle

Everything I learn about cosmology, physics, and space science increases my understanding of even the smallest thing around me — the air, the light, the life of trees and of mold, creatures great and small,

Animals are smarter and feel more than we know. And we are more like them than we know.

When we brag of humanity’s genius, we stumble and flail if we forget the source of that genius. It’s the web of life unique to this precious rock, Earth.

We may find life elsewhere — even ‘intelligent’ life, though there’s no doubt our definitions of ‘intelligence’ would be challenged, again — but it almost certainly will differ from life here — as it will be based on different planetary chemistry, geologic history, different atmosphere, different gravity, a different solution, perhaps, to the problems that DNA and evolution solved on Earth.

We are alone in that sense. Only we sense in these particular (narrow) bands of spectral and sonic frequency. Only we gaze at a maple turning hue in the fall and feel that particular throb in our heart.

Learning about galaxies and light years and particles and time tells us who we are. And contrary to some who fear what they call atheism, this is a highly moral voyage of discovery. Ultimately, we learn that to treat any part of creation unjustly is to scorn all of existence and chip away at humanity’s own sustenance.

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