Wrote about something a little different this time since it’s a 50th anniversary year of the Apollo 11 flight. Yeah, you might have guessed right: I’m also a hopeless Space Nerd among other things. Originally I wrote this piece to my FB wall in Finnish but I wanted to widen the audience and maybe even get some feedback and reflection from you. Ok, now I’m off for some Kerbal Space Program with my son.
CU in Space!
Today, exactly fifty years ago a human being took his first steps on a new celestial body. Space exploration, flights to the moon and the future visions of utilizing the resources or even inhabiting other celestial bodies besides our planet Earth can be assessed from a number of perspectives: in the good, the bad and the ugly. One can look at them for an example as an unnecessary waste of financial-, human- and ecological resources or as the only hope for survival for all mankind in the chaotic and unpredictable universe… or something, anything in between. Whatever your stance is, one can not deny that this day had a substantial effect on our geopolitics, history and on how we perceive our place in the universe as a species.
Lately, while I’ve experienced a stronger personal reconnection with nature and environment of Earth, I’ve been thinking about the odds of human survival “somewhere out there”: isolated from his birthplace, living in contact only with the unknown and alien.
Astronauts, some of them who have lived continuously for nearly a year on Low Earth Orbit in a hostile and an artificial environment aboard the ISS, tell an intriguing story of what they miss the most about the planet Earth: many of them mention the wind, how it feels on your skin, or how it feels when water is running between your fingers; all so very familiar sensations here on Earth that we barely take notice of them. This subject of survival in isolation has also been a popular subject in fictional literature throughout the decades: if and how it could be possible for a human species to cope and keep up his physical and psychological ability to function, to survive, to adapt and maybe even flourish in an alien environment of the universe, in a place where we have not been genetically programmed to live in or do not have the knowledge or safety brought to us by the legacy carried in our bodily memory from the countless generations that came before us.
Humans are an adaptive species. Innovative and curious, one of a kind (as far as we know). Still I can’t imagine living my life in a complete isolation from all that is familiar and far away from all the things the Earth offers us as our unique womb. If there will be generations born on other planets or among the weightlessness eternity of the interstellar space, maybe they will be released of the burden and connection that is so precious for us, the Earthborn.
It sounds frightening, but change and submitting oneself to something new and alien always is. Humans have always strived to know what lies beyond the horizon. We have always been afraid: afraid of falling off the edge of the world, afraid to meet the great unknown and be devoured in its embrace. Yet we have always embarked on a new expedition to see, to try and understand. It might be stupid but it is so natural and endogenous for us who lifted our gaze from the dust beneath our feet to see the horizon and finally towards the night sky embroidered by stars: wondering, dreading and being intrigued. Finally realizing the greatness of all that surrounds us and our own insignificance among it all.
Apollo 11. 20/07/1969 ❤
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Article picture by National Geographic