Saturday, January 2, 2016

PUTTING THE EARTH AND MOON IN PERSPECTIVE


 
This amazing footage of the moon passing in front of the earth as recorded by a spacecraft orbiting on the far side of the moon puts our cloud-bedecked water-bound planet and its loyal, lonely arid satellite in thought-provoking juxtaposition. The centuries of incremental scientific achievement necessary to get such a faraway shot is a tribute to human imagination and persistence; on the other hand one only need look at the depressing headlines in the news to get the disconcerting feeling that history has taken a weird retrograde turn and mankind is throwing away the fruits of science and centuries of human achievement only to make the planet a worse place to live than it was before. This is certainly true in regards to global warming and pollution of the planet's once pristine state, but it also applies to the backward rush into tribalism, religious chauvinism, superstition and senseless warfare. Now is the time to cherish the liberal enlightenment values which have allowed science to thrive, and at the same time to use the best of scientific knowledge to protect the environment so that this lovely planet can continue to support abundant life for countless millennia to come. The utter sterility of the moon, said to be made of much the same stuff as the planet earth, is a testament to the precarious fragility of life on any planetary body, a poignant reminder to cherish a home planet exquisitely fine-tuned to giving rise to, maintaining and sustaining sentient life.   -pc