Swords to Telescopes
by Michael O’Shea
Astronomy can be political.
That glowing blue dot below is Earth, in an image taken by the @CassiniSaturn probe, some 900 miles away in Saturn’s orbit.
This blue dot, the only planet we know that supports life, represents the sum of all our human experiences in our species’ existence: every life, romance, thought, feeling, story, dream relationship, failed or thriving civilization. At this moment, on this beautiful, swirling marble we still kill, hurt, persecute, and oppress one another through the days’ headlines: from Ferguson to Gaza, from Nigeria to Iraq.
The insanity of such behaviour: we’re all solitary voyagers on the same fragile rock formed billions of years ago, orbiting in a solar system galaxy presently hurtling through a universe incomprehensibly large. We’re the only life forms we know. Let’s put down our weapons, fists, and hurtful words and look up to the night sky. We are small. Our planet is small. And our differences are small.
— With due credit to late Carl Sagan for inspiration
Originally published: Saturday, August 23, 2014 by Michael O’Shea