Sunday, August 19, 2012

Curiosity has gotten the best of me

It is difficult to not wax philosophical in the face of such spectacle.

While England spent over $15 Billion toward and was in the middle of a world sporting competition, the world's New England spent just a 6th of that to artfully set 2,000 pounds of our most advanced technology onto the surface of Mars.

This, after a mere 350 million mile trip in less than 9 months.

One could easily be constantly drawn back to imagining the wonder and exhilaration of the first person to eventually stand and look out across the red planet.

We simply cannot shake the fascination, the compulsion, for one of us to finally be there, to stab the ground with our flag.

It's the same compulsion that drove us to the almost 9 mile high peak of Everest and the almost 7 mile deep trench of Marianas.

How long have we dreamed of walking on Mars?

From Gustavus Pope's novel from over 120 years ago to any one of our many modern day CGI driven tales, it is almost certain that far more years dreaming are now behind us than remain before us, when it will become reality.

Most agree manned missions to Mars will land in less than 25 years. Most of us will almost certainly live to see it happen.

It easily rivals the world's collective focus on the much nearer but equally enchanting, barren and desolate lunar orb, back in 1969.

For that next one, half a century apart, the world will again come together to hope and pray for its passengers' safe journey, but this time we'll hold our collective breath for 6 months to a year, instead of just 4 days.

But what ultimately drives that adventure? It surely is far more than a craving for notoriety or accomplishment. It is not merely something we would do, it is something we must do.

The attendant sense of curiosity is insatiable. The sense that it is something we have an obligation to see and learn from. The unspoken feeling that we might even find some kind of answer.

Answer to what? What is it we're looking for?

And will it ultimately far outstrip the passion, sense of accomplishment and contentment of the countless combined who've already traveled there, aided alone by fiction?

Is it possible for a man to travel to every corner of the globe or even the solar system and yet still go to his deathbed empty, unfulfilled and thus overfilled with regrets?

And is it equally possible for a forever nameless, unsung man who has never strayed more than 20 miles from his slum in Calcutta or jungle village in Uganda to have already experienced far more color, wonder and awe than one who has been said to have seen everything?

Could such a poor soul have already seen immeasurably more beauty, satisfaction and adventure in the universe, deep within himself and his faith in God, hidden openly in the embrace of a woman he truly loved and the shared laughter and compassion of his few friends and family?

Maybe. It seems today, almost anything is possible.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice. I'm not an explorer of space, only in my head. Plus I'm too old. But I remember certain sections of my life so vividly. And you and your family are one of them. Bless you all!