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An ode to space

There’s something about space that’s so terrifying and humbling that makes you want to grab the people you love and never let go, because what we have on this little blue dot of a planet is all we have really ever known. The photo the Voyager took in 1990 never fails to strike a deep existentialism in my heart.

Knowing that that speck contains all that I love and care about, all these lives and experiences. I almost want to cry, but what I also really want to do is hug my friends and not let them go.

The stars we see in the sky are moving so quickly away from us — faster than light speed, in fact, carried by the Big Bang, that one day our distant, distant descendants will not be able to see or ever know about our skies.

I feel we are only at the very beginning, the precipice of time pulling us into the incomprehensibly large universe we reside in.

When I see space I think of all the sacrifices made in our venture into a place that could not be less hospitable to humans if it tried. I think of astronauts who gave their lives and the thousands of people behind rockets, shuttles, probes, rovers, sent upwards to push us closer to the precipice of our future.

It is impossible to comprehend how big space is. And how empty it is. We can say it in number of light years or in metaphors of pixels and marbles on a football field, but none of it comes even closer to capturing the real thing. Our brains simply cannot begin to comprehend it.

Our planet is a speck of dust in a vacuum. And we are microbes much smaller than that. However at the end of the day this near unbearable existentialism doesn’t have to be terrifying.

The universe is still, in the grand scheme of things, a baby who has barely learned to walk yet. I believe that we’re only in the starting few seconds of a cosmically long journey forward. We’re the first pioneers and in millions of years we’ll be seen as the ancestors who started it all.

I may never be able to go to space. But I’m grateful to live in a time that’s moving towards a new age, and that I’m present to witness it. And perhaps my upwards stargazing on long haul flights may soon turn to downward gazing upon the planet from orbit.