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As a child I loved to sprawl on the grass and gaze up at the night sky. It fascinated me, the stars, the vastness, the mystery. Especially when life was confusing, the wonder and beauty of the stars was an escape from things my child’s mind didn’t understand.
This early fascination led to a life-long curiosity about space.
If you share my interest, you’ll probably be aware that NASA has recently had huge success with a probe called Juno which is orbiting the planet Jupiter as we speak! Juno launched on August 5, 2011 and after a five year cruise entered Jupiter’s orbit on July 4, 2016 after travelling a distance of roughly 2.8 billion kilometres.
Amazingly, Juno was only 1 second off schedule when it reached Jupiter! Now that’s pretty impressive don’t you think? Well done NASA.
Yes, it’s pretty geeky I know, but isn’t it incredible what we can achieve as a species when we put our collective minds to it. I don’t know about you, but I feel comforted knowing there are people out there in the world who are clever enough to pull something like this off. Whatever our feelings might be about the cost or purpose of these missions and… it is expensive, it’s still inspirational that we have the knowledge and skills to accomplish it.
Why am I telling you this? Well, firstly I’m a geek and I love science and learning but the main reason is this:
There is a lot of craziness going on in the world right now; people are stressed, struggling with their day-to-day lives and with good reason! Reading the news makes me wince….. When things get challenging it’s easy to focus more and more on the small things because we don’t seem to have any control of the big stuff.
We get caught up in the minutiae of life, and use drama to distract ourselves from the really big things going on. Our heads start to drop and we look down and we feel down.
When I start to feel like this, I still lie outside and look up at the stars – it seems silly but it helps put things in perspective. It’s not going to bring about global peace or solve world hunger right now but looking outwards lifts us out of ourselves and helps focus on the bigger picture. Earth is one star among billions; and we are here for but a moment…so…
‘Don’t look down, look up!’ Go outside and look up at the stars, breathe deeply, we are a part of something bigger, the universe, a collective humanity…and that makes us stronger. If we can send Juno to Jupiter, I believe we can achieve anything.
Take care, look up and be kind to each other
P.S. Don’t look up when crossing the road, that’s plain dangerous.