Alas, the last day of World Space Week 2014 is upon us. It has been a great experience, with again over 1,000 events world wide and counting. This weekend we will still see several dozen of events happening, taking advantage of the free Saturday and Sunday. It has been a great journey, where hundreds, if not thousands of great volunteers helped us make the 15th anniversary a big success. Journeys is also the theme of our final space of the day. Thank you Athos Athanasiou for taking this art and space journey with us.
We dream of going into space.
But oh if we were all in space,
would not we yearn for Earth’s sweet shore?
Think of the woman who’s spent her whole life
on a station round the moon.
What would she give to places swap with you right now.
To simply step outside into the rain,
and bend down to the soil,
and feel the water getting slowly drunk by thirsty ground.
Look up! Look up! For yes we must explore.
And many journeys will we take.
But know that you are taking one right now
and great that story is.
“The hero’s journey.”
Where we squirm and struggle ‘gainst the confines of our mundane start,
longing for adventure.
When it presents itself we grab it with two hands
and ride that horse for all its worth.
Growing on the way.
So that on our return
we see our homeland with new eyes,
and know it in a different way.
That story told a thousand times
in fable, film and music.
We know it all so well.
Take it now.
Close eyes against the world that ties you down with gravity.
And travel off to space.
Begin with space camp training.
Prepare yourself mentally and physically for what’s ahead,
and pass with flying colours.
Take that first flight in a parabolic arc,
and learn to float in zero G,
for minutes at a time.
Then embark upon your trip to ISS.
In getting there use many masterworks of science.
And conduct an experiment with a cup of tea.
Move on, float on. A mission to the moon.
To plant a flag and step and leap.
Your footsteps far apart.
Further. Off to Mars.
A journey suspended for a couple of years.
Somehow protected from the dangers of those cosmic rays.
There to build and found a colony.
At least you know in this poem
you can return.
Onward. Jupiter calls.
The bases of Ganymede and Europa,
via the asteroid stations.
Further. On to Saturn.
To see those rings majestic
as wide as twice a dozen earths.
Watch them fed by the high plumes of Enceladus.
And pass by the great moon Titan,
where stories gave us game players and sirens.
From there who knows?
The Kuiper Belt. The Oort Cloud. The Bow Shock.
The limits of our Sun’s domain.
And then it’s the stars.
Our friends from erstwhile nights of humankind.
With their own planets.
And maybe one like Earth.
The journey now takes generations.
It is not you who will return but your far off descendants.
Will those that stayed behind want to take them back?
And onwards ever onwards.
Do we colonise each star system and grow?
Or spread ourselves too thin and peter out?
Will physics even let us do any of this?
But your mind can, right now.
It can do all of this and more.
It can go further than the ends of the Universe.
To other realms and other worlds.
Where nature’s laws may differ from our own.
What possibilities lie there?
Our minds hold all of them.
But now you are back.
Rub eyes and take a look around.
Then look again.
You are on earth. Perhaps one of the most amazing places in the entire Universe.
No, it is not mundane, not one small bit of it.
Look after it because it is full of adventure.
Find one, find more, and follow where they lead.