A brief note about the universe

Sagan doing what Sagan does bestA controlled explosion.

The same science that’s behind a gun is the same science that’s behind a rocket.

Set off an explosion in a chamber capable of withstanding the pressure. Channel the force of the explosion to create thrust at the open end of the chamber, or to discharge a projectile from the open end of the chamber.

Fire a bullet to satisfy some sense of tribal pride, some sense of fury that someone dares to believe or dares to have simply been born differently than you.

Or fire a rocket into space and learn more about how we were all actually born the same, and how the differences barely matter because when you look back, the borders don’t exist.

It’s all about controlled explosions. Chemical explosions, or bursts of passion.

We can choose to learn, or choose to burn. It’s. that. simple.

I know I’ve probably driven half of everyone reading my Facebook and Twitter feeds crazy in the past few days/weeks/more-than-weeks (remember how Pluto-happy I was about 350-odd days ago?) with all of the space stuff. But it matters. You may not see how it applies directly to you. But it does.

I try to share that awe and wonder with everyone who wants to know more. Articles…podcasts…websites. “But you run a sci-fi site, right?” Sorta. The focus has shifted in recent years. In a way, the sci-fi is there to lure you in so I can talk about that awe and wonder.

I figured out a long time ago that I wasn’t going to be an astronaut or a scientist. I’d read National Geographic and Astonomy Magazine articles about the people playing various roles on the Voyager and Viking missions, and I’d idolize them like rock stars.

Did/do I ever have the mental agility to join their ranks? No. Found that out pretty early too. Only later in life have I figured out why. Why some days I can hold this whole universe of knowledge in my head, and synthesize it successfully, while other days I have the mental acuity of a particularly gited sea cucumber.

But one gift I do have is to smoosh some words together and tell a story and draw you in to learning more than I know about this stuff. (Spoiler: that’s a skill you acquire as a parent.) So if it really drives you batty, I’m not insulted by anyone who wants to exercise the unfriend/unfollow option…

…because I’m not going to stop going on and on about it anytime soon. There’s a whole universe out there waiting to be explored. I’ve long since moved past the point where I care if one person attributes that universe to God, another attributes it to Allah, a third attributes it to the Big Bang, and yet a fourth attributes it to the Great Green Arkleseizure.

None of that changes the fact that the universe is out there.


We just have to judiciously harness the right kind of controlled explosions so we can stop harming one another and go see it.

One thought on “A brief note about the universe”

  1. You and I have different perspectives on the same event. You get all excited about the moment when a space probe milestone occurs.It’s like a rocket launch for you and you can’t get enough. for me, it’s a source of anxiety and I just want the thing to be over with already. The last space probe milestone I was excited about was when Curiosity landed via that very complicated maneuver. It was exciting but I also found I was very anxious and that was stressing me out. I don’t need that since I already have enough stress in my life.

    For me, the real excitement is when they release the photos from the probes. I remember the excitement when NASA published the photos from Voyagers encounter with Neptune. That was awesome and it was only matched by the pictures sent by New Horizons of Pluto. Those pictures completely destroyed my previous conception of what Pluto would look like.

    However, I still get excited about launches and watch them live, if possible. Especially when they are work related. A couple years ago I watched a GPS satellite launch via my tablet. That was cool.

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