Tuesday, December 04, 2007

See How It Turns Out

Mike commented on my previous post, "Heh. Not sure astronomy is the best hobby for someone who wants to 'follow and see how it turns out.'" Very funny and true. Most astronomy involves timeframes that make evolutionary biology look like a sprint. And yet, I can't think of a better era for a space buff to be alive.

Mike's comment also got me thinking about a little mental list I keep of things I'd really like to witness in my decades (I hope) left on the planet:

1. I'd like to be around when someone figures out dark matter and dark energy, the invisible something no one can find that seems to comprise 90% of the mass of the universe.

2. I'd like to see a picture of a planet outside our solar system--preferably Earth-sized. Not a wobble, spectrograph, or statistical chart. I want oceans and clouds.

3. I'd like to live long enough to see a permanent manned base on the Moon, something that could mature into a colony. Maybe even something with a little studio apartment set aside for me.

4. I'd like to see us discover evidence of intelligent extraterrestrial life. That would be a turning point in human history, the event that everything else either came before or after. (At the same time, I imagine that people living centuries in the future will envy our virginal ignorance in the same way we're wistful for a pre-Columbian America: "Gee, I wonder what life was like before we found out about the Zorxian Empire? Good times, good times....")

I think I've got a fair shot at the first three; the fourth much less so. Give me one or more of those--plus my family happy and healthy, poverty and disease eradicated, the environment in decent shape, blah blah blah--and I think I'd die a happy man.


Lady Luck said...

A really thought provoking post - thank you.

Otis Frampton said...

"3. I'd like to live long enough to see a permanent manned base on the Moon, something that could mature into a colony."

They say it will happen by 2020. I'll be watching Project Constellation and hoping they succeed.


Brian Fies said...

Thanks, Lady Luck. Otis, I hope 1) it happens, and 2) I'm around to see it. Realistically, I'm dubious. I just don't see popular or political support for it, but who knows...?

Otis Frampton said...

I'm something of a minor space nut. I was born as the last Apollo mission was in transit to the moon, so I didn't grow up with that generation. But I have read about the Apollo program a lot and have always hoped that it would get back on track after years spent in Earth orbit. I'm dying to get a chance to watch a new round of lunar flights take place in my lifetime.

In fact, Leigh and I are watching "From The Earth To The Moon" right now. I just got the DVD set for my birthday. :)