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Friday, July 18, 2014

The Age of Discovery

I am constantly amazed at this Golden Age of Discovery in which we live. And in just one year, our perception of the universe could be completely rocked.

Pluto is roughly 4.67 BILLION miles from Earth. The exact distance changes continually, as planets move in an elliptical manner, placing us closer at some times than others. And yet, in just one year from now, NASA's New Horizon spacecraft will reach Pluto. When it does, it will be able to look into a part of our universe that has never been seen before.

This is the first time we'll have glimpsed a new world in several decades. We have no idea what Pluto looks like - whether it is made of ice or rock, whether it shows signs of life in the past or present, or whether it may even resemble our own planet.

As the New Horizon spacecraft nears Pluto, it will also be able to look beyond it into areas we have never seen before, especially so up-close. Even the Hubble Space Telescope must strain to see Pluto. Yet when New Horizon enters its orbit, it would be able to detect tall buildings - if any exist. The level of detail will be astonishing.

It is the mystery, the awe and the wonder of such new worlds that inspired many science fiction writers and no doubt will continue to do so well into the future.