Earth and Moon, a distant dance


I try not to use too much real estate here posting to other sites (although some could argue that's all I do anymore because I'm too busy editing my manuscript to post new content on the site -- to them, I say ... yes, you are correct, and I apologize for that). But when I do post a link or an image to another site, it's something that I cannot shake.

I can't think of anything more profound -- philosophically, emotionally, physically -- than the image of our planet from afar. Every image or video ever posted in the past, including the famous "pale blue dot," has brought me to a point of awestruck reverence for the speck of life that is planet Earth. Forget god, forget religion, looking at our planet and moon from a distance is enough majesty for me to bow to the universe itself. All its laws, properties, planets cold and warm, gaseous, liquid, and solid, come into such powerful focus as we watch our own planet being transited by the moon. It's something that defines and humbles our place in the universe. We are a small, simple planet in the middle of a 300-billion-star galaxy, and that's good enough for me.

It is an inspiring sight, a breathtaking sight, and there's never really a bad time to share such a thing.

From the Smithsonian, and of course from NASA's Juno satellite (good job, satellite), watch this jaw-dropping view of the moon transiting the earth, and then inexplicably racing off screen as the satellite zips past the moon and uses Earth's gravitational pull as a slingshot. It gave me chills the first time I watched it, talking to the screen and begging the moon not to stray too far, and the subsequent view teleported me from my chair and into the craft itself, imagining what it would be like for future astronauts approaching such an inviting foreign planet. Images like this can only continue with greater support for a strong, well-funded space program, and, of course, reaching an alien world will forever be an afterthought without politicians and voters (and private businesses, too) taking the time to understand how important space exploration is -- not only to current generations, but future generations, as well.

If you're still skeptical, you heartless bastard, watch the second video in the link where the Deep Impact spacecraft turns its lens back toward the planet and catches a beautiful lunar transit.

Science!