Wednesday, June 30, 2004

These are the Days of Miracle and Wonder, This is the Long Distance Call...

In a number of scientific disciplines, the principle benefit of research is that successful research gives us a greater understanding of how stuff works -- an understanding that (we hope) becomes the next drug, the next procedure, the next policy.

Spaceflight differs from other engineering sciences, since whatever the benefit of the technical understanding it creates via research, its principle benefit is that it periodically reminds us of the mind-blowing wonder of the universe -- a universe in which we eke out a fragile existence, blind to the immensity around us.

Tonight, I'm completely awestruck that some of my fellow humans are bright enough to know how to send a spacecraft on a 2.2 billion mile journey to Saturn, and then put it in orbit around the ringed planet. Congratulations NASA and ESA!

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