At the Edge of the Solar System

Good morning SuperForest!

You may be familiar with this pale blue dot:

Hooray Earth!

And  you may remember the beloved Carl Sagan’s words about this image:

“We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.”

And, being that we are a repository of existential loveliness, you may remember Jordan and Jackson’s fabulous posts. But hark! There’s news!

As I type these words on a chilly gray Park Slope (fancy!) day, our species may just be crossing a threshold. This cosmic coming-of-age is due to the fact that Voyager 1 and 2, that dynamic duo of interstellar explorers is in the blazing precarity of the heliosphere, the outermost edge of our solar system, where the wooshing solar winds meet interstellar gases, and beyond lies … the unknown. As in, team humanity is almost out of reach of our fair and noble Sun’s magnetic fields, and those lovely little Voyagers are about to — as in within the next decade — exit into the greatest of beyond. Our first kiss with the outer cosmos. And you always remember your first.

Hooray humanity, and our soon-to-be universe smooch!

This post inspired by the wowtastic RADIOLAB from WNYC, which might be the most aurally delicious podcast around. 




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