12-11-2000, 01:10 PM
take a look at these photos from Nasa (there's lots more)
<a href="http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/image/0011/auroct_wadeclark_big.jpg" target="_blank"><!--auto-->http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/image/0011/auroct_wadeclark_big.jpg</a><!--auto-->
Is that a neat aurora or what?
<a href="http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/image/0011/earthlights_dmsp_big.jpg" target="_blank"><!--auto-->http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/image/0011/earthlights_dmsp_big.jpg</a><!--auto-->
Earth lights as seen on a collage of photos taken in November. I'd like to fish some of the darker areas 8^)
I could stare at these all day. Makes me ponder the fact that the cosmos is expanding at speeds we could not fathom, and that in the infinite expanse of the universe we are but an infinitesimal spec, a non-spec in the scope of things cosmic, twirling on an axis that revolves around our own local star in a myriad of countless other stars in a galaxy whose proportions we could not travel in a lifetime at light speed, part of continually greater structures in a great mind-blowing never-ending and expanding concept called "existence".
Despite the immeasurable breadth of this universe, an Oasis named Earth; endowed with the only thing that surpasses infinity in it's wonder - life. Thus, each light on the land mass marks tens of thousands if not millions of wives, children and friends at Thanksgiving dinner smiling across cranberry sauce at relatives or chatting around a glowing fireplace with a glass of wine from across the planet clinking a toast to the good life.
The dichotomy - as we strive for the "good" life we introduce threats to our oasis. We live at odds with our environment, carving away at it's resources and reshaping it from earth to sky to sea. As I realized our (species') impact on the planet, I was appalled by how little we appreciate our miracle home day to day. In fact, with rare occasion, we take it all for granted. It's hardly a mainstream thought, like money or entertainment, or work, etc.
Extraterrestrial life gets more attention than really REALLY thinking about what we have right here. Maybe if we took a moment each day to think about what the powers that be have given us we'd learn to live in a better balance with it.
If there is another place out there with life (we can't find water at this point) it means little more than a curiosity to me. The media buzz that would ensue would surpass anything that we've given to our own miracle.