The whole “On Being” radio show from a couple weeks ago, “On Exoplanets and Love”, is a wonderful and fascinating use of your time to read/listen (transcript and/or podcast ). It features Natalie Batalha from NASA’s Kepler Mission and their research to discover other habitable planets in the universe. The whole discussion rocks, but one of the last short comments has really stuck with me:
NASA has extended the Kepler Mission to 2016. In its first four
years, the mission confirmed over 100 new planets — but the
search for one just right for life continues. Early
interpretations of Kepler data point to as many as 17 billion
Earth-sized planets in the Milky Way galaxy.
This means two very important things to me:
-if we’ve only discovered 100 planets so far, and the estimate is that we could find 17 billion more just in the Milky Way, wow, how little of the universe we’ve actually observed. How so much we have yet to discover….
-this vastness of God’s kosmos leaves me breathless. We are so much just a speck of dust on a speck of dust on a speck of dust, and yet there is also just so much meaning and value to beginning to understand everything about this Vastness. Only beginning, as what we’ve been able to observe so far is the equivalent of beginning to understand planet Earth by catching about one square inch of it. Which would most likely be from the surface of an ocean. Imagine what else you’d have yet to see….
Thank you, God of, within, and about This Vastness, for what we’ve seen so far, for what is yet to come….