Years ago, the prevailing wisdom was that if you traveled too far in one direction, you would eventually fall off the planet. Many years later, the ‘flat top’ hairstyle was all the rage. I’ll leave it to you to connect the dots.
Sometime over the next few months the Voyager 1 spacecraft, first launched in 1977, will cross the line separating our solar system and interstellar space. Of course, there is much conjecture over what exactly will happen once the space probe leaves the warmth of our Sun’s heliosphere and the solar winds that have egged it on along its path.
Of course, it’s perfectly understandable that this unprecedented galactic event has left some people nervous. Notions of what lies beyond the great divide, and whose or what’s attention we may be attracting has caused some of a zealous nature to genuflect and perspire in earnest. In fact, on our own Moon, NASA is currently investigating a ‘lava tube’, a giant hole in the moon’s surface, for its potential for hosting a future moon colony. Again, I’ll leave it to you to connect the dots.
For some, it’s difficult to throw out conventional wisdom or to even fathom extending one’s hand to meet the thrusting appendages of newly found galactic ambassadors of other worlds, thoughts and words. Such is the fear of the unknown that it drives many to stay home, go nowhere, do nothing and drone on about their own misgivings and the misguidance of others.
Currently, Voyager 1 has entered an area of space known as the ‘stagnation zone’, a sort of the galactic front porch or waiting room to interstellar space. As such, perhaps it’s a good time for all of us on this planet to stop and consider our own life journeys. Maybe it’s a good time for us to do a Lady Gaga and think, as well as dance, outside the box, defying the prescriptive admonitions of our kindergarten teachers not to color outside the lines.
There will always be those who prefer sticking their heads in a hole in the ground to blazing new horizons and embracing change. Once Voyager 1 ‘crosses the line’ there may yet be much consternation. Followers of chaos theory and the butterfly effect will surely expect some inevitable repercussion. Futilists will expect the probe to enter some form of stasis or limbo, as much as fatalists will expect it to simply wink out of existence … or perhaps that we will, as a consequence.
Yet, it is those creative types who will imagine, dream and celebrate whatever lies beyond our plane of existence and sphere of reality … even if it be a whole lot of substantial nothingness. I, for one, am happy to be counted among those abstract minded and nebulous visionaries. Godspeed to Voyager 1, and to all who continue to launch themselves into the great unknown.