“Spaceship Earth” – Our Backyard!
I recently had the privilege of listening to Chris Hadfield speak and to share his view of the world from space, which was astounding even acknowledging my limited comprehension of his first hand experience. He constantly referred to our planet as Spaceship Earth, and elaborated when showing a picture of an erupting volcano. He made the comparison that the surface of the Earth is like the crust with little bursting bubbles of steam releasing heat from the hot interior. Like the crust of the earth viewed from space.
The atmosphere is a thin layer of air and gases about 3 miles thick,
which is the only place in the solar system we can survive.
The Great Lakes make up about 20% of the world’s fresh water and from space they look like puddles on the side walk that will be gone by noon on a hot summer day. In other words, change a few variables, bring a hard solar wind or a big meteorite and the skin of the earth and the thin layer of atmosphere could radically change or disappear. Still the odds of these big events happening in our lifetime… well it is likely a pretty safe bet to say it won’t happen, but the slow deterioration of the planet because of human activity is creeping up on us quickly and we are not paying attention. As spaceship earth, it is the only place in the solar system and beyond where we can live, so we better take care of it.
The only thing that struck me was the preparation and the lifetime dedication to attaining his goal of being an astronaut and then how humbling the experience. There is so much more to learn and reach such a goal, the tedious attention to details over and over again is extraordinary, such that few people could maintain such dedication to a goal that may never materialise, but the training serves a purpose of itself in that it becomes a way to live, to take care of things and pay attention to detail. A piece of gum throw on the ground, a cup out the window, sets an exemple that this planet can absorb whatever we through at it, but it cannot. As seen from space there are profound impacts, Spaceship Earth is small, it is all of our backyards, we need to start treating it this way if we are to obtain the goal of sustainability which is not for our generation but for many generations down the road.