Posted by DrJeff
Copyright 2009 | About this blog
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
—T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets: Little Gidding, 1942
I say!” murmured Horton. I’ve never heard tell
Of a small speck of dust that is able to yell.
So you know what I think?… Why I think that there must
Be someone on top of that small speck of dust!
Some sort of creature of very small size,
Too small to be seen by an elephant’s eyes…
—Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who!, 1954
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour
—William Blake, Auguries of Innocence, 1803
Think what it will be like for those men who go to Mars
and see our Earth shrink to the size of a star, just a bright
blue star in the heavens. Think what those men will feel for it then.
—James B. Irwin, astronaut, Apollo 15, July 1971
We could not immediately detect the fact that Earth was shrinking
as we sped away from it. The Earth would eventually be so small I could blot
it out of the universe simply by holding up my thumb.
—Buzz Aldrin, astronaut, Apollo 11, 1969
Several days after looking at the Earth, a childish thought occurred
to me—that we cosmonauts are being deceived. If we are the first
ones in space, then who was it who made the globe correctly? Then this thought
was replaced by pride in the human capacity to see with our mind.
—Igor Volk, cosmonaut, Soyuz T-12, July 1985
For the first time in my life I saw the horizon as a curved line.
It was accentuated by a thin seam of dark blue light—our atmosphere.
Obviously this was not the ocean of air I had been told it was so
many times in my life. I was terrified by its fragile appearance.
—Ulf Merbold, astronaut, FRG
Space is so close: it took only eight minutes to get there
and twenty to get back.
—Wubbo Ockels, astronaut, Netherlands, Columbia 7, 1985
It isn’t important in which sea or lake you observe a slick of pollution,
or in the forests of which country a fire breaks out,
or on which continent a hurricane arises.
You are standing guard over the whole of our Earth.
—Yuri Artyukhin, cosmonaut, Soyuz 14, July 1974
Once a photograph of the Earth taken from
the outside is available, a new idea as powerful as
any in history will be let loose.
—Fred Hoyle, astronomer, 1948
When it actually happened: