I’ve always been fascinated by space. Mainly in a general sense – To my knowledge there’s nothing specific that attracts me to space, and nothing so profound that it made me want to pursue a career in NASA or anything, but I used to love the classes we had on the Solar System growing up. As I got older, I stopped following the real-world developments in space exploration and stuck mainly to my growing love of the science-fiction genre.
Which is why I was so surprised when I kept discovering facts such as there are now several ‘dwarf’ planets beyond Pluto, and that Pluto itself was no longer a proper planet any more due it’s size and the reclassification of what a planet was. They never mentioned that at school. On the one hand, this shouldn’t have been so unexpected – as time goes on and technology improves, not to mention the natural passage of time, new data is uncovered.
But still… growing up, we were taught about the nine planets and the asteroid belt, we were taught what characteristics they all had… that was the universe as we knew it at the time. Now that universe has been changed. I imagine that brief feeling I had at the time wasn’t too dissimilar to how people felt in the past when perceptions about the world were similarly shattered.
Although, my brother told me that someone had made a Facebook group entitled, “Dear NASA, your mum thought I was big enough. Regards, Pluto”. Yeah, I laughed.
Actually, I tell a lie. There is something space-related that left a lasting impression on me. I can’t remember exactly how old I was, but it was probably around ten or so years ago. My mum went through a phase of wanting to go camping a lot in this cheap caravan she’d bought. She still does like to go caravanning, but thankfully when I was old enough to stop going, I did.
Anyway, there was this one caravan site that we went too all the time as that’s where it was stored at the time. One night, when it was clear, I remember looking up into the night sky and seeing more stars than I’d ever seen before, and even some shooting ones as well. IT was breathtaking… but sadly, the next time we went they had installed flood lights which spoilt it – I’ve never managed to get that same view again.
I feel slightly sad, knowing that it’s fairly certain that I won’t see what wonders the future will bring in my life time. I’d be immensely surprised if any significant developments occur in space, like a colony or a commercial station or something. I’d like to think it’s possible though. I’d like to think that, eventually, we’ll get out there and the science-fiction I love isn’t so fictional after all. I guess I always did have my head in the clouds.
Until next time.