The Importance Of Space Exploration

The Importance Of Space Exploration

My thoughts on interstellar travel and exploration.
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There are times when I just want to go out and look up at the sky; times that I could stare for hours and hours at the innumerable constellations containing stars and planets that shine ever so brightly despite how far away they are. I wish I could just go away by myself or with a close friend watching the night skies just sitting there wondering about what's out there, beyond our solar system.

The universe is so vast and even now we are just beginning to comprehend what it holds. We know little as a collective and our knowledge is only a small percentage of what we will know in the future. Looking up at that almost lucid, luminous sky that roars with never-ending life gives me some sense of solace.

It also gives me peace.

There is something about those stars that is absolutely enthralling to gaze at. Sometimes I believe I could fade away amongst the stars and not have to worry about the burdens of this world.

My only hope is that this is heaven. Floating, a spirit, amongst the stars. No boundaries except where I want my mind to take me. That is my dream. To one day sail through the vast and incomprehensible ocean that is space, through nebulas and massive star clusters.

No amount of dreams could match the intensity and vivaciousness that the universe offers. It is a divine creation for us to explore and we should grasp that opportunity. Instead of living our lives confined to a shell of a planet we must branch out and explore. It is our divine providence to do so. Already, we have probes and rovers sent out to other planets and stars.

Every day we learn something new and sometimes we even find that our previous thinking was wrong. Every day we find some amazing, stunning new element of our world that challenges even the most steadfast of ideas and beliefs.

However, let not our exploration be confined to our own solar system. We must as nations, as a world, but most importantly as people push to learn more about what lies beyond the skies. We must do this to propel ourselves forward. Nothing is standing in our way but ourselves.

Many times I wonder who the first person was to look up at the skies and notice its beauty and wonder what lies beyond.

Who was the first person to actually notice our universe’s extravagance and not take it for granted? Who was that first person to spark a kindling in mankind not just to explore our own planet but those beyond? Whoever it was I thank them.

I thank them for the achievements we have accomplished and those to come which only God knows. We know nothing except that our fate is sealed. Our destiny is to roam the skies and stars. For thousands of years, the people of Earth have pondered the possibilities of space and what it consists of. If only they could see us now.

We’ve sent men to the moon not once but several times. Even today there is talk of sending men as far as Mars. In the near future, I can even imagine colonies on other celestial bodies.

However, let us hope that we do not lose sight of the reason we are out there in the untamed wilds of the universe. We are out there because we are curious. Curious about what lies beyond our planets, solar systems and even our galaxy.

We are curious about what we will find and what we won’t. I can only imagine the sheer excitement that the first man in space felt as he finally passed through the Earth’s atmosphere into a vastly unknown realm. For all we knew there could have been nothing up there. Yet our curiosity got a hold of us and hauled us into the endless vanity of space.

Ever since we have been hooked. Like a drug, space has intrigued us since day one and I believe that as long as we allow, it will until the end. So when I look out my window on a crisp winter night when the sky is clear and I can see a star shining brightly in the distance, I like to imagine that maybe one day I might be on that star looking back down at Earth.

Cover Image Credit: pixabay

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.
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Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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My Future Is Unpredictable And That's Totally Alright

As I prepare for study abroad in Ecuador, I'm going in with no expectations.

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For six months, I had plans to study abroad in the Dominican Republic during the fall semester of junior year. Filling out what seemed like endless applications and paperwork, searching for travel ideas on Pinterest, and writing a class research paper on the DR's relationship with its neighboring island, Haiti, I was prepared to live and learn about Dominican culture hands-on.

Then on the Thursday before Finals Week last spring, I read my email. My study abroad program in the DR had gotten canceled. In the span of 30 seconds, my future had taken a new course. Less than a week later, I was submitting papers to study abroad in a new country where another adventure awaited: Ecuador.

If there's anything I've learned in the past year, it's that life is unpredictable and we can't control it. The future is unknown. But-

Who wants to know exactly what's going to happen in the next few years? I mean, I believe it's good to have a direction, but you don't have to have the entire journey pinpointed straight to the core. You meet people, you get inspired, you see things, you have experiences. And you go from there. (Though, I totally respect people who have clear ambitions and stick with them their entire lives.)

Where I was a year ago was a completely different path than where I find myself today. Last summer, I worked four different internships/jobs in the span of three months. A year ago, I would never have guessed my following summer unfolding with an immersion trip to India, a solo adventure to Taiwan & Hong Kong, and becoming a certified yoga instructor. A year ago, I hadn't met half of my best friends. A year ago, I hadn't seen poverty in a third-world country. A year ago, I wasn't even sure I wanted to major in Environmental Studies.

Just because I don't know what the future holds doesn't mean I can't set goals. I have a destination, an idea of where I'm headed and where I want to go. While abroad in Ecuador, I want to learn about sustainable development and coffee production as well as enhance my Spanish skills.

As I prepare for study abroad in Ecuador, I'm going in with no expectations. I know the format of the program. I'll be taking classes and living with a host family and then doing an internship at a farm. Otherwise, I have no idea what's going to happen. And that's what I'm looking forward to the most. The spontaneity. The unexpected. As one of my good friends would say whenever he doesn't have formal weekend plans, "I'm improvising." And you know the one rule of improv: Always say yes.

¡Hasta pronto, Ecuador!

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