Long drive on a small planet
This week I attended a keynote by Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden (Ret.). Four time shuttle astronaut appointed by President Obama to run NASA. His address was enthralling & enlightening, closing with an impassioned plea for global collaboration within the space science community (it applies to us too). Mr Bolden noted that in orbit, there are no defined borders & no evidence of politics. As he closed, a looping time-lapse of the Moon passing in front of the Earth played. I watched the clip & realised that Australia was clearly visible . I was struck with the realisation that I could see my entire driving route from Perth to Adelaide. It’s a long drive through empty country on an otherwise crowded planet. 71% of our planet is covered by water & 7.5 billion people share the land. In contrast, Australia has a population of only 24.6 million, two thirds in the major cities & a lot of emptiness between. Australia is a unique country where road trips & long drives are an integral part of our culture. Simply seeing our continent rotating into view in a video time-lapse is striking, we are a fortunate people. I’m not likely to see the Earth the incredible way that Major General Bolden did on his shuttle missions, even so his recollections left a big impression.