Kepler Mission – Editor’s Note
On the way to 24 hours after the launch of Kepler I managed to get 3 hours of sleep. Thoughts populate my head but the fatigue does not permit me to pass these into a written text.
So many entangled emotions have emerged in my mind and left it who knows where, maybe beyond Earth itself, escorting Kepler in its journey.
In the meanwhile e-mails have arrived and, as I’m reading them there are some ideas that I cannot left without being shared with BEYOND THE CRADLE readers, some words from Alan Gould reflect his feelings towards the launch and its aftermath:
Last night I was with PI Bill Borucki, Deputy PI David Koch, and a lot of the Kepler Science Team at the VIP viewing area. It was a spectacular launch. I especially enjoyed seeing the separation of the first 6 GEMs (graphite epoxy motors) that looked like sparklers drifting away from the main stage rocket that soared on up. I think thoughts of many of us were a combination of elation and realization that a new phase of serious work is beginning. We’re not building it anymore, but using it!
Another e-mail was sent by Jon Jenkins, who shared his opinion about the “Kepler Mission – Harvester of Worlds” piece, written previous to the launch. Jon grabbed the bonfire concept to express his own thoughts:
…I think it’s bang on. Here we are, sitting around our campfire called the Sun, and find ourselves finally capable of looking at other stars to begin to ask whether there are other galactic campers out there, huddling around their own stellar campfires. The fundamental nature of the questions Kepler answers — and raises — has been the sustaining element for me in helping shepherd Kepler from a proposed concept to a stark inescapable reality. Go Kepler!
Today, not on purpose, I found myself at Lisbon’s Zoo, not that I am a defender of this kind of institution but promises are promises…and the truth is that, strangely or not, I found myself establishing a connection between yesterday’s events and their future consequences, and this Saturday’s visit.
Admiring all the examples of how life resisted, adapted and evolved here on Earth, looking at its brave, fragile, ferocious, tender diversity, I just couldn’t avoid loosing myself among the thoughts of how, among the immensurable, expanding vastness of the Universe, has life endured, what wonders are out there, waiting to be sighted.
Kepler gives me goosebumps because it will take us closer to our imperative as a sentient creatures, to explore beyond the boundaries of home and be rewarded with the emergence of the fantastic.
And I, earthly creature as the rhinoceros, the pilot whale, the Komodo dragon or the orix, among others, with which I spent a wonderful day, just sit here, while writing, waiting, selfishly, that it will be allowed to us in my lifetime, to know more about other worlds’ cornucopia of life and to have the honour and the privilege to introduce those same worlds to Earth’s life, overwhelming beauty.
We have walked a long way until here in a couple hundred thousands of years. We won’t refrain our impetus now. As always, we are scouting in order to move onwards.
And to finalize the day in the perfect way just turned the TV on to find out that “2001: A Space Odyssey” was just beginning…time to immerse myself in it and then…off to bed we go…it has been a long, wonderful, magical, 24 hours adventure.