Sometimes you do funny things without quite knowing why, and I was reminded of what I did on September 6 2005. I joined the New Horizons Pluto project and another 434,737 people by registering my name on the CD they then stuck to the side of the spacecraft before the launch a few months later.
Pluto is the dwarf planet somewhere out there in the Kuiper Belt, meant to be a “cold, unexplored world in our solar system” (NASA). It has a number of moons, and I gathered that at present the largest, Charon, is competing successfully for scientists’ interest. As the Brits liked to say, my S.O. is a science fan and he was …” going” to Pluto, so I sure wasn’t going to be left behind. Probably visions of sci-fi films where the explorers come back all fresh and young to people on earth who’ve lived on in the meantime to a bent, wrinkled and doddering old age. Or even worse, haven’t.
So finally, after over 9 years and 5 months, the closest flyby is going to happen next July 14. Lots of pictures and all sorts of useful information will presumably be beamed back to earth°. Obviously what makes me dream is the idea of faraway horizons and unknown galaxies and what tiny specks of nothingness we are in the giga scale of things. Yet how extraordinarily mysterious our very existence and all we could be capable of if we stopped more often and meditated on the nature of our very lives.
* je me demande si la NASA va nous jouer la Marseillaise comme musique de fond pour son reportage?
Both photos NASA/JHUAPL