Thought for the week – from the Rev. David Jones
It was in 1961 when Yuri Gagarin became the first man to travel into space. Since those early days space exploration has instilled a greater sense of excitement and anticipation as new advancement and discoveries revealed even more secrets of the universe. The ‘Perseverance’ mission to Mars which successfully landed a craft on the red planet was such an advancement. Many previous missions to Mars have failed due mainly due to the planet’s surface having massive craters, cliffs, cracks and unpredictable winds which can add serious complication to the landing process. Land it did!
Equipped with two microphones, the sounds of the planet were transmitted back to earth, a further advancement in understanding the red planet which has always held a fascination for generations of space enthusiasts.
The instinct to explore and to make new discoveries is deeply rooted in the human psyche and space exploration is no exception. George Mallory who died in his attempt to conquer Everest in 1924 was asked why he would attempt to risk life and limb to conquer Everest the world’s most perilous mountain ‘Because it’s there’ he replied. Ernest Shackleton taking the challenge of South Pole exploration put an advert in the press of his day. ‘Men Wanted: For hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.” The response was overwhelming – adventure and even fear of the unknown was no barrier.
From re-historic times to eighteenth century explorer Marco Polo setting out on his journeys through to the ‘Perseverance’ mission the need to explore remains irresistible. When this deep emotion is undergirded by faith believing in the loving creator God who as the Bible declares was ‘well pleased’ with his creation a new perspective as to the morality and responsibilities which humanity has to the universe and environment emerges.
Entrusted to our care the challenge of our age is not so much to explore or even to colonise the solar system but rather to advance the spirit of goodwill and co-operation among all who seek to explore the outer limits of space. That we are inspired under the fatherhood of God to create a safer, pollution free world where scientific advancement is used for good with no motive of space domination by one world power over another. If the impetus for space explorations is just that ‘it’s there’ then it’s not so much music from Mars we need but the resolve to take seriously our responsibility to the generations that follow us. That we leave not only redundant landing crafts on Mars but nothing but footprints in the sand and a brighter hope for all generations to come.