At times like these it’s good to think beyond humanity and all that’s happening on our rather insignificant planet.
As I mature – and with lots of time to spare right now! – I find myself increasingly drawn towards the rest of space rather than the tiny speck of it we occupy.
With all that universe out there and what we know about how widespread life is on our own world I’m convinced that there is intelligent life on other planets.
I’d love to live long enough to see First Contact, it would be the biggest moment in humanity, bigger even than coronavirus! It would be truly awesome in the proper sense of the word.
I tell myself that if alien life was intelligent enough to get here then they’d surely be a force for good.
Thirty years ago this month in April, 1990, the Hubble telescope was launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard the space shuttle Discovery, along with a five-astronaut crew.
Deployed into Earth’s orbit a day later, the telescope has opened a new eye onto the cosmos with its never-ending, breathtaking celestial snapshots which have helped redefine my view of the universe and our place in time and space.
Unencumbered by Earth’s blurring atmosphere, the space observatory unveils the universe in unprecedented crystal-clear sharpness across a broad range of wavelengths, from ultraviolet to near-infrared light.
Hubble’s accomplishments include:
- measuring the expansion and acceleration rate of the universe
- finding that black holes are common among galaxies
- characterising the atmospheres of planets around other stars
- monitoring weather changes on planets across our solar system and
- looking back in time across 97% of the universe to chronicle the birth and evolution of stars and galaxies.
Hubble has yielded to date 1.4 million observations and provided data that astronomers around the world have used to write more than 17,000 scientific publications, making it the most prolific space observatory in history.
It truly is one of mankind’s great achievements and in the midst of this global pandemic should help us focus on what we can accomplish and keep our worldly concerns in context.
Watch this video to view some of Hubble’s amazing images.