You are not looking at a cloudy sky. This is the Reflection Nebula captured by the Hubble Space Telescope near the end of the Millennium. You can find more pictures like this at the Hubble Heritage Project.
The singular brilliant idea for the orbiting telescope was submitted in 1962. Congress voted for the funding in 1977. It was completed in 1985 and finally launched on April 15, 1990. That would be 48 years ago (since 2010).
People almost a half century ago thought this up. I wonder how many of them died before seeing the fruit of their labor? Even still, the pictures taken will last forever, seen by our kid’s kids.
Why should we care about places we can’t travel to though?
History has taught us how far humanity has gone with a limited here and now mentality. Columbus never would have discovered America; America never would have gone to the moon…
If we don’t reach for something else, apart from what’s before us, then we have truly lost tomorrow. By reaching ahead to things that don’t yet make sense, we develop the tools to face what is yet to come.
Christopher Columbus dreamed of a path to the Indies. His voyage ended in 1492 in the rediscover of the Americas. 285 years later in 1777 the United States of America was born. Consequently when Hitler marched against most of the world 162 years later (1939), the unified effort of many nations including a large sacrifice from the United States kept him from achieving that goal. Columbus knew nothing of this when he sailed past the boundaries of a flat Earth.
Our race to the moon against Russia has laid the foundation for the modern technology we so enjoy today. Doctors heal us better, banks handle our money better, and people across the globe communicate with less of a headache.
Where do we go from here?
Look up my friends. Space extends much further than the moon.
Many years from now historians of the future will run across my blog post and think, “how quaint we were before commercialized space travel.”
We say the same to those who came before us. Those rare thinkers, long since dead, lofty mad men who built the foundation our present lives anchor to.