It is 60 years ago today that the era of humanity in space began with the remarkable, courageous orbit of Yuri Gagarin around our beloved planet.
OFF WE GO! he said as his rocket, Vostok 1, began the long, roaring climb out of Earth’s gravity well.
And nothing has been the same since.
Today, we marvel at the Hubble images, the crystal-clear shots of our Solar System’s planets, asteroids, comets, the alien landscapes of Mars and the Moon. We look up to where human feet have walked on our Earth’s own satellite, and listen for the distant peeps of the Voyagers, far beyond the worlds of our Sun.
We have taken that giant leap for humankind, and another, and another. Our eyes have swum in the rich hues of the Lagoon, floated the spirals of galaxies, climbed the Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula.
We have learned, yes–that was the point–but for even the least scientific among us, we have seen.
Because through our courage, our ingenuity, our soaring imaginations, we have gone there. At least to look; one day maybe to touch.
And it began in earnest with Yuri.
This is his night. Look up into the dark New Moon sky, and remember him. Know that the sheer marvel of what we are pierced the sky that day, and never looked back.