On Exploring the Final Frontier

My Exploring series ends with a salute to what some call the final frontier.

Star Trek fans know these abbreviated words:

Space: The final frontier
To explore strange new worlds
To seek out new life and new civilizations
To boldly go where no man has gone before

The universe is a big place. Think about Earth as that pale blue dot in our solar system – which is only a speck in the Milky Way galaxy – which is a very small portion in a changing and expanding universe.

Long-time readers here realize my fondness for the programs studying deep space. Not only have I used those images as my headers, but I find deep space to be mesmerizing, invigorating, awe-inspiring, majestic, and more.

Watch this video, and then, tell us what thoughts come to your mind when you see images from deep space.

75 thoughts on “On Exploring the Final Frontier

  1. I have just finished watching the series presented by Prof. Brian Cox for the BBC… a fascinating series, just a little difficult for this aging brain to comprehend.. the series is called “Wonders of the solar system” have you seen it ??

  2. Hi Frank, is really impressive what the Voyager and the Hubble telescope were able to resume… Apparently many of these images look like an artist’s canvas, in which the colors are wisely placed to provide a vision so complex and deep that touches the soul, not just the outward vision shown by the eyes. These images, often associated to the music on the frequencies isotonic or mantric, have a subtle power… Incredibly inspiring… and then, the question I ask myself is always the same… “where do we come from? who are we? and which were my previous lives?”
    Then I smile to my curiosity and, wisely, I live the instant, here and now!
    I wish you peace in 2014 :-) claudine

    • Claudine,
      I not only agree, but you have said it so well. These images give me so many emotions as soulful, inspirational, mysterious, mystical, powerful, and more. thanks for your words.

  3. Just amazing how they are able to take photos like this of other planets so far away, and so stunning clear – just stunning. I like that Venus has loads of green and blue …

  4. As I watched this video on this bright sunny morning, the window behind me reflected on the left side of the screen. A cardinal landed on the window bird feeder, and watched along with me. It was incredibly beautiful.

    I’m pretty sure he was looking to see if you included Pluto ;)

  5. The vastness of space is difficult to grasp, and these beautiful images give the opposite impression, that the void is full. The images of the planets in this clip are color enhanced but the others are the result of super magnification. Space itself is a poor target for photography, needless to say.

    The most promising technology for interstellar travel, at least until someone invents the improbable matter-antimatter warp drive, is the solar sail. Made of ultra-thin reflective plastic, the solar sail has the potential to overtake the Voyager spacecraft in eight years and to reach the nearest star in about twenty years. We ought to send a robotic voyager on that mission because we need to know if life exists elsewhere. The implications are enormous, not just for science but for philosophy.

      • Thanks, Frank, for that link to the discussion of color on the Hubble website. I would encourage those of your readers with a technical bent to read it.

        This is an aspect of astronomy that I didn’t fully appreciate, that unprocessed photography of stars comes out mostly black and white. (I am assuming that the HST is not unique in this regard.) We should not feel deceived, I submit, because the assignment of colors, while somewhat subjective, is done on the basis of the filtered frequency spectrum and consistent with the colors associated with the elements that emit those frequencies. In that sense, the colors convey consistently meaningful information.

        This is a good example, I think, of why science is worthy of trust. It seeks clarity through honest and open discussion within the collegial community of experts.

        • Glad you enjoyed the article, and given your background, I’m not surprised. My guess this process is not unique to HST because I’ve seen similar images from the European Space Agency.

          Good point about this process as a trustworthy point about science. Although a segment of society views science with selective trust, I contend they are the minority.

  6. When I watch that video, it makes me realize how small my problems are, how large my dreams can be and how warm my home truly is. Nice way to ring in the New Year, Frank. Thanks.

  7. Space: The final frontier!,,,, Star Trek I have to say held me always in its spell, As do programmes about outer-space, Loved your series :-) And its amazing to think that the Universe is Expanding.. :-) onwards and Outwards

    • Sue,
      Hubble has been able to bring images from so far away and make them see so close … and all that beauty and action going on up there in the sky of twinkling specks of light.

  8. Whenever I look at these images Frank there is an expansion of my soul – I am filled with awe at the creative process of the universe. Those images can make us feel very small – but also wonderfully and intricately connected – we are all made of the same stuff! I think of Carl Sagan’s words about ‘this little blue dot’ and am convinced that if everyone could really hear and understand those words our world would be a different place.

    The universe is vast, unfathomable and mysterious. We are full of opinions, theories and facts. It is good to let those go for a moment and simply observe and wonder. Thank you!

    • Pauline,
      I very much appreciated the way you think! Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot is one of my favorites, so here it is for you … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p86BPM1GV8M …. Meanwhile, if you are interested, I have written many posts about the interchange between religion & science (see the Categories in the sidebar). After all, I’ve used images like these to help make my point. Cheers to your awe and wonder!

  9. As if the mention of Star Trek wasn’t enough [would be for me anyway!] you’re sharing this spectacular video of majestic [indeed] space images. What an ending to the series [although I do feel sad it’s ended…] :-)

    • Marina,
      Oh my … you as a Trekkie is something I didn’t know! :) Deep space images cause me to stand in awe and wonder. Glad you enjoyed the series. It was fun for me, and at a good time with the holidays.

  10. Damn, that’s STUNNING, Frank. I think I saw at least two sea horses. Must be hallucinating.

    Sorry to have been away since Christmas. We had guests from the US and then did some traveling around our new country. Didn’t always have internet. I’m trying now to get back into the swing of things.

    Hope you had a great holiday. Happy New Year.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

  11. This very cool video made me think the usual thought: “What’s out there?” It also made me think of a very cool sci-fi film that Milton and I saw in 2011 called “Another Earth”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8hEwMMDtFY Have you seen that film Frank? It’s an independent film that’s so well done and extremely thought provoking. It was made on a shoestring so there are not a lot of special effects. Check it out on a night when you don’t have much going on. I think it might resonate with you.

  12. Majestic is exactly it, Frank.
    When I see these images (wonderful video), I truly find it hard to believe it’s actual real outer space footage. It often looks like artwork. Splendourous artwork.

    When I even consider outer space, I’m quietened and just cannot imagine. But whether I imagine or not, there it is.

  13. Enjoyed the video, Frank! Of course, whenever I see space videos, I can’t but help think about our girl with the stars in her eyes ;) I personally enjoyed the comments – videos like this provoke some deep thinking – so great job!

  14. Aw Frank–what a way to uplift my spirits on a cold, dull, cloudy day. WW and I are HUGE Star Trek fans. I loved your video. It made me wonder how atheists could believe there isn’t a god when they look at something like this, and it caused me to scratch my head when I thought of those I know who don’t believe that science is the gateway to all that wonderment. Happy New Year, my friend.

    • E-Tom,
      Happy New Year to you and WW!

      Although these images give my a theology rush about the glories of creation, for food for thought, I believe many atheists get a similar rush about the universe’s creative process – but simply for a naturalist perspective of science.

        • I look to Carl Sagan as a prime example of a non-believe who stands in awe at the universe … and, for the most part, he wasn’t one combative with religion …. and yes, I find Sagan words as inspiring while strengthen my belief system.

  15. Thank you. These are wonderful images. Well, the universe certainly does not revolve around the earth and man is definitely not at its center. We now know that the chemical elements of our life came from the stars. Spinning out the implications of these statements should take time enough.

  16. Impressive! I always am drawn to the wonders of the universe. Just thinking of what could be out there reminds me how small our lives and problems really are and fills me with hope and confidence and wonder. Thanks for sharing. Let’s just keep “boldly go[ing]”!

  17. It strikes me with wonder, just as looking up at the stars does, and it makes me realize how small we really are. When I was little, I wanted to be an astronaut. Now I’m afraid to fly. Strange, but true. I enjoyed the video, Frank. Thank you. :)

    • Robin,
      How small we really are … ah yes … Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot rings so true. It’s amazing that these images are of stuff going on up there in an area that to us is just black with twinkles. Simply amazing! Thanks for sharing your dream from your youth.

  18. Fantastic! Sometimes I like to ponder the vastness of the universe and appreciate the wonder of it all. We are part of something much larger than we have the capacity to know. I very much like your choice of the word “majestic.” I think that is it!

  19. That was stunning, we are so small in context. Amazing we think we are the center of the universe and all things revolve around us. Dang.

    I have so enjoyed these wonderful videos Frank. Thank you

    • Val,
      I’ll take the comment about the center of the universe two ways …. The feeling is no doubt about human selfishness, but on the other hand, the good news is that few year actually believe it on a universal scale.

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