Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Fool's Errand

Journeys to planets and stars are dreams many of us have.  Therefore, movies such as The Martian and then Passengers (2016) starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt have great appeal.  Years of travel from Earth to those distant locations might be feasible eventually, but are not that appealing to those who crave diversity and more than a little elbow room.

A recent Scientific American issue (February 2017) potentially makes such trips more than a little bit dangerous.  An article entitled “Deep Space Deal Breaker” began with “New studies show cosmic radiation could be even more damaging to astronauts brains than we thought” and “Can humanity still live and travel among the stars?”  

Research on mice has revealed that charged particles simulating radiation astronauts get in space causes behavioral declines and neural damage – nerves associated with learning and memory.   Radiation can pass through hulls of spacecraft and the bodies of astronauts.   However, the difference between these experiments with mice and doses men and women would receive over many months to years is mice were exposed to high doses of radiation in minutes.   Who knows what the real risks are?   Still, loss of memory and permanent cell damage is nothing to scoff at.

All this reminds us that life on Earth is precious and a gift from God – one not to waste.   Focusing on other planets seems to be a waste of time unless it’s done coincident with sound and effective steps to save our planet that is at risk despite what climate change deniers insist and our government tries to downplay. 

We should not plan to escape our planet.  We must protect it.  Odds are there is nothing like it anywhere else in the universe.   If there is, we’ll never find it.   Such a fool’s errand!   A bird in the hand is worth far more than two in the bush.

Deacon David Pierce  

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