All posts tagged: Space exploration

Content dealing with space exploration.

Perseid Meteor Showers

Transience, Juxtaprose Magazine

Happy to have a new personal essay up in the summer issue of Juxtaprose, a literary magazine that juxtaposes both emerging and established writers as well as local and global ones. It seemed a good fit as Transience itself contrasts the terrestrial with the celestial, the profound with the quotidian, the intimate with the vastly distant: “…Hundreds of us had gathered for the Perseid meteor showers, drawn to a source phenomenon that may have sparked our species’ penchant for fireworks, rock concerts, and other grand spectacles. Throughout the ages cultures gave names to these star sacrifices, imbued them with intention, granted them power. Shooting stars were transmuted into the slings of slighted gods, dragons of fortune and calamity, the tears of martyred saints. Even in modern times, when we know that they comprise mere rock and debris, many of us continue to attach meaning to these mineral rains. Some of us still seek miracles by appealing to forces we do not understand and cannot master. I still, on occasion, have the need to wish upon …

Giant Steel Crab George Norris

What Matters, River Teeth Journal

Recently, I had the honour to contribute a short-short to “Beautiful Things”, the online section of River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative. River Teeth is one of the most well-known creative nonfiction publications around, and in my opinion has the most inspired name. On its origin: “…there are hard, cross-grained whorls of human experience that remain inexplicably lodged in us, long after the straight-grained narrative material that housed them has washed away. Most of these whorls are not stories, exactly: more often they’re self-contained images of shock or of inordinate empathy; moments of violence, uncaught dishonesty, tomfoolery; of mystical terror; lust; joy. These are our “river teeth”-the knots of experience that once tapped into our heartwood, and now defy the passing of time.” – David James Duncan On what “Beautiful Things” look like: “Glimpses, glimmers, meditations, moments, reflections, refractions, interrupted shadows, river shimmers, darkened mirrors, keyholes, kaleidoscopes, earring hoops, slabs of cracked granite, cracks where the light gets in. Beautiful things.” – River Teeth’s website I won’t spoil “What Matters” since it’s less than …

Illusion of Light: Journey Into the Unseen

Inspired after writing about Antoine De Saint-Exupéry’s Wind, Sand and Stars, I was fortunate to come across Illusion of Light: A Journey into the Unseen, a beautifully shot time-lapse film trailer showcasing the night skies of the Sierra Nevada mountains and southwest deserts of the US. Watching this teaser for the full film expected to debut in 2017, I began to see why we as a species etch shapes and attach meanings to the wheeling heavens, why we constantly appeal to it for guidance and direction, and why we can be so awed as to dedicate our whole lives to teasing apart its mysteries. “Brad Goldpaint spent 3 years of creative exploration crafting visual metaphors which reflect aspects of existence that are often hidden from everyday sight. We interact with these miracles on a daily basis yet we are amazed at the infinite magnitude of our planet. We encourage you to raise your eyes towards the night sky. Explore. Realize you are a part of the illusion and the universe is a part of you.” – Vimeo video …

Overview Effect Wordle

A Cognitive Shift: The Overview Effect

Released on the 40th anniversary of Apollo 17’s iconic Blue Marble photograph, Overview is a short film that examines the peculiar cognitive shift experienced by many who have been to space. The 15-minute piece draws upon insights from astronauts, philosophers, and authors to explore how perspective can drastically change the way people think about their relationship with the world. Tightly paced and expertly scored by the Human Suits, I found Overview to be an accessible and thought-provoking documentary that conveys the necessity of considering the big picture if we are to forge a sustainable future.

Distance, Perspective, Awe: The Overview Effect

I recently came across this short film created by a group called the Planetary Collective and was immediately captivated by what astronauts, philosophers, and authors described as the “Overview Effect”: A full piece exploring the ideas and themes of the film will be up on Ekostories in a few weeks. I wanted to share this now because the group is doing a Kickstarter for a full-length feature titled Continuum that is due in a week or so, and I figured they could use some exposure.  If Overview is any indication of quality, Continuum is going to be one fascinating and thought-provoking documentary. You can learn more about the project at The Planetary Collective Presents: Continuum.

The Sagan Series, by Reid Gower

The Sagan Series: Redefining the Frontier While researching for my recent entry on Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot, I came across this Vancouver TEDx conference talk presented last November. Reid Gower, one of the millions inspired by the late scientist’s groundbreaking series Cosmos in the 80’s, recognized the potential of Sagan’s storytelling ability to resonate with a new generation. In the Sagan Series, he extracted short powerful narratives from the audiobook version of Pale Blue Dot and combined them with modern imagery and music. The result is a series of videos that are deeply inspirational and soul-stirring. They embody Sagan’s earnest desire for humanity to understand the fragility and appreciate the wonder of “this mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam”, the pale blue dot we all call home. The following chapter in the series, End of an Era: The Final Shuttle Launch, is my favourite: The rest of the chapters can be viewed HERE at the Sagan Series.

Earthrise from the Moon

Here, Home, Us: Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot

As someone fascinated by worlds real or fictional, I was ecstatic to hear about the landing of NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars. News of the successful touchdown represents a great triumph for the downsized agency and helped to rekindle my own interest in looking to the heavens. I sometimes have trouble communicating my passion of the cosmos to others. People occasionally ask: Why is space exploration important? As an environmentalist, shouldn’t you deal with all the problems we have here on Earth before worrying about the stars? What good is it all? Fortunately, there are other much more capable and articulate communicators out there to address these legitimate questions – People like Carl Sagan. One of the world’s most well-known astronomer, astrophysicist, and science popularizer, Sagan’s ability to captivate millions with his Pulitzer-winning Cosmos and the subsequent TV series of the same name is no small feat. It takes an extraordinary storyteller to distill esoteric knowledge down to digestible form and transform it into meaningful and inspiring messages for people of different ages and backgrounds. …