31 March 2017

Astronomical Odds Against Us

Computer illustration by Dana Berry, commissioned by National Geographic magazine for its July 2013 issue cover, depicting the formation of the Earth's Moon in a scientifically plausible visual style. 

The prevailing theory is the young Earth collided with a Mars sized planet in a manner that caused much of the Earth's material to eject out and eventually coalesce into the Moon, initially in a nearer orbit than today. 

I find it fascinating to learn that things we consider stable or permanent on a human timescale, such as the orbit of planets, the distance to the Moon, or even something as fundamental as sunshine, are themselves subject to gradual or sometimes devastatingly dramatic change. 

Life is precious, the Earth is sacred, and we are not just made of star stuff and a way for the universe to know itself, but we are also a unique opportunity to feel and show gratitude for having come into existence despite literally astronomical odds against us.