June 11, 2013
When I saw this double rainbow on my way home from work in Orange County, California, I was drawn by its beauty and rarity.
What came to mind immediately was how our human impulse to understand and explain phenomena like this have put us on a path that has led to an ever-deeper understanding of the processes that shape the universe.
This ongoing quest for knowledge is the drive to fulfill our collective purpose – to be that part of the cosmos by which it understands itself.
I was glad to have my camera with me to capture this image, an event that I have only witnessed a handful of times in my life.
Since an early age, I have been an avid reader of ‘scientific’ science-fiction (decidedly on the Clarke side of the spectrum, and rather opposite Burroughs) and a great fan of science, particularly astronomy.
When Cosmos came along, it brought little new information. However, Dr. Sagan’s lucid presentation helped crystallize in my mind the vision of humankind as continuing a tireless quest for knowledge through the millennia. We are, in essence, a species of scientists.
Precious few human beings are bright and dedicated enough to directly participate in this endeavor. The rest of us, the vast majority of humanity –doctors, truck drivers, artists, teachers, engineers and everyone else-, support their efforts and cheer them on – it takes a vast infrastructure for a sentient species to fulfill its destiny.
My membership in the Planetary Society is a valuable way to stay in touch with those fellow human beings who share this understanding.
An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.