Monday, April 29, 2013

Beyond Apollo, Sixth Seminar

Taurus in Pleiades

Science, Art, Communication, and Cosmology

“We are stardust. We are billion year-old carbon. 
And we have to get ourselves back in the Garden.”
                                (Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young 1969)

Almost a thousand years ago, Chinese astronomers saw a new star burst forth in the heavens. Half-a-world away, amid the arid beauties of the American Southwest, this same star was watched by Pueblo Indians and marked on sandstone below a crescent moon. It has taken a millennium to decode the message of its passing. For what its light was bringing across 6,000 empty light years to their eyes was the death throes of a mighty denizen of heaven, a funeral pyre so immense that in its seething heart would be created elements for countless minds unborn, as had the elements within those very watchers been conceived amid the dying of still more ancient suns. 

It was a cycle framed of elegance: from dust to star and in the end to dust again. For one brief planetary moment, consciousness would flourish on the hearth of many suns, to disappear too soon into the interstellar night, swept outward with the atoms of its dying star. But in-between – a proton of the universe would gaze out upon itself and ask the question:     

Participants in discussions for the Sixth Seminar include:

Isaac Asimov, author, bio-chemist

Donald Davis, artist

Robert Duncan-Enzmann, Fellow, New York Academy of Sciences

Gilette Griffin, Director Princeton Museum of Meso-American Art

Norman Mailer, author

Frederick Pohl, author

Burgertt Roberts, poet

Topics include: 

Cro-Magnon Man and Ice-Age observation of the moon – the beginning of civilization and   the earliest wedding of art and science 

How the process of observation changes the observer

The identity of energy and information and the universe

The process of science: are there limits?

Science and art – complementary objectives

Apollo Seventeen

I hope you have enjoyed this series. What a sight it must have been to sit on the water and watch Apollo launch into the stars. Powerful and magnificent. This is the last seminar of the Voyage Beyond Apollo. It is also the most elegantly described. The questions of discussion were potent then, and they are still so now. Taken together, the seminars pose crucial questions for thinkers of today to reflect upon, and to ponder why? Why are we not colonizing? Why are we not looking for a way to preserve the human race for all time? Why has it taken decades to crawl ahead and then stall out, when in one short decade we raced into the sea of stars? Technology went from radio to rockets in less than 100 years. Rolling forward exponentially in many areas, our technology has unfolded rapidly. Except in space. Why? The inventions of necessary technology for space exploration benefit all areas of human life on earth. Energy, medical, convenience, travel, research, economic growth, jobs.

…… So what happened? Who is out there that is willing to pick the flag up again and run?

One for the money
Two for the show
Three to get ready
Four --- GO!
Just GO.

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