Universe, Part 3: A Bearable Vastness

Part 3

Lately I’ve heard a number of interviews with Natalie Batahla, planetary astronomer and poet. She works with NASA’s Kepler Mission,  a search for earthlike planets. Natalie has a beautiful optimism about the ability of science  to reveal mysteries and nourish the human mind.

“I have a great reverence for the mysteries of the cosmos… Carl Sagan said that understanding is a form of ecstasy.”

It’s wonderful to hear a scientist speak about her work, the discovery of knowledge and joy, so much the way artists explain why they do the work that they do.

“No matter how extreme the environment here on earth there seems to be life. nature seems to be creative, and robust, and my thought is that if it’s creative here it’s likely to be true in the whole universe as well. “

Natalie describes Dark Energy as Love:

“Ninety-five percent of the mass of the universe being something we can’t even see, and yet it moves us. It draws us. It creates galaxies. We’re like moving on a current of this gravitational field created by mostly stuff that we can’t see. And the analogy with love just struck me, you know, that it’s like this thing that we can’t see, that we don’t understand yet. It’s everywhere and it moves us.

“I am the universe, and I am taking a look at myself, using my senses.”

Then she quotes her (and my) hero, Carl Sagan:

“for small creatures such as we, the vastness is only bearable through love.”

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