From above

I’ve just seen a fabulous time-lapse video, in The Telegraph, of night-illuminated UK from above, made by Major Tim Peake up there in the International Space Station. And Ian Sample of The Guardian writes today:

Traces of DNA found in remains of
Neanderthal woman show date of first
human-Neanderthal couplings is tens of
millennia earlier than previously thought

Further to yesterday’s post I muse that we’re capable of looking backwards (in this case tens of millennia after events took place) and forwards, sideways, up and down, from above and from below – consciousness capable of “infinite extension” on the road to integration. There is plenty of cause for hope – and daily evidence of growth.


I’ve been watching BBC2’s Stargazing Live and am literally awestruck. My boyhood imagination was profoundly touched by the early Apollo Missions, and although not one of the patient sorts that willingly stay up all night with a flask and a telescope, the enormity, excitement and energy of physics and space exploration has me spellbound.

Presenters Dara Ó Briain and Professor Brian Cox, astronaut Tim Peake – currently one of the team aboard the International Space Station, and almost everyone associated with the tv programme, with the Jodrell Bank observatory, and with the space mission, have a distinctive aura about and around them that I can only think to describe as an infectious joy. They’re all smiling, buzzing, and one has the impression that they’re simply bursting to share the news of all they’re learning.

How can I be surprised by such a joy? Humankind is moving at a rate of knots from one glorious discovery to another. Stunning new digital photography of Pluto is immeasurably better than that available only twelve months ago. Tim Peake is able to chatter to home-base as though leaning over a garden fence. Our sense of the sheer enormity of the Universe rolls along in tandem with our growing knowledge of the infinite power contained in single atoms.

Paying attention to Uni-verse. One-world-ness. Re-discovering. Re-membering. Re-uniting separated entities. Pushing boundaries. Overcoming obstacles, contemplation, meditation, patience, prayer, awe and wonder. Communion.

Mindfulness is a lifetime’s journey along a path that
ultimately leads nowhere, only to who you are

Jon Kabbat-Zinn

At home in the heavens

Briton Tim Peake, Russian Yuri Malenchenko and American Tim Kopra have been welcomed aboard the International Space Station (ISS), which will be their home for the next six months.

Every orbit of the ISS is different due to drops in altitude – the orbit is adjusted with occasional reboosts. During its orbit, the ISS is between 230 and 286 miles (370-460km) above the Earth’s surface.

Live From Space – see the ISS Tracker – Channel 4

There’s so much about all this that I find profoundly exciting and inspiring, but I’ve been especially tickled this week by Professor Brian Cox reminding the world that, since ISS has been manned continuously since 1999 it has not been possible to say that the entire human race lives on one planet; he hopes that it will never be possible to say so again.

Humankind continues to evolve and grow, aspiring and reaching out to hitherto undreamed of knowledge and possibilities. I’m proud of these pioneers, and grateful to them too. It’s not very long ago that the Wright brothers showed us that humankind could fly. Together with today’s rocketing astronauts they’ve persuaded us that human hopes and aspirations need not die.