Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Voyager Passes Into Interstellar Space

Betsy McKenzie

Voyager has crossed into
Interstellar space.
Fragile messenger, perhaps
Ill-conceived, with a map:
“Here is where to find
My home world!”

Ticking away, patiently,
Until somebody picks it up.
Until somebody decodes the
Messages, and
Cares enough to come

How can we imagine
We are ready to meet
Minds from other worlds?
We deal so ill-ly with
Blue whales, Massai warriors,
Women, gays, the disabled,
African gray parrots and
Australian aborigines.
We had better practice!

January 15, 2006

The image of the gold "message in a bottle" as NASA likes to refer to the plaque, is from The image of the Voyager 2 is from I was surprised how hard I found it to get a nice NASA press statement about this watershed event, Voyager 1 passing beyond our outermost solar system into true interstellar space. I found this brief entry on a British site,, and a referral back to the NASA/ JPL home page, The most helpful page was a story dated in September noting that Voyager 1 passed the Heliopause, where the "solar wind smashes into the thin wind between the stars." If that isn't evocative, I don't know what is. Boy, those astrophysicists get me every time with the beauty of the universe!

So, hold onto your metaphorical hats; we've invited the universe to our house. It seemed like such a good idea when Carl Sagan pitched it in the 1970's. I guess it will take a while for the guests to get here, so we've got a while to clean up and learn to act right. Or, alternatively, get our guns polished and our wills finished.

It does give you some perspective on the end of librarianship, I guess.

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