This image was taken in a desert. In the sky you see three points of light. Those lights are Earth, Venus and jupiter. Earth? Of course. This picture was taken on Mars.
How does that image make you feel? Proud? It is remarkable that we have the ability to send out machines to other worlds, and in doing so expand our view so far. Does it make you appreciate how wonderful our planet is? We discover new planets around other stars all the time now. Planets appear to be very common. There are likely hundreds of millions or more in our galaxy alone.
So far, we only know of one like Earth–only one planet so blue, so perfectly temperate. We live on the only rock floating in space positively covered in water and thriving with life and biological diversity.
It makes our politics seem silly, doesn't it? We posture over the best ideology to operate tiny land masses that are completely invisible from even the planets closest to us. We have fierce and fiery arguments over how much government intervention is the right amount. We even fight wars over who has the right to land or resources.
There are countless objects in our own solar system large enough to smite us which drift around on aimless orbits. These objects have hit our little home before, and they will do so again. Perhaps not for millions of years, if we are fortunate.
I study astronomy. I share it with you. I do that because I believe deeply it is time to begin to elevate our discussion as a species. When you view the Earth from other worlds you become aware of just what a treasure, and indeed what a gift we have been given. We must cherish it, as it is the only such gift we have.
I am a Christian, but I am also an avid scientist. My prayer is that the every expanding knowledge of how our Universe was made would elevate us, the Believers and those who do not, to understand just how much we share, and how much our cooperation is needed.
Do you believe (as I do) God created our world and suspended it in space? Do you believe a perfect cradle was made for us? Then I ask you to look at our other planetary neighbors and understand just how fragile our cradle is. Venus and Mars have much to tell us about what happens to planets with too few plants or the wrong balance of heating gases.
Do you believe that the universe was created by completely natural phenomenon? If so, you likely already understand the precious rarity of life. You also contemplate morality as something that emerged in social species as a way to ensure higher survival rates for members of the group. Would you consider that such a neurological drive for morality may also exist for belief? And that it has healthy and unhealthy expressions in society? I want you to know that there is an awakening in the world of faith where science is accepted, and many more people of faith every day want to partner with you.
Astronomy should tell us all the absolute necessity of transcending our differences and working together. I hope we are ready for that lesson.