A new post from Deacon David:
In the last three weeks I’ve written about awe, revelation, and interior experience. “Awe is the lived experience of oneness with the universe”; [quoting Jesus’s words to Peter] “Flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but my heavenly father”; and “Events occur all around us, but events happen within us.” This past Friday, September 15, 2017, an event occurred that beautifully illustrates the interior experiences of awe and revelation—the end of the Cassini mission to Saturn.
It took a rocket seven years to deliver Cassini and its scientific equipment almost 940,000,000 miles to Saturn. Then, for the past 13 years, this amazing probe circled Saturn and its moons taking pictures, conducting experiments, and sending gigabytes of data back to earth for analysis. And then, nearly out of fuel, it was intentionally atomized as it entered Saturn’s atmosphere. The scientists and engineers wept and cheered and laughed.
Do you remember your experience the first time you saw Earth from space. People thought that it looked like a blue marble. Some photos showed the “earthrise” from the surface of the moon. Have you seen the tiny speck of the earth as photographed from the Cassini space craft orbiting Saturn? As I stared at the photo, the click of the camera’s shutter on the Cassini probe happened inside me. What I began to experience as incredulity and amazement, soon became fascination, wonder and awe. I wept and cheered and laughed.
This event is significant for several reasons. It is an external event that evokes strong internal responses. For some people, the vicarious experience of space travel and seeing earth from space has been akin to a religious experience. That combination of ingredients, external event, internal response, and “religious experience” is what I’ll write more about next. I hope you’ll check out the Cassini-related images and videos available on the nasa.gov website.