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Unknown world waits for exploration

Unknown world waits for exploration Unknown world waits for exploration

Last month, scientists in the earthly office of NASA’s mission operations of unmanned spacecraft responded to the first photos of the heavenly body Pluto with the jubilation often expected from children at play. These were experts in space missions and scientific methods. The project was the result of years of exploration and study building on everything man has gleaned from the heavenly bodies since the beginning of time.
Nine and a half years ago, the unmanned space ship was shot up and onward to the dwarf planet Pluto. Every hour since, its instruments have been monitored and examined by the team on the ground as it sped through it route of three billion miles.
Why the jubilation? They found conditions they did not expect: an alive system with frozen mountains as high as the Rocky Mountains and canyons that rival the Grand Canyon.
John Spencer, a scientist at the Southwest Research Institute, said ‘the findings suggesting a geologically active interior are going to send a lot of geophysicists back to the drawing boards.’
There is a great big unexplored world around all of us. Who would want to miss the excitement? Probably none of us will ever come face to face with a new photo of a first-time look at a far-away solar object, but we all have chances daily to see, hear and feel in new ways.
Sure, these scientists were seeking new facts but, more than that, they sought new understandings of life. When we get off our beaten path, isn’t that what we too can find?
We used to carry the mistaken notion that we went to school, locked information in our brains and used it the rest of our lives. Today, however, by the time I have figured out how to use my new smartphone, a newer model has come out with advanced features that could rarely have been envisioned five years ago. The idea that we all need to be connected with life-long learning is not just an academic dream; it is reality that we need to institutionalize in a manner to make it an assumed condition.
Fifteen years ago, all the gurus of technology preached that ‘information’ was the new coin of wealth. Today, we read articles about the glut and easy access of information that calls for innovation to be utilized. We know where to find information and how to retrieve it. Now the question is, how do we make use of it?
Traveling is one way we laymen and professionals alike can open our horizons to different and new people, cultures, ideas, geography, etc. Traveling doesn’t necessarily take lots of free time or big bucks. Traveling takes the daring to leave one’s comfort zone.
And why wouldn’t we take caution about exploring our unknown places? The news media most often reports the uncommon and disturbing activities of a place. Why? Because we, the viewers, want to be scared but from the safety of our known and comfortable world.
One of my kids used to always watch the yearly airing of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ from behind the couch. Her son is currently creating a new video game. I asked him why such games are often about meeting the enemy and fighting it? He responded, ‘Lots of people like to be challenged and frightened when they know it is make believe.’
The problem comes when we begin to worry that everything unfamiliar to us or what we don’t understand is a threat. For me, the real thing to fear is standing in one place with yesterday’s knowledge and letting progress and change or lethargy and boredom consume you.
Take a different route to work. Go to a new restaurant and eat food that seems weird. Join a group that includes all strangers. Take a school course in a subject you know nothing about. Invite over people from your neighborhood whom you have not talked to before. Go to an art gallery that features modern work. Be innovating and see how it wakes you up, stimulates you, broadens your sensitivities to others and increases your opportunities.
A friend of mine just returned from a two-week trip in Europe. How was it? I asked. She responded that it was exhilarating as it expanded her world view but comforting to return to her home in Indiana.
I feel that same way as I hit the airport after navigating strange and new transportation routes in other states or countries. Indiana is so easy to get around. It is so manageable; it’s just the right size and complexity for me. It is the anchor that gives me security and peace in a turbulent world. It is my safe couch from which to observe the world most days but from where I can launch my wanderings in the great unknown.
When was the last time you just took off and did something that was a new experience for you? With nearly constant change happening so fast in a complex world, it is a temptation to seek out a cozy corner where we understand everything around us.
Stay there for a while to get your breath and then take off into the unknown, wonderful world.