To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before…

I’ve just put my name down to be involved in a space project run by NASA!

No I’m not going to become an astronaut; although weightlessness sounds fun I suspect I’m not up to the rigours of spaceflight – my family might be roller-coaster speed freaks, but I am a little more hesitant than them. No, I’m participating in a much safer and less hands-on fashion, in a micro-chip.

NASA are sending a spacecraft, the OSIRIS-Rex, into space which will call in on asteroid Bennu in 2016, sending a 60g sample from its surface back down to earth before continuing out into space where it will spend its last days orbiting the Sun. On it will be a micro-chip containing the names of all who want to participate (to do so head over to: http://planetary.org/bennu). A similar chip will be in the Sample Return Capsule which will bring the 60g sample back to earth. How cool is that! My name will be listed as will my participation number: #00205275. The purpose of the mission is both research in general, but also an investigation into the composition of asteroids with the possibility of mining them in the future for minerals as we deplete resources such as zinc and gold here on earth. Of course having my name on a micro-chip is really only a gimmick, but the boy inside me still finds it exciting that something representing me is going out into space and landing on an asteroid! Just imagine that if there are any little green men out there, they could one day find the spacecraft, interpret our language and read my name.

Graham Kendrick has written many songs for the Church over the years. One line in particular stands out for me from The Servant King (From heaven You Came) and that is the line ‘hands that flung stars into space to cruel nails surrendered’. This vivid word picture has always captured my imagination. That the one who created the universe, the wonders of space, stars, planets, asteroids, super nova and the magnificent aurora borealis should become one of us and submit himself to us even to the Cross, such a crude construction compared to the magnificent creation he wrought, is a staggering thought and yet this is the way that God has sent his name from heaven to us, not in a microchip but in person, his Son, born as one of us.

Church Newsletter 26.01.14

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