Discovery and Exploration: A Vital Partnership


Humankind’s history is an endless chronicle of exploration and discovery. Almost all of those reports are dramatic, exciting and testaments of both great courage and human sacrifice.  As a youngster I thrived on those stories and populated many daydreams with my own excursions.  I know I was not alone, and many other youngsters later turned their daydreams into action and great achievement. The same thing is happening today, and we have been witness to an entire legion of new heroes who reach upward to probe the great domains of our solar system, our galaxy, and the universe.

I have included a picture of Marco Polo because of the 13th Century expedition that he took with his father to explore the then known Earth (believed to be flat, with limited landmass surrounded by ocean) to the East.  Motivated by the desire to improve trade and profits, science was not a priority; however,  on their return they brought treasures of Oriental culture and science that could be regarded as the first major renaissance of the sciences.   During their exploration of what is now Eastern Europe and China, the Polos made numerous discoveries which then promoted them to conduct more explorations which in turn produced more discoveries.  The end result, as historians have recorded, was a blending of Eastern and Western cultural, philosophical and scientific thought that exerted a major change in humankind and society.

Another classic example of the impact of exploration and discovery is Galileo’s exploration of the universe.  The telescope was his instrument of exploration and it produced a continuing flow of discoveries up to this very day.  As we know those explorations and discoveries involving our solar system, our galaxy and the universe continue and the explanations associated with each often inspire entirely new series of explorations and discoveries. I liken it to a inalienable, cosmic momentum of exploration and discovery that is infinite in scope and new knowledge.  A most recent example of this is the announcement by quantum theory physicists that their research indicates that dark matter and dark energy have less of an effect on the nature of the universe than previously described.  This announcement for certain will or already has initiated a whole set of new explorations and discoveries that will open even more doors to humankind’s understanding of all that surrounds us.

The cosmic momentum I refer to above seems most likely to be the underlying force that pushes humankind forward along our evolutionary pathway.  If we found a way to stop, we would flounder and slowly dwindle into extinction. It is my opinion that some of us, at least, simply cannot let that happen.  In my previous post (Exploration: An Essential of Life) I included a quote that links exploration to genetic influences. You may refer to that post for more details in that regard.  I personally ascribe to that theory as it strengthens the belief (mine and many others) that humankind has an innate drive and purpose to explore and discover.

Perhaps the most dramatic new stimulus to increase exploration and

Kepler Exo-Planet Search Area

discovery (along with the vital explanations) is the findings by the Kepler Mission in which we are presented with the identification of hundreds of probable extra-terrestrial planets; some of which may be like our own. This is scientifically inflammatory. We can expect an increase in innovative ways to extend and expand those discoveries to the point where we begin to explore identifiable planets in hopes of discovering habitable, Earth-like planets. The question, “Is There Life Out There?” suddenly becomes a shout and a stimulus for more explorations, more discoveries and a host of new explanations that expand our scientific understanding of our cosmic environment.  An intellectually invigorating and personally exciting prospect. Can we honestly turn away from such promise and adventure? I do not think it is humanly possible.  Quo Vadis?

CREDITS:

Images:

Marco Polo taken from Discovers and Explorers – The Brandenburg Studies

Kepler Search Area: Courtesy NASA/KPL and Kepler Mission

Text:

Is There Life Out There? by – Dr. Sara Seager

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One Comment on “Discovery and Exploration: A Vital Partnership”


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eric Ferguson, Waddell Robey. Waddell Robey said: Discovery and Exploration: A Vital Partnership: http://wp.me/po5Ku-Q […]


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