By Chandler Walter, Editor-in-Chief
I generally wait until after editing the weekly issue of the Other Press to decide what to write my Lettitor on, and with good reason: One, I want it to relate to what is being talked about in the issue (most specifically the feature, if possible) and two, I generally have no idea what to write about anyway.
Including Star Wars related articles—and yes, I very much do count those—we have no less than four space-related writes ups in this week’s issue… Five now that I’ve begun typing this. Along with the aforementioned Star Wars articles (there are two of them), we had a great write-up about Elon Musk’s race to Mars, and a brief-yet-detailed explanation of humankind’s history in exploring the cosmos—flip over to the centrespread to find that one.
I always loved the idea of space, and I was always a little terrified of it. The utter darkness, the sheer vastness, the insignificance of our entire world appearing as a speck of dust suspended in a sunbeam… It all seemed like too much to comprehend. It feels safer to live in the here and now, in my bed, in my room, in my city, than to start thinking about what may or may not be out there, and what that could or could not mean for everyone in the human race.
The best thing about the complete unknown of it all, however, is the opportunity it opens up for storytellers. From Star Trek to Rick and Morty, the complete blank slate of “alien life” or other planets, galaxies, even universes, is the perfect starting point for some of our most memorable and creative works of fiction.
Thousands of years ago humans looked to the skies and thought it all ended at the clouds. They thought that those giant balls of light in the sky rotated around earth, or that stars were just god-made pinpricks in the dark blanket of night.
We, as humankind, like to think that we’re on the cutting edge of technology; that with our tablets and cellphones, satellites and fidget spinners, there really is no going up from here. We may have uncovered every foot of land in this world of ours (not counting the oceans, of course) but when it comes to space exploration, we are as blind as baby turtles crawling around in circles—and probably much less adorable.
We may see a person on Mars in our life time, or a way to travel even further. We might get to experience space flight with the same ease in which we fly through the skies nowadays, or our grandchildren’s grandchildren will get that honour (if we don’t blow ourselves up before that). But the true edge of the universe may not ever be seen by humanity—depending on our longevity as a species—and we may not ever even discover its existence, or lack thereof, before the jumped-up monkeys that we are return back to the dirt.
But at least we can try, and at least we can imagine.