A No-Nerd’s Confessions

Cosmos, NASA Photo

Friday, February 26, 2021 (24 days until the First Day of Spring)

I’ve wondered why the powerful draw that keeps me reading Carl Sagan’s monumental 1980 book, Cosmos. Sagan was an American astronomer who created Cosmos as the script for his 1980s-era television series of the same name. I hadn’t ever read from cover to cover the the beautifully illustrated book, but immediately dug it out after seeing the Mars Rover descend and land.

Sagan published other astrological books prior to Cosmos, a work fine in its time that made him famous. Technology continued to evolve and soon outdated Sagan’s book and television series. Before dying in 1996, Sagan didn’t actually update Cosmos, but published a sequel in 1994, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.

Last week and awestruck, I watched as Mars Rover descended to the surface of Mars and landed exactly on the target spot! The immensity of that accomplishment, and renewed appreciation of high capabilities in human intelligence combined with computer technology, made me want more knowledge.

My skills in this modern techie world are at a level of simplest “armchair activities” with science and computers. I can’t move forward to learn more how Rover got to Mars and landed perfectly. First, I must renew old high school learning about key historical astrological activities. I had to study accomplishments by key (Western) individuals: Ptolemy, Copernicus, Galilei, and Newton, and eventually, forgot all, except for Galilei. He discovered that the earth isn’t the center of the Universe and so challenged social norms that the Pope went after him. A fascinating bit of social history.

Sagan’s Cosmos lays out from early times the sequence of astrological successes. For example, 2,200 years ago in Alexandria, an astrologer-poet-musician, Eratosthenes, experimented with sticks and figured out that the earth isn’t flat, but curved. Moreover, those sticks enabled him to become first to estimate correctly the kilometers of earth’s circumference, and its distance from the moon.

It feels wise to start way back and refresh all that history, before attempting to move forward to try and grasp modern astrological concepts.

Dear Friends: Backing up and making mental corrections will realign us to new possibilities. Diana

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