After more than 100 days and a journey of a million miles, DSCOVR, the Deep Space Climate Observatory, has reached its destination at L1, the neutral gravity point between the earth and the sun. On July 6, 2015, the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), which is on board the satellite, returned its first photo of the entire sunlit side of Earth—taken from ONE MILLION miles away. It is a beauty.
Reminiscent of the “Blue Marble” photo that was taken by Apollo 17 in 1972, the new high definition picture of Earth shows North and Central America, lightly dressed in clouds, and basking in the oceans of blue water. The east coast of the US is clearly visible. It’s the ultimate picture of home.
Sometime in September, the satellite will begin sending daily pictures home—allowing scientists to study the atmosphere of the entire planet.
Wow! Sometimes in this technological age we just forget to say wow! We become too accustomed to the powerful tools we have for gathering data about our world and ourselves. We don’t think about the extraordinary amount of data being generated each day, and the amazing ways in which this information will change and enrich our lives. We forget to live in wonder.
“Wisdom begins in wonder,” said the old philosopher Socrates. Without a sense of wonder and appreciation, the capacity for lifelong learning begins to be muted. The opportunities for those “ah-ha!” moments become much less frequent. And we don’t benefit from wisdom that is derived from paying attention to what’s happening on our own blue planet, and the wonder-filled things that are unique to our own situations.
I love the picture. I’m in awe of the beauty of our world. I’m amazed at how much there is for us to learn—and by the incredible tools we can use to do so. There are very few words I love more than this one: “Wow!”