On Saturday Earth’s moon received its first visitor in more than 35 years, as China’s Chang’e 3 spacecraft touched down on the lunar surface. The spacecraft contained a rover nicknamed “Jade Rabbit,” which exited the craft on Sunday and began exploring the nearby plain. Much of “Jade Rabbit’s” equipment is meant to analyze rocks and minerals on the moon — Chinese scientists say they’re excited about the prospect of mining the moon for useful elements. Additionally, the rover is close to cooled lava flows that could fill in gaps in our understanding of the moon’s history.
“Space exploration — an infinite frontier,” written several years ago on the 50th anniversary of the US’s NASA, reminds us that space exploration can open up doors that allow us to more clearly perceive God’s infinite creation.
“Why intelligent life is throughout the universe” expands on this theme, reminding us that although the physical data collected by astrobiologists and other scientists doesn’t tell us the whole story about creation, it points us toward a more expansive view of the universe and of ourselves. The author writes, “This research ... will expand our horizons and free us to think beyond the confines of planet Earth.”
In “Let’s be luminous,” the author tells of how a full eclipse of the moon enabled her to perceive countless stars just around the moon’s outline. As Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount, each one of us was created by God to shine — to express limitless spiritual qualities such as intelligence, curiosity, and honesty; and to share these qualities freely with others.
As we learn more about the planets in our solar system and beyond, we’ll come to see more and more clearly how God’s creation, which includes each of us, is perfect and unlimited.