Planet earth is home. Our bodies are adapted to this world, to its gravity, its atmosphere, to the fine balance between the plants that produce the oxygen we breathe and the animals and people who supply the carbon dioxide the plants need to manufacture the oxygen. That is what I would miss leaving, my homeworld, a place where I know I belonged, where I was a very part of the ecosystem, the life of the planet itself. I truly believe there are wonders to behold out there in the far reaches of space and time, but nothing will rival the sun rising over the ocean off the coast of Alaska, the breaching of a humpback whale, the sweet sound of birdsong in the morning, sunsets and summer rain, flowers and rainbows, the uniqueness of a snowflake and the crystal fire of ice coating limb and tree. We are so much a part of this planet because this planet is so much a part of us.
On the popular British TV program, Dr. Who, the doctor delights in talking his earthborn companions throughout time and space treating them to wonders unimagined, yet in the end, where do they request to go? They want to go home. Home to that shining blue planet, which despite the foibles of those who inhabit it, it still and always will be where we want to be. On any other world we will always be like a fish out of water, an outsider, an invader. Were we to find a planet with life, what would we bring along with us? Bacteria dangerous to their ecosystem? Viruses that mutate out of control? Much thought must go into space exploration. Once our bodies leave the confines of our gravity, our bodies begin to change, to weaken, unless artificial gravity can be provided. We would have to search for a planet with less gravity and certainly never again be able to return to earth.
In my recently published book, Escape from Mount Sanctuary*, survivors of an ancient cataclysm live underground, unaware of the wonders of the outside, of an earth healing itself from the devastation wrought upon it. Theirs is the opportunity to come forth, into the light and discover the world all over again. The discovery of what you are a part of can be every bit as exciting as exploring Mars. Now I am not suggesting we forgo space travel and exploration. I’m all for that, but it will take place after my time has run out.
So in the meantime, I’ll enjoy all the beauty of this planet as much as I can, work to protect what makes this planet special, for despite speculation to the contrary, many scientists believe planets like this one are few and far between. We may have a real treasure on our hands, a treasure to protect and defend and not exploit. What would I miss on that rocket to Mars? – I would miss my home
. *Escape from Mount Sanctuary is available in both print and digital formats through Amazon.com