There is God o!
This is not the popular joke!
November 12, 2014 passed us by, leaving us preoccupied with our politics and the horrors of insurgency and the struggle to feed well. The following day, there was even no urgent reporting of the event that happened on a comet some 6.4 billion kilometres away from us.
But history was made when the European Space Agency (ESA) landed a space probe – a small spacecraft with cameras and sensors and all kinds of instruments – on the surface of a comet over 6.4 billion kilometres from our planet.
Rosetta, comet-landing mission, was designed to educate us about the origins of the solar system, was launched in 2004.
But when it landed last week it revealed a great deal about us, life, science, God and the nature of truth. The mission left many people thinking about the awesomeness of God, who remains a mystery and who cannot be comprehended.
As of August 2014[update] there are 5,186 known comets, a number which is steadily increasing. However, this represents only a tiny fraction of the total potential comet population, as the reservoir of comet-like bodies in the outer Solar System may number one trillion. Roughly one comet per year is visible to the naked eye, though many of these are faint and unspectacular. Particularly bright examples are called “Great Comets”.
On 22 January 2014, ESA scientists reported the detection, for the first definitive time, of water vapour on the dwarf planet Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt.
A comet is an icy small Solar System body that, when passing close to the Sun, heats up and begins to outgas, displaying a visible atmosphere or coma, and sometimes also a tail. These phenomena are due to the effects of solar radiation and the solar upon the nucleus of the comet.
Comet nuclei range from a few hundred metres to tens of kilometres across and are composed of loose collections of ice, dust, and small rocky particles. The coma and tail are much larger and, if sufficiently bright, may be seen from the Earth without the aid of a telescope. Comets have been observed and recorded since ancient times by many different cultures.
Celebrating the awesomeness of God here is not however to play down on the remarkable feat of the ESA. Although there has been many space missions, landing on a fast-moving comet was a bit more challenging. The comet, which is about 2.5 miles wide, travels at speeds up to 84,000 miles per hour.
The washing machine-sized lander was designed to drift down to the comet and latch on using harpoons and screws. During the descent, scientists were powerless to do anything but watch, because the vast distance to Earth made it impossible to send instructions in real time.
Also, while a Mars landing sounds bigger than a comet landing, it’s a whole lot easier – like Earth, Mars is a planet – large, round, predictable, and most importantly, flat on its surface. Landing on a rocky comet is another story entirely.
And, the distance and orbit of the comet are astonishing. While Mars is only 54 million kilometres away, Comet 67P is 6.4 billion kilometres away.
The Solar System comprises the Sun and the objects that orbit it directly or by orbiting other objects that orbit it directly. Of those objects that orbit the Sun directly, the largest eight are the planets that form the planetary system around it, while the remainders are significantly smaller objects, such as dwarf planets and smaller Solar System bodies such as comets and asteroids.
But the Sun is only one of many stars. A star is a massive, luminous sphere of plasma held together by its own gravity. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun, which is the source of most of the planet’s energy. Other stars are visible from Earth during the night, appearing as a multitude of fixed luminous points due to their immense distance. Although the exact number of stars is difficult to know, there are estimated to be billions of them.
If you are one of those who believe that the universe surely created itself, you may have gone to sleep at the end of last week Wednesday thinking nothing spectacular happened.
But many more people spent the night thinking about the affirmation that there, indeed, is God, who also created us, and assigned each individual a purpose. Have you found your purpose?
Michael Guillen, who, earned his BS from UCLA and his MS and PhD from Cornell University in physics, mathematics and astronomy, belongs to this school. He believes the message that Absolute truth exists.
According to him the mission could not have been achieved without the universal law of gravity.
“There’s not one law of gravity for you and another one for me. We all exist under the attractive sway of a single, objective gravitational law,” he says.
“Likewise, I believe, we all exist under the authority of a single, loving God. The one described in the Bible, whose majestic creation impels us to look upward. Who calls to us from across unimaginable distances and whispers to our hearts and minds: You’re not alone. I’m here … and you belong with me.”
I conclude with questions: could we have been on elsewhere in the vast universe? What are we doing here?