This Week in Good News: Asteroids, Space and the Pope

Stellar work can be exhilarating to behold

An astronaut gazes at Earth from a window of the International Space Station.
An astronaut gazes at Earth from a window of the International Space Station.
Wikilimages from Pixabay

NASA sent a spaceship to an asteroid

On Tuesday, the Osiris-Rex landed on an asteroid called Bennu for about six seconds. Osiris-Rex stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer. Regolith is a rocky outcropping.

  • It moved at more than 5 km per hour. That’s more than 12,000 mph.
  • Yet it slowed to mere centimeters per second before its touch and go.
  • The mission was done for pure science and featured some of the smartest people anywhere.
  • Also? The name Osiris-Rex is as rad as NASA has ever been.

Three men flew to Earth on Wednesday

Astronaut Chris Cassidy, Cosmonauts Anatoli Ivanishin, and Ivan Vagner of the Russian federal space corporation Roscosmos landed on Kazakhstan's steppe.

  • Cooperation between Russia and the US matters more than ever.
  • The ISS keeps on going, no matter what the politics on Earth happen to be.
  • Stanley Kubrick’s classic 2001: A Space Odyssey presumed that humans would make themselves home in the solar system. Deeds like this are what get earthlings to that point.

The Pope supported the gay community

Pope Francis’ made comments supporting same-sex civil unions during his appearance in “Francesca,” a documentary premiered at the Rome Film Festival this week.

“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God,” Pope Francis said.

This is shocking for many reasons. First among them is that the Vatican rarely advocates for LGBTQIA rights. When it happens to do so, chances are they do not seem to be contradicting themselves regarding church doctrine.

  • Regardless of Church doctrine, papal recognition removes the justification for many claims regarding their less tolerant actions.
  • There needs to be a word for the most pleasantly surprising kind of shock akin to aliens landing, but they happen to be from the real Starfleet.
  • There is no such thing as a “real” Starfleet. When the Pope says that same-sex unions are copacetic, that is as close to Starfleet as one gets. (That’s because fictive Starfleet is far more advanced than we are).

Recap

NASA flew a ship across the solar system to hit an asteroid for a few seconds to scoop a small amount of rocks and dirt. Now is as good a time as any to remember that humans can be awesome.

Editor of Bold, Abundance and Stealing Fire. Has written for xlr8r and Role Reboot. Formerly NIH, Aol and Revolution Health. michael.wharton.writer@gmail.com

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