Saturday, March 26, 2011

In Search Of Other Life

This past week I was reading about astronomers searching for other planets and potential life throughout the universe.  Really, it boggles my tiny mind as to how they figure these things out.  If they really do.  It's like scientists telling us what dinosaurs sounded like.  Really?  Play THAT tape back for me!

But the quest for life outside our own world, and the imagination it stirs, brings to mind a distant, pleasant memory:  When we were kids in Amarillo, Texas  my cousins and I would lay on the warm concrete summer sidewalk and stare into the crystal clear, moonless night sky.  Yes, Carl Sagan, there WERE billions and billions!  An amazing sight!  I had been told that there was no end to the universe.  If we were to travel in a spaceship, we would never find the end...infinity.

You remember the feeling:  Butterflies in the tummy when you tried to wrap your young mind around that concept.

Well, I still get that sensation when I think about these things.  To me they're unthinkable.  And utterly amazing.

potentials of us

the science of mind,
mastery of imagination, 

to count a billion 
potentials of us: 

the beauty of our 
magnificent insignificance.

Poem ©2011 by R. Burnett Baker 
Photo©2011 by R. Burnett Baker 
Photo taken by R. Baker with a cell phone looking through a kaleidoscope.
Poem inspired by a comment I posted to "Truly Fool" at


  1. Carl Sagan = personal hero. Thanks for the thoughts and the poem, Rick!


  2. your sense of humor delights me everytime
    I'll bet you're a riot after one glass of wine
    Yes, I do remember as a child thinking about infinity...growing up in the time of space scifi movies...the red planet and such...I wanted so to travel in space
    now kids are seperated from stars by light pollution
    happy earth hour to you, Rick

  3. Rick,

    The backyard nights. Yes. The college freshman bull sessions with friends vacationing back from distant campuses -- astronomy class bullsessions with them.

    Carl Sagan. I'm re-watching his Cosmos -- likely a third or fourth time through by now. Just stunningly clear notions that took a species all this time to derive.

    His phrase, held in memory since the 1980 viewing: 'we are made of star stuff'.


  4. ah, we used to do the same, just in the middle of the field staring up at the stars...

  5. Nice. I love to let my mind float in outer space from time to time.

  6. what's really cool to me rick is that this is only about what's possible in the universe we know. there are so many other universes or iterations of this universe . . . . then what! steven

  7. wow..u must reading a lot!
    I see that u hv lot of career
    which I am really impressed!

    hv a nice weekend mr Rick Burnett!

  8. Wonderful kaleidoscope photo!

    I was a great reader of science fiction in my youth and always kinda hoped that THEY -- the friendly aliens -- would come down and take me to visit their planet.

    Still waiting...

  9. that is a wonderful picture... well thought..

    " the beauty of our magnificent insignificance " - wow... what a line.. love it :)