Keplers Space mission focuses on a narrow spectrum of the universe, searching for exoplanets.
I have just finished producing another project, and it has been so stimulating finding out about how modern space missions have a history that goes back to the discoveries in the 1600’s by one very determined Johannes Kepler.
If you spin back into the times that he was alive in, imagine the determination he needed to pursue an intellectual curiosity in how the universe REALLY worked. By observation and very clever calculation he came up with theorems that threatened the dogma instructed by the Church, and ultimately the states of the time. This was a time of upheaval and power clashes between European leaders, a time when the idea of liberal thought was centuries away. Not only was he under the intellectual pressure from determining how he could present his ideas to contemporaries, but under real threat of exclusion or worse.
Pursuing his aim to explain the movement of the stars, Kepler discovered what we now refer to as Kepler’s Laws, on which Newton was to build upon and explain how gravity works. It is with Kepler’s explanation that man came to understand Earth’s position in the universe, leading to the growth of modern scientific thought. Before his time, men looked to the heaven’s and believed in astrological explanations for life and death, catastrophe and fate. Astrologers were keepers of portentous knowledge used by kings and leaders in decision making. The new scientific discoveries would blow apart the rationales behind that sort of thinking. Kepler himself could not have known the trajectory of exploration which his studies triggered. Although he had dreamed of a man standing on the moon and looking at the earth, he would never know of todays space mission named after him , which is discovering exoplanets in habitable space.
His thinking nevertheless did not preclude the mystery and incomprehsibility of Life, he referred to God as being ‘in the numbers’, understanding geometry and God to be the same force. The scientific thinkers such as Einstein, Carl Sagan and Neil de Grasse Tyson retain a humility and open minded approach to the marvel of the Universe. Their awe is directed to the manisfestation that is the Universe, and it with the examination by such beacons that mankind can pursue hope toward the future.
Carl Sagan described Kepler as “the first astrophysicist and the last scientific astrologer.”, while Kepler himself said
” the ways by which men arrive at knowledge of the celestial things are hardly less wonderful than the nature of these things themselves”
Researching Johannes Kepler and listening to my son’s interest in space mission provoked me to explore my thoughts about scientific enquiry alongside the wisdom of other thinkers throughout history. As I learn more, I see patterns in thought, how we expand our own horizons by entering the realms of thinkers from different cultures, different times. I named my project ‘Concordance’ to reference the harmonies Kepler perceived in the geometric principles , and the understanding of artists, scientists and philosophers that human kind benefits from discovering harmonies between science and nature, between disparate cultures, and between the body and the mind.