what do you see when you look within this graphic? A smiling face? A mysterious array of circles, icons and radial tick marks in geometric display?
The new face of time?
I see a blue planet, illuminated from below by a small central sun. A thin lisp of atmosphere, a mountain so big it starts at the center of the planet. So tall it almost scrapes the moon, stars and sun. So little between the summit and the heavens. And lots of zeros. Something is about to begin.
Over the past 300 years, Western astronomers have now accumulated data supporting the existence of about 2,000 other planets around about 1,000 other suns, and candidates for several thousand more. Most of them are huge and hot and far away from – centuries of light years away. Even if they were listening for our radio activity, few of them have ever heard Elvis croon, or seen the pictures from our moon.
But of all the hundreds of hot jupiters and a handful of super-earths, only the one wee blue ball — the one we are on — with itʻs broad blue oceans, kid-sister looping moon, and 365 revolutions per orbit, has been found to be teaming with life, some of it possibly intelligent.
You would think that this colossal pile of stupendous data, the momentous wonder of this world we find ourselves on might be enough to say “WOW! What we have here IS pretty effin special! Perhaps we could take better care!
Because the planet is round, at midday in the center of the Pacific, itʻs closing in on midnight on the other side of the world. Turns out the English had it right – if Greenwich is the center of time, Hawai`i island is the alpha and omega.
the largest surface feature on our world, and the most expansive sea of liquid water anywhere on our solar system, massive volcanoes tower above the surface, their summits kiss the sky. If we were to begin to discover this planet anew, in all itʻs glory and wonder, here, is where we would zero in – not in some suburb of London – on these mighty equatorial landmarks, the tallest peaks on the planet. Here is as good as any place to mark the beginning and the end of time.
When is your “zero moment”