There will be a full Moon on Christmas Eve - and a new Star Wars film just premiered. The last time that there was a full Moon on Christmas was 1977, and a the first Star Wars film was released. Coincidence? Yes.
I have not yet seen The Force Awakens, but I will eventually. Likely sometime this week. That's not what this blog post deals with.
The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has been probing the galaxy for signs of life for decades now and they haven't found anything. Those of you who know me, understand that I have an interest in this. The company that I co-founded with the (entire) planetary science department at Cal Tech, who left the university to do this unfortunately failed and currently rests on the garbage heap of start-ups. Still, the experience allowed me to interact with some of the truly great planetary scientists of our generation.
There are a number of things about Earth that may make it sufficiently unique to allow life to exist here. Tectonic plates deal with the sort of excess carbon that sent Venus into a melt-down. We're the 'right' distance from the Sun, there is abundant water and varied minerals and we have a large Moon. Some would say that it's the 'right' size. While I was thinking on this recently, I stumbled on a recent video from Bill Whittle - Afterburner, where he does a better job explaining this than I can.
That life exists on Earth is a miracle of sorts. Here and now at this Christmas Season you will find yourself believing in our essential spark of shared divinity, or you will succumb to human insecurity, and either way your conscience lets you slice it, the main thing is to earnestly do what is right at the time. Treat others as you would have them treat you. Love your neighbor as yourself. Be kind and polite whenever possible as your default setting. (You can resort to mean and nasty if it becomes necessary.) Bring joy to the world as you are able. Only when you lose yourself in the service of your family and others will you find true happiness.
And have a Merry Christmas.