We All Need a Little Space

Written by Alanna Rossi, Illustrations by Jaclyn Simon

I’ll never forget the first time I looked through a telescope. When I was younger, my dad set up a telescope one night in our backyard facing up towards the stars. It was a special night because we were allowed to stay up late to take a look through it and I remember feeling excited and curious. In school, I had learned plenty about the planets and the solar system and visited the planetarium on field trips. To this day there is something incredibly nostalgic about sitting in a dark planetarium. I had never looked through a telescope in my own backyard before. What was I going to see?

 When I finally took a look through the lens, I was staring right at Saturn, rings and all. There, in my own backyard, I was looking at a planet millions of miles away. My childhood brain struggled to comprehend how incredible it was to be able to see something so far away and it felt like magic. It was the first time I fully appreciated just how incredible space really was. When you look up at the night sky with your naked eyes you don’t really see all that much. Sure, the stars are beautiful and depending on where you live they can be an incredible sight. But when I looked through a telescope with my own eyes and saw a planet and it’s rings and moons, I desperately wanted to see more. 

Space has always fascinated me. Not just the planets and our solar system, but the unknowns as well. What else is out there? How far will we go? Science fiction is a way to explore these ideas. By simply opening a book you can travel light years away and explore different planets or meet new alien races.

I turn towards old television shows like Star Trek (shout out to Picard and Janeway) to comfort me when I feel anxious about the state of our world. There is something about a fictional world where humanity comes together to explore the “final frontier” of space (all while battling the Borg and dealing with the pesky Delta Quadrant, of course) that instantly cheers me up. Space exploration is really cool. I will say that I don’t believe in commercialising space travel or wasting billions of dollars to go for a space joy ride (looking at you, Bezos) but I do love reading about future missions to Mars and recent successes like the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope. 

I often wonder what our future in space will look like.  Maybe it won’t be like Star Trek, with ships being able to travel at warp speed exploring the vast outer reaches of our solar system, but a small part of me likes to think that maybe it will. Will we ever make it to Mars? Will humans ever live on another planet? Will another alien race ever pop by to say hello? 

There are so many unknowns and I feel a tinge of sadness when I realise that I won’t live to see what our future in space will look like in another couple hundred years. I hope that in my lifetime I’ll be able to witness humans reaching Mars or other incredible discoveries. 

Whenever I can I always take the time to look up and I encourage you to do the same. I like how small the universe makes me feel. I think it’s important to feel small and insignificant sometimes. When my life feels a little chaotic and my problems feel overwhelming, I think about our universe and look at the stars and suddenly my problems don’t feel that big anymore.