Reading the international news this morning my eyes strayed onto a short article picking up that yesterday three astronauts landed back on earth after being in space for almost six months. The crew of three have returned from the International Space Station (ISS) to a very different planet they left last year.
No strangers to isolation, Russian Oleg Skrypochka , with Americans Andrew Morgan, and Jessica Meir, left Earth in September 2019, well before Covid-19 emerged. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the usual routine for returning space crews. Not least that the strict biochemical decontamination process designed to protect earth from any potential disease threat from space, was now used in reverse to protect those returning from space from the potential contamination of the earth.
"It's quite surreal to see it unfolding on Earth below," Ms Meir told reporters during a recent video call. "From here, Earth looks just as stunning as usual, so it's hard to believe all of the changes that have taken place since we left."
But what really caught my attention was that comment, “From here, the earth looks just stunning as usual”. I’ve attached an old and rather crackly video from the Apollo 8 mission to the moon in 1968. The technical spec of the camera used and the of the voice recording is less than 15% of the quality of today’s average mobile phone. Yet, what those first images still stun us, and the voices bring us a focus on our Creator. It may be a bit early for the included Christmas greeting on the video, but never too early for that included sentiment, ‘may all the peoples of the earth be blessed’
And why have I shared this today?
Because even at the bleakest of times, the darkness of disease, and the loneliness of isolation - this place we call home, this Earth we live on ‘looks just as stunning as usual’.