Preface : "Earth's View from Space and Human"

Blue colored Earth stands out in the darkness of immense space. Astronauts Yuri Gagarin, who witnessed Earth from space for the first time in human history, said "Earth had a very distinct and pretty blue hello", while Japanese astronauts Mamoru Mori, who traveled space for twice, said "I could see no border on Earth". Their viewpoints from space taught us something very special. There are two points never come to terms with each other.

First, the two astronauts taught people to view Earth as a whole, which has become quite familiar for us by now. When people talk about mother Earth, image that occurs to their mind may be a picture of Earth viewed by spaceship Apollo. While we don't realize, information from spaceship has become universal knowledge or common sense. One picture from spacecraft tells us everything, Earth is round, the color is blue and there is no mark of border on the surface, namely, seeing is believing. Picture of Earth, changed understanding and viewpoint of mankind toward the planet that they live their everyday lives. However, even before we got the picture from spaceship, we already knew that Earth is round, blue and no border as knowledge and through experience. Even if we hadn't traveled space, there would have been no change to the mutual understanding of those facts about Earth. But the fact was perceived as knowledge or experiences gained little by little in a long time. The picture of Earth instantly convinced us that the knowledge is true. Lets call it "Space's wisdom" compared with the "Earth's wisdom". Viewpoints from space are great in that it provided us with the "Space's wisdom".

The other important point is that there is a great distance between space view, "Space's wisdom" and Earth view, "Earth's wisdom". Although Earth viewed by spaceship has become universal knowledge or common sense as mentioned above, how many people really feel the round Earth as part of our life? Maybe it is recognized as one of everyday news we get through media such as TV, or it is just too far away from our daily life. Everybody knows Earth is round and it is nothing but true, but it just lacks reality. Lets provisionally call the sense of reality, in other words, viewpoint of people, "Human's wisdom". Ever since human beings were given a picture of Earth floating in vast space, Earth has been recognized as something that exists between space and human beings. No matter how well you see lions, giraffes or elephants through books, you cannot actually feel the reality until you see them with your own eyes. Same thing can be said about Earth. However, it is impossible to make everybody to actually see Earth from space. So I propose here to fully take advantage of "Earth's wisdom, which is a collection of various knowledge and leaning, to fill the process. In this column, pick up images taken from both space and ground as "Space's wisdom" and "Earth's wisdom" respectively, with my own idea, experience, viewpoint and geographical information as "Human's wisdom". My goal of this column will be achieved if in any way, the three kinds of wisdom can be integrated into one and inspire people who read it to be more interested in Earth. I hope if you could enjoy various aspects of Earth observed from various viewpoints.


Dec. 2002: From northern land covered with snow lightened up in the glimpse of blue sky

Written by: Yoshiyuki Koide


Profile of the writer: Majored geology both in university and graduate school. Specialized in Earth chemistry as a special member of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. From April 1991, conducted research specializing in geology and science education in Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Natural History. Professor of Sapporo Gakuin University from April 2002, and now, devoted to integration of geology, philosophy and education. This website is dedicated as part of the integration activities.

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