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We should prepare the map for the future space explorers

posted Oct 2, 2014, 2:27 AM by Abel Mendez   [ updated Oct 6, 2014, 3:21 PM ]
Map of the constellations around Cygnus published on 1825, the first NASA Kepler Field of View. Credit: LoC.

Here are two translations from a passage of an open letter from Kepler to Galileo published in the Conversation with the Star Messenger on April 19, 1610. We are still creating the maps of the universe for the future space explorers after four hundred years.

"There will certainly be no lack of human pioneers when we have mastered the art of flight. Who would have thought that navigation across the vast ocean is less dangerous and quieter than in the narrow, threatening gulfs of the Adriatic, or the Baltic, or the British straits? Let us create vessels and sails adjusted to the heavenly ether, and there will be plenty of people unafraid of the empty wastes. In the meantime, we shall prepare, for the brave sky-travellers, maps of the celestial bodies – I shall do it for the moon, you Galileo, for Jupiter." (1)

"But as soon as somebody demonstrates the art of flying, settlers from our species of man will not be lacking. Who would once have thought that the crossing of the wide ocean was calmer and safer than of the narrow Adriatic Sea, Baltic Sea, or English Channel? Given ships or sails adapted to the breezes of heaven, there will be those who will not shrink from even that vast expanse. Therefore, for the sake of those who, as it were, will presently be on hand to attempt this voyage, let us establish the astronomy, Galileo, you of Jupiter, and me of the moon." (2)
(1) Koestler, A., & Butterfield, H. (1959). The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man's Changing Vision of the Universe. Arthur Koestler. Introduction by Herbert Butterfield, Hutchinson.

(2) Kepler, J., & Rosen, E. (1965). Kepler's Conversation with Galileo's Sidereal messenger. 1st complete translation, with an introd. and notes. New York, Johnson Reprint Corp., 1965., 1.