An Excerpt from The Orbital Perspective

February 18, 2015 6:56 PM

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An Excerpt from The Orbital Perspective

During my half year in space, I was moved by many other views of Earth from the windows of the space station besides the India-Pakistan border. One such scene occurred while we passed over the Mediterranean Sea. I was struck by the contrast of colors, the dark blue of the sea against the bright tans and reds of northern Africa, all framed by the curvature of Earth and its paper-thin atmosphere. I quickly grabbed a camera and started snapping away. As it happened, Libya was framed within the picture, which I took on August 24, 2011, the day that Tripoli fell during the Libyan Civil War. Looking at the photo, I found myself thinking deeply about what was occurring at the microscopic level within the frame of this beautiful scene. The violence and suffering that was imperceptible from the orbital perspective was all-encompassing when you zoomed into the details of the two-dimensional plane of the conflict.

Most of the many conflicts raging around the world involve complex factors of history, ethnicity, class struggle, poverty, religion, and so forth. Usually, these conflicts adhere to the ideology of scarcity; actions tend to be based on a fear that the other side might attempt to take control of mate...

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