Today, you are a member of …. Proxima Centauri b, Anyone?


Something to consider, Members, during the week in which the Juno space craft will highspeed it at 130,000 miles per hour to make its closest approach to the clouds of the red giant, Jupiter. The fly-by will be closer in distance (mileage-wise, though maybe not philosophically-speaking) than that which lays between New York and Los Angeles. So while the the spacecraft and celestial body named after Roman gods are doing a cosmic dance arranged for by science, why not also ponder: If given the option, would you be a cosmonaut or an astronaut? Putting aside the man-made nationalisms warping the annotation of these titles, there are key differences to contemplate before you commit. The word ‘cosmonaut’ has etymological roots in the Greek terms for order/arrangement (‘kosmos’) and sailor (‘naut’) whereas ‘astronaut’ comes from the Greek words for star and sailer. Cosmos was supposedly first assigned to the universe by Pythagoras’ musings on the starry firmament, whereas Astro careened into the space lexicon as a naut within Percy Greg’s sci-fi classic “Across the Zodiac.” To whit, one is very much of the expanse while the other is all about the dynamos. Point is, wherever your sailing takes you this week, make sure you know what kind of captain you are.

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