1.6 EarthLight

Carolina Londono Michel

We opened our chapter considering the view of our planet from Saturn. We noticed how small it looked, how unremarkable in the vastness of the cosmos.

Let us now consider a new perspective. One that Dr. Proctor, a member of the Inspiration4 mission, brings us in her poem: Earthlight.

Video 1.6.1. Earthlight poem. Written and recited by Dr. Sian Proctor.



I thought the moonlight was my guiding light 

Until that day, when my soul shimmered, 

Eyes wide and dilated with realization, 

For there, I was being bathed in Earthlight

Tasered by the pulsating Earth glow

My weeping ego quivers

Spellbound in awe at the cosmic chaos 

Perched against the death

 A clear beacon of hope and longing

Etched by complex molecules and spiraling DNA

Golden strands of energy cascading outward

Encapsulating hopes and dreams

Existence and affirmation

The baby’s blanket ripped away

I howl at the sensation

Love struck in suspension

My mind struggles to comprehend

So much meta transcending time and space

Who will hear the cries of the generations?

AfroGaia simmers under the weight of memories

I hold court among the stars, and I testify to the cosmos

All our hopes set adrift

Let us be free in a sea of forgiveness 

for what we have not seen

If only we could all be baptized by Earthlight!


Recall the experience of being under a bright full moon. How does it make you feel? In your mind, imagine the full moon in a clear sky, in one of your favorite places on Earth.

Now imagine that you are part of a civilian flight. You open the capsule and find yourself bathed in Earth’s light. How would that feel and look like? If you are inspired to do so, in a piece of paper write your thoughts or sketch your feelings. Depending on your artistic preferences, you may also try moving, dancing, singing or playing a tune that conveys the feeling.

Part of the Earth globe appears as a blue arc against a black background.
Figure 1.6.1. The Earth atmosphere reflects back the light from the Sun, giving our planet a beautiful shine, or Earth light

We may not be part of a civilian flight, but we can travel on the ship of our imagination. Let Dr. “Leo” Proctor’s poem touch you. Let us consider the magnificence, beauty, and glow of our planetary home encountering the rays of our Sun. We may never experience it directly, but we are ALL surrounded by Earthlight, held by Earthlight, and filled with Earthlight.

Meet a Local Rock-Star

Sian Hayley “Leo” Proctor (born March 28, 1970) is an American geology professor, science communicator, and commercial astronaut. She was the pilot of the Crew Dragon space capsule, launched on September 15, 2021, for the Inspiration4 private orbital spaceflight. As the pilot on the Inspiration4 mission, Proctor became the first African American woman to pilot a spacecraft.

Sian is a geology professor at South Mountain Community College in Arizona, where she has been inspiring students for over 21 years. She is currently the Open Educations Resource Coordinator for the Maricopa Community College District (She supports books like this, Free and Open). She is also a Major in the Civil Air Patrol where she serves as the aerospace education officer for its Arizona Wing.

Besides all the wonderful credentials, Dr. Proctor is a space artist. She uses her afrofuturism space art to encourage conversations about women of color in the space industry. She is also one of The Explorer’s Club 50: Fifty People Changing the World. Her motto is called Space2inspire where she encourages people to use their unique, one-of-a-kind strengths, and passion to inspire those within their reach and beyond. She believes we need to actively strive for a J.E.D.I. space: a Just, Equitable, Diverse, and Inclusive space as we advance human spaceflight.

Visit Dr, Proctor’s website: http://www.drsianproctor.com/ for more.



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