To Infinity and Beyond

At some point in 2015/2016, our family will be going boldly where no two-to-five-year-old has ever gone before. If you, too, have the requisite amount of bravery, head to kickstarter before the 26th of August 2013 or find out more at PocketSpacecraft.com. I may be exaggerating about the boldness, but I don’t think it’s possible to oversell the awesome.

In the meantime, our resident Space Nerd* has been leading us on a mini-tour of the local solar system, thanks to Singapore’s Science Centre. It’s taken many weeks, and we still haven’t found Uranus, which was apparently relocated during the renovation of Bishan Park but nobody’s saying where, even when you ring them to ask. (Pluto also seems to have disappeared, although that’s pretty much in keeping with the 2006 decision by the IAU to stop calling it a planet, so we’re not overly fussed.) If anybody does discover Uranus (the Singapore-sized Science Centre exhibit), please leave us a comment and tell us where. Please, please, please, even if this post is really old by the time you’re reading it. We hate being one planet short of a solar system.

In the meantime, a few photographic clues of the kind that helped us stay on target at various points of our interplanetary expedition:

P has always thought of his proper place as being at the centre of the known universe.

P has always thought his proper place was at the centre of the known universe.

Mercury, the closest planet to our sun.

Mercury, the closest planet to our son.

Venus - out west, where the sun rises from on Venus.

Venus – out west, which is where the sun rises from on Venus.

Coming down to Earth.

Above, there is the heavenly palace. Below, there is a sundial about Earth next to a lake heavily influenced by Suzhou and Hangzhou.

One may picture, too, the sudden shifting of the attention, the swiftly spreading coils and bellyings of that blackness advancing headlong, towering heavenward, turning the twilight to a palpable darkness, a strange and horrible antagonist of vapour striding upon its victims, men and horses near it seen dimly, running, shrieking, falling headlong, shouts of dismay, the guns suddenly abandoned, men choking and writhing on the ground, and the swift broadening-out of the opaque cone of smoke.

One may picture, too, the sudden shifting of the attention, the swiftly spreading coils and bellyings of that blackness advancing headlong, towering heavenward, turning the twilight to a palpable darkness, a strange and horrible antagonist of vapour striding upon its victims, men and horses near it seen dimly, running, shrieking, falling headlong, shouts of dismay, the guns suddenly abandoned, men choking and writhing on the ground, and the swift broadening-out of the opaque cone of smoke. If one has read War Of The Worlds often enough, that is.

Jupiter.

Jupiter: the Big Red Spot on the Little Red Dot.

Saturn.

Saturn: probably not as rainy as Singapore.

Failing to find Uranus at Bishan Park...

Failing to find Uranus at Bishan Park children’s playground…

...and in the rain.

…and in the rain.

Neptune.

Neptune, by the sea.

*I’ve always wanted to write “destroyer of peace” or “bringer of terror” under “occupation” on my kid’s immigration cards. If I ever try that out, I’ll let you know how it went, or possibly you’ll just read about it in the paper. I usually settle for something less inflammatory such as “noise maker”, “food critic”, “personal trainer”, “attention seeker” or – most recently – “space nerd”.

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