Editor's note

Greg Rienzi, editor

Image caption: Greg Rienzi

I write this under a full moon.

Some say a full moon symbolizes a time of release and completion, but for me it's a moment to contemplate our place in the universe. There's a celestial body in plain view each night that reminds us we're all standing on just another sphere in infinite space that just happens to have wolverines, whales, sunflowers, and, well, traffic. (Excuse the randomness, but I'm a fan of three of these.)

Soon humans will return to the moon, but as our cover story by Emily Gaines Buchler on NASA's ambitious Artemis program lays out, Earth's satellite is no longer viewed as an Apollo-era final destination but rather as a steppingstone to space. We will not just set foot on the moon but have a sustained basecamp presence there. Next will come the colonization of Mars, and perhaps one day our descendants will touch the surface of a planet beyond our solar system. The upcoming flurry of moon missions, which Johns Hopkins alumni and scientists will be intimately involved with, could very well define the future scope of human space travel.

In a recent feature in The Atlantic, author Marina Koren writes that the current NASA plan aims to establish us "even more as a spacefaring, possibly interplanetary, species." Are we seriously that close to a Star Trek reality? It seems implausible, but not that long ago the Arctic and ocean depths felt impenetrable. Human curiosity is a potent force.

We hope you enjoy this issue.

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Greg Rienzi

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