The Miracle of Life

I recently read an article about NASA’s mission to visit Mars in The New Yorker. It tells the story of the Curiosity mission and the people behind it.

It was a great read, but I especially like the closing paragraph. It’s about how the writer (Burkhard Bilger) went out with a NASA scientist named Grotzinger. They visited Death Valley in California, which has similar terrain to Mars. Here is the paragraph:

After we’d hiked down to the valley again, Grotzinger pulled an ice chest from the back of his S.U.V. and set out a picnic of salami and cheese, hard rolls, and ripe tomatoes. The valley seemed barren now, he said, but in the spring, after a dusting of rain, it would be bright with cactus blossoms and yellow creosote. When he camped here with his students, he could sometimes hear kangaroo rats or kit foxes moving beyond the firelight. “On a clear night, with the stars and planets blazing above you, it could be breathtakingly beautiful,” he said. “You look at enough pictures from Mars, and you really start to appreciate the Earth.”

For me, the last sentence is powerful: “You look at enough pictures from Mars, and you really start to appreciate the Earth.”

Just think about it. Compared to the other planets, the Earth is like heaven. Mars is covered in deadly deserts everywhere you look, not to mention the poisonous atmosphere. The other planets are even worse. They have extreme temperatures, terrible hurricanes, and often no place to step on. In contrast, here on Earth we have trees, waterfalls, birds, lakes, and fresh air. What a beautiful place. We, however, often take this place for granted. We don’t realize what a miracle the Earth actually is.

Similarly, we might have other things in life that we take for granted. Our health is a good example. In order for you to be healthy, so many things in your body have to work right. If even just one thing goes wrong, you could lose your health. Being healthy is miraculous, but often we don’t appreciate it enough.

You might have problems in your life. Everybody does. But you are more fortunate than you think.

Photo by Bigstock


  1. It’s so important to practice the art of gratitude for what we already have. Nowadays, I always start my days by considering the blessings in my life and being thankful for them. Beautiful post Donald, thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. That is amazing way to look at it, Donald. Truthfully, I’ve never thought of practicing gratitude through that perspective, but you can bet this will be staying with me for a long time.

  3. Great insight Donald,
    I would even go a stage further and say looking at Mars and the solar system enough, and you’ll begin to realize more and more just how insignificant we are. Our problems aren’t really problems. In the whole grande scheme of things, there’s so much more 😉

  4. Excellent !!! Surely, we are best planet and that why we are exist here. There is reason behind it. God has certainly created earth for all of us to live.

    Nice article.

    My inspiration is appreciates what you have and you find a reason to thanks.

  5. magical article in more ways than one

  6. That there’s any life at all instead of a universe of rocks and gas is a thermodynamic miracle. I remind myself regularly that being alive is winning the cosmic lottery.

    Great find on that quote, Donald.

  7. Donald,
    This is a great post and the real beauty I felt when reading your article was how appreciative your words made me feel. You were able to build a genuine feeling of gratitude and humbleness. Many people take things granted in life, including myself, and your article brought a great realization to my day. For that I Thank You.

  8. Great little reminder Donald,

    In regards to being grateful, We when have everything- earth, health, friends, its easy to forget what it would be like without them. I think most times it’s only when we have something taken away from us that we realize how incredible it really was.

    And yes, we truly have beautiful place to call home.

  9. I agree and in addition I would love to say that it is also a matter of awareness. The only way to truly become aware of our gifts is to calm our minds; for when our minds are calm, we shall see all the (little) things which we too often take fro granted. Meditation could be a good way to calm our minds..,

  10. Thanks. Wonderful line of thought.

    Let Us Be Worthy of His Grace

    There is a Vedantic story. A king went for hunting. In the thick forest he had gone very fast and his soldiers were left behind. He lost his way. Soon murky darkness of night surrounded him. He was also very hungry and tired. Nocturnal wild animals were moving around. The king was aimlessly walking.

    Suddenly a light was visible at a distance. He went in that direction and luckily it was a palace with all facilities. He entered the hall. Nobody was to be seen. But there was food and water. The king ate sumptuously and fell asleep in the comfortable cot nearby. He slept like a log.
    He got up in the morning. He saw that everything he needed were there. He freshened up. When he came back he was pleasantly surprised to see new dresses and breakfast ready. He dressed himself and started eating. (NO: It cannot be so!)

    In the previous night, if he ate without inquiring anything, it was understandable. He was tired. But now he would not proceed to eat his breakfast straightaway. He would first take efforts to find out who was helping him so kindly. He would be overwhelmed by gratitude for all the timely help already given, now being given, and most certainly that is going to be given.

    We appear in this world as a helpless babe that would die if not taken care of properly. There is Mother, whose breast is full of milk, the most ideal food that could sustain the newborn baby! She did not have it earlier! How many living beings and things come and relate to us, making our growth possible! Mountains, rivers, oceans, plant kingdom and what not! Who made all of them and kept ready for us? At some point in our lifetime, should we not be wondering about all these? And, start inquiring about that Absolute Reality Who blesses us with all these and much more we are not even aware of? And thank Him profusely? And praise Him to our heart’s content, – though we can never do enough of it? And promise Him to be worthy of His infinite Grace? And try to abide by it?

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