Monday, July 11, 2016

5 difficult issues human cloning will cause

What will happen when a significant portion of the human population is the product of cloning? These will be individuals that were created in a laboratory rather than having gone through natural human gestation in the mother's womb. For the purposes of this blog post, cloning represents not only a "duplicate" of an existing person, but any person generated in a laboratory by biological and chemical means. This would even include unique persons generated by more than two parents, as is already a scientific enterprise.

What you will read herein is this author's projection, grounded on the trajectory of current events. And there are certainly more issues at hand than supposed herein. Time may reveal more issues or eliminate the likelihood of others. This thought exercise is intended to shed light on potential consequences, particularly moral, on the matter of human cloning.

1. Are the cloned human?
The cloned may or may not have umbilical cords and will not be the product of man and woman conjugal union. They will not be the direct result of a physical expression of a loving action. An obvious question will be whether or not a person's "humanity" depends on that natural union. I would surmise the Church would consider such person's human, just as those who are born today by means of in vitro fertilization. Even though those born via in vitro are conceived in a manner outside the conjugal act, such persons are still welcomed to baptism, which is only receivable by a human being. Basic clones generated in a lab from a single sperm and egg will be recognized as human just as anyone else.

More complex clones may pose greater problems. Suppose laboratories begin to produce clones who do not need sleep. Or clones with six appendages. Or androgynous clones deliberately generated without genitalia. Or clones with two human parents and one chimpanzee parent. Or further down the road if a being is constructed from a variety of human and mammalian or even reptilian or other foundations. We have seen nascent evidence of animal incorporation in human-animal organ crossovers. As more complex experiments occur, the debate over the humanity of the clone will grow more complex.

For her part, the Church in such cases might at least perform "conditional" baptisms. This would be similar to a conditional baptism bestowed on a person unsure if he/she had previously been baptized. In the case of a clone, the baptism might be administered on the condition that the recipient is indeed a human being.

In civil life, there will be a number of legal cases that will be considered landmarks regarding the human status of the cloned. However, these cases will be difficult precedents if the cloning process continues to evolve and if persons are developed by multiple methods. So, for instance, if a court determined that a five-parent-one-other-mammal person merited full human rights, the precedent might not stand if a future case arose regarding a person generated from seven-human-parents-and-one-reptile.

These speculative examples may be fanciful. But they are designed more to demonstrate the difficulties that will arise the further mankind gets from matrimonial, conjugal offspring. Clones with greater and greater aberrations will suffer tremendous psychological difficulties, wondering what they are, whether they are human. The human DNA written in their fabric will alert them to the abnormalities within themselves. The natural arrangement of mother-father-child will arise as a discovery to the pensive mind of some of these clones, alerting them that something is disordered. This will cause great psychological trauma in some clones and families.

2. Clones will not have parental attachment
Written in the fabric of normative human generation are parents who have a certain attachment to offspring that is "of oneself." Paternal and maternal instincts can be seen in parents' protective tendencies toward their children. In fact, when a parent fails in this obligation, we recognize the violation committed by that parent. Phrases like "dead-beat dad" are evidence that a father has failed in his attachment to his own child.

Let's say an infertile couple in the future goes to a cloning market and selects a "child" to be developed for them. This is different from in vitro in which the father's sperm is united to the mother's egg and the child is developed in the womb. This is a "child" developed wholly in a laboratory according to whatever catalog options are offered by the cloning company. By commodotizing the child, parental attachment will suffer. If the child grows up to have criminal or unsatisfactory tendencies, the "parents" will be more apt to blame the "failure" on the cloning company. It will be easier to dismiss a child as a corporation's failure versus a child raised out of conjugal love, the direct gift of one's conjugal action.

From this, complexities will arise among parents who adopt clones. There will be a market for "returned" clones who did not meet the satisfaction of the adopting parents. Psychological problems will run rampant among clones, particularly among those who are rejected as corporate defects. Their plight could turn very ugly.

3. "Abortions" of clones will find new debate
Abortions of lab-generated clones may occur if the clone is not developing according to the customer's order. There will be debates as to what should happen with cancelled orders. Should the clone be terminated? If so, the same debate we have with abortion today will characterize the termination of developing clones. As speculated in point #1, simpler clones will be considered human. So at what point in the laboratory development period will such a clone be considered human?  Will there be a legal point at which a customer who orders a clone can no longer reject the product produced?

Rejected clones who are not terminated will suffer terrible psychological strains of inadequacy. Mental illness will be an enormous problem in the future, both among clones, and among a society whose expectation of custom-made satisfaction will permeate their everyday attitudes.

Even today, the "my body, my choice" argument is a red herring because it does not take into account the baby, who is essential to the pro-life movement's perspective. But when women order a lab-made child through a catalog, they will not be able to abort the child under the guise of doing what she wants with "her body." With a lab-generated baby, a couple, or an individual "ordering" a clone will have no such so-called right. Their argument will come from commerce and the power of the dollar with which they ordered the clone.

Those who order clones and seek to terminate their order prior to completion may seek refuge, not in "my body, my choice," but "my possession, my choice." It is difficult to determine what kind of traction such a specious argument might boast. But it will nonetheless be a serpentine diversion away from the violation of another being that takes place in an abortion.

For their part, the Church will oppose abortion of the developing clone, even if there is some question as to the humanity of the clone.

Today, some politically correct feminists accuse the Church's pro-life stance of being a means to control women unjustly. In the future, if persons are generated in labs, this argument won't even have specious merit if the Church voices a pro-life stance for the developing laboratory clone.

4. Good "health" will be used as a pro-cloning argument
On the eve of mass-cloning, proponents of the measure will abandon the moral consequences of lab-generated persons in favor of producing persons with good health. Over time, the cloning process will tend toward producing healthier and stronger beings, immune to old diseases. While healthiness on its face is a "good," such proponents will not be able to counter moral arguments against a person's right to be born of conjugal love. And, as supposed in this article, mental unhealthiness will spread. Written in the fiber of human DNA is a person's desire to be loved and raised by his natural parents. We can see evidence of this in the many difficulties that plague children of fatherless homes.

5. More legal problems relating to clones
Presumably, when a couple or person orders a clone from a catalog, the corporation will require legal indemnification once the clone leaves its possession. In other words, the buyer will have to sign a document absolving the company of liability if the clone should not meet expectations once bought or if the clone commits a crime, etc.

However, legal cases will arise in which the customer will accuse the corporation of deception if the clone fails to meet expectations. For example, if a teenage clone commits murder, the buying parents will seek recourse to hold the corporation liable in spite of the indemnifying document signed. The parents' attorneys will argue that the corporation willingly sold a flawed clone to parents who had no way of knowing the clone would have criminal tendencies.

There will also be cases in which the clones themselves will bring lawsuit against their manufacturers. The clones' attorneys will argue that the cloning corporation did not take proper care of the clone during development, which resulted in some health or social defect. These cases will add to the psychological disaster bound to raze at the hearts of clones, and at a society that spars with making sense of their identity as fully human or otherwise.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

4 things to do when suffering

Following are a few suggestions I hope might be helpful to anyone experience suffering life. These are not "solutions" to make suffering go away. Many sufferers have learned there is not a secret formula to make it "stop." Not even prayer. Even in Scripture, Job cried out to God yet still lamented of his "months of emptiness" (Job 7:3), which may have amounted to years. Paul likewise begged for the removal of a thorn (2 Cor. 12:8-9), yet God did not effect Paul's request in the manner Paul requested it. Jesus himself prayed to be spared the cup of blood (Luke 22:42; Matt 26:39), yet he still endured the crucifixion. In this fallen world, we often feel the sting of suffering and of crying out repeatedly for relief.

So the purpose of this post is not to examine the mystery of suffering per se, but things we can do amidst it.

1. Offer your suffering as a gift to God.
Scripture teaches us both that Christ offered himself in suffering and that we suffer with him (e.g. Phil. 3:10, Rom 8:17). Deep down, there is a generosity here bestowed by God, that we might in some sense, by grace, join him in his work. It doesn't matter if we "feel" the value of this, but we are simply called to accept crosses and to share in Christ's suffering. We may never know in this life what God "does" with such gifts from His children. Do not worry about having that answer before being a child offering a father a present.

2. Pray even if your prayers are weak.
Don't worry if your suffering is so dark that you can barely muster a prayer. If you must, simply pray with your action, as in point #1, by accepting a share of the cross. If you've already prayed and prayed and things have never changed, you might find yourself in a dark, frustrated, empty place which razes at your faith and trust. Even if you are in such a condition, perhaps you could still pray something like: Lord, please hear me despite my anger and frustration. Don't let the answer to my prayer depend on the wreck that is my faith, nor the anger and sorrow that spills from my heart. Hear my prayer even if I feel like it is futile.

This can help place the matter more into God's hands than one's own. The petitioner admits his sorrow or anger or exhaustion. This can help the petitioner avoid falling into the deceptive trap of thinking his prayer didn't "work" because he didn't pray "right."

No matter how short or how poor you think the prayer comes out, God can work with it. This is the God who built a church on Peter, who was a flawed man in many ways. This is the God who built a universe literally out of nothing. Even a clumsily crafted prayer could become something great.

3. Recognize in your suffering a glimpse of Christ's suffering.
In today's Gospel for Divine Mercy Sunday, we read in part the story of Thomas who would not believe Christ had risen lest he see Christ's wounds.
John 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing." 
Doubting St. Thomas by St. Tito (ca 1576-77)
(detail from photograph by Saliko,
acquired from Wikimedia Commons)
After seeing this, Thomas' awareness comes to life. Remember in #1 above how Scripture teaches we suffer with Christ. This is our window to Christ's suffering even when we are weak and faithless. Just like Thomas we desire to see Christ's wounds. Sometimes we are given that glimpse right in our own hearts.  When we suffer, we thus "see" Christ's suffering and garner our limited understanding of what Christ endured. And since Christ was wholly innocent and accepted this suffering, we know that whatever we suffer as sinful beings, Christ suffered infinitely worse as the innocent one. From this, we see the love Christ had for mankind. Although easier said than done,  we can translate this to our own lives. We say to ourselves:
If Christ willed to accept a suffering even worse than what I suffer now, how much must he have loved us. This is an example for me to follow when I do something loving for someone else. Do I hold my tongue against a family member while arguing, even if it is difficult for me to resist? Do I guard my eyes against sinful temptations even if I desire to look? Am I willing to accept something that is painful to me for the sake of doing something loving for another?
4. Recognize the faith underlying your frustration
Perhaps you find yourself vexed and frustrated, even "angry" at God after you've cried out again and again to be heard. Like Israel, you "cry out" (e.g. Ps. 22:2, Hab. 1:2) and wonder "how long" until you are "heard." Although the pain does not subside, part of the reason you are frustrated is because you recognize in God the power to hear you. There is faith in such a lamentation. In such a case, consider a prayer such as this:
God I wouldn't be so frustrated and crying out to You if I didn't think You had the power to help. Hidden in my rage is knowledge of Your power and divinity.
In a way, a prayer such as this can be a prayer of praise. And previously, perhaps you have found it very difficult to make a prayer of praise as you've endured heartbreak and difficulty day after day.

Only in suffering can the pinnacles of human love be realized. Is it easier to love a spouse when things are going well or difficult. Great love rises even in turmoil. All this can be overwhelming. None of the above suggestions may take away the pain we so desire be removed. With Job, Paul, Jesus, and Israel, we cry out for mercy, to be spared the pains, thorns, and cups of sacrifice. Even if we remain in the darkness and pains this fallen world delivers, it is worth looking to Scripture and Christ's love as an example to follow.

Note: The 4th point and other slight changes were made to this post on April 6, 2016.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Refuting Planned Parenthood on viability and SCOTUS

The "viability" argument goes something like this: "A fetus can't survive on its own outside the womb, therefore, it's not a fully developed human." Therefore, says the Planned Parenthood supporter, abortion is morally acceptable.

For example, we see this from among Planned Parenthood's Arizona advocates, one of whom writes that a woman has the "right not to be forced to give birth and choosing not to carry a non-viable, non human being..."

With the scandal of Planned Parenthood having been caught on film negotiating the sale of infant body parts, such supporters of the organization are perhaps finding themselves having to seek refuge in such shelters as the "viability" argument. (By the way, you can keep abreast of the Center for Medical Progress and David Daleiden's legal battle surrounding Planned Parenthood at Life Legal Defense Foundation.)

So what's wrong with the viability argument?
  • The presence of human life is not dependent on the subject's personal capacity to survive in any particular environment. For example:
    • Even a post-live-birth baby cannot survive without a variety of dependencies and isn't "viable" of his/her own accord. A newborn baby cannot feed him/herself, dress him/herself, protect him/herself, nor a variety of other things that can easily determine that child's fate. Thus, a baby's ability to viably self-preserve is not a logical measure by which the presence of human life is determined.
    • If the PP supporter is referring to a baby's ability to survive outside the womb even with medical assistance, there is another problem. Throughout history, the stage at which a baby has survived outside the womb gets younger and younger. The PP supporter finds him/herself arguing that human life comes into being at a different point, depending on whether that child was born in 2016 or 1916. The same supporter would have to argue that human life comes into being at a different point, depending on whether that child was born in Beverly Hills or the terrains of Somalia. Holders of this view must change their view of when they believe human life to exist by appealing to available medical technology. This is a nonsensical position.
    • If the PP supporter is merely talking about respiration, there are clearly situations in which even an adult human cannot "viably" respire of his/her own accord, such as under water, in outer space, in a dense fire, amid toxic air, or other situations. Point being––ability to respire is not a logical measure by which the presence of human life is determined. It's absurd to say an adult who cannot respire in any given environment is less than human. 
The Supreme Court argument goes something like this: "The Supreme Court determined that a fetus isn't a human being." Thus, says the PP supporter, abortion is morally acceptable.

For example, we see this implied by NARAL Wisconsin, outlining what it believes to be good arguments to tell pro-lifers, including the following statements (emphasis mine): "The Supreme Court has said and I believe that legal personhood begins with birth" and "Embryos are a cluster of cells with the potential to develop into a human life if implanted into a woman's womb and brought to term."

So what's wrong with the Supreme Court argument?
  • The presence of human life is not dependent on any verdict by the Supreme Court of the United States. For example:
    • The Supreme Court itself has reversed its own prior verdicts. In fact, it has done so well over 100 times. Appealing to a source that denies its own immutability is hardly a satisfactory argument.
    • Thus, appealing to the "Supreme Court" results in the nonsensical position that human life began in the womb prior to 1973 but not after 1973. It fails the same test as the "medical technology" fallacy described in the first section above: depending on when a child was born, the court's Roe v. Wade opinion may not even have existed. In fact, prior to 1789, SCOTUS didn't even exist. 
    • As well, the Supreme Court's jurisdiction ends at the United States. Obviously, the majority of the human population is not subject to SCOTUS verdicts. Appealing to a single country's legal verdict as the benchmark for a philosophical argument for all of humanity is self-defeating when the court itself does not claim to govern all humanity. 
    • In an ironic twist, Planned Parenthood doesn't even embrace verdicts of the Supreme Court. For example, in 2014, SCOTUS upheld a federal abortion ban involving second trimester pregnancies.  PP immediately sent out a press release which stated: "Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) denounced the ruling."
It's not difficult to refute arguments built on shaky ground as we can see here. It may be a bigger challenge simply to find a mind willing to permit his/her views to pass scrutiny.

Regarding the matter of abortion, I would suggest the discussion must always be founded on whether or not that which is in the womb is a human life. Biological arguments are effective here. It is no secret that the when a zygote is formed at conception, the baby has a unique DNA, distinct from the mother. Even the government admits this:
The zygote contains all of the genetic information (DNA) needed to become a baby. Half the DNA comes from the mother's egg and half from the father's sperm. Fetal Development, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2013) (see more references at Life begins at conception, science teaches, Live Action News)
The NLM is ironically part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services––the government entity that admitted oral contraceptives increase cancer risk in women. And here it admits the unique DNA identity of the enwombed infant from conception.

Building on the science from a philosophical perspective, we can observe the beginning of the life process with the merger of the egg and sperm (the zygote). And we can observe continuity from that stage until a person passes away. To assign human life's beginning at some other point along the empirical timeline inevitably proves arbitrary, inconsistent, and fails scrutiny. For some examples of these flawed arguments here at TCV, see Replies to Planned Parenthood arguments or Notre Dame professor's flawed argument for abortion.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

7 historic photos with Catholic back stories II

This posts continues the theme of the first "historic photos post" here at The Catholic Voyager. Following are seven more historic photos with Catholic back stories.

1. Nuns on the swing, 1963

Credit: New York Daily News Archive / Contributor
In November 1963, the Catholic Committee on Scouting of North Bergen, Boy Scouts of America visited St. Joseph's Village, a home to nearly 200 dependent children in Rockleigh, New Jersey. The complex operated from 1958-1972 and was run by the Sisters of St. Joseph to give care to children without a viable home situation.

Jim Brown, webmaster and historian at the St. Joseph's Village website, recalls the boy scouts' visits:
There were two times the scouts had a clam bake there, as I remember. And I was at it one of the times. That day, they had different activities that the scouts were doing, like rope climbing and things like that. And the nuns were participating in them.
Pictured above are two of the sisters enjoying a ride on the Village's playground swing set, near the Barbara Givernaud Cottage, a residence home for the children.

Today, the Village is now a facility for a variety of human services, as summarized at the St. Joseph's Village website:
After the Village closed it doors for good in 1972, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Newark sold the property to the Bergen County Special Services on the condition that it be used to help people. After making considerable modifications, the county opened several human services programs — a 110 bed nursing home, a substance abuse rehabilitation program, a high school for autistic children, and other programs for youth with emotional and behavioral needs.

2. The Copiapó Mining Rescue, 2010

On August 5, 2010, over 2,000 feet beneath the earth's surface, the San José copper-gold mine in Copiapó, Chile suffered a cave-in. Over 700,000 tons of rock sealed the exit on 33 miners. The following days would prove taxing on the hearts of the watching world.

Mining companies throughout the globe offered their assistance. The owner of one company, Drillers Supply International, was Greg Hall, a Catholic deacon at Christ the Redeemer church in, Cypress, Texas.

In a recent interview with Aleteia, Deacon Hall recalls:
The miners were somewhere between 400 and 800 meters down. The mining equipment only goes to 400 meters. We were called in to help them get to 800. ... After day 10 I was convinced it was a recovery effort, not a rescue. There was a place in the mine called the “refuge” where trapped workers could go during an emergency, but there were only provisions there for three days.
Yet, on day 17, a drill penetrated the "refuge" chamber, and the rescue crew could hear tapping on the end of the drill. When they raised the drill, on the end was a note in Spanish reading: "We are OK in the refuge, the 33."

How did 33 men survive 17 days on 3 days rations? They ate two teaspoons of tuna, one biscuit, and a sip of milk every other day. They also had dug for water and rationed extra water from the radiators.

Now with an opening to the miners, supplies were sent for their continued survival. Yet the Chilean government's plan for rescue at this point was scheduled to last 5-6 months. Hall met with officials and convinced them to attempt what became known as Plan B.

With help from a team of specialists and high-tech equipment from around the world, the rescue team sought to widen a hole which was originally 5 inches in diameter to a hole 26 inches in diameter. Throughout the ordeal, Hall prayed and prayed. While praying the Liturgy of the Hours one morning, he recalls praying: "I’m going to do everything I can, Lord, but this is not my work, this is your work."

One hundred feet from finishing the widened tunnel, the drill stopped. "We were stuck, totally, 100 percent stuck," Hall recalls. The equipment had already defied computer modeling for that depth and that pressure to that point. The situation felt bleak. Hall prayed again, "I’ve done everything I can, Lord, this is your work.  You are going to have to send your angels." And the drill finally came to life again, finishing the 26-inch wide tunnel through which the miners would be rescued one by one via a narrow capsule. "God drilled the hole," Hall says.

Pictured above is Mario Gomez, the ninth miner rescued, pausing to pray after reaching the surface. The narrow transport capsule is in the background. The 33rd and final miner was rescued on October 13, 2010, over two months after the cave-in, and also the feast of the last apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.

The incident is now a major motion picture called The 33.

3. The Boxer Rebellion, 1900

In 1900, Chinese Christians sustained some of the worst persecution in Chinese history during "The Boxer Rebellion."

According to, a number of Chinese rebelled against Christian residents and missionaries, and other Western immigrants, blaming "their poor standard of living on foreigners who were colonizing their country." Whether immigration attributed to their poverty was a matter of debate. For instance, a large percentage of Boxers came "from Shandong province, which had been struck by natural disasters such as famine and flooding."

During the rebellion, "the Boxers killed Chinese Christians and Christian missionaries and destroyed churches and railroad stations and other property." Pictured above, center, is a Roman Catholic priest identified as "Pater Schen," with two Catholic guards, preparing for a siege on their church by the rebels. In researching the back story of this photo, I was not able to ascertain the fate of these specific men. However, the Catholic Encyclopedia records a number of martyrs during the Boxer Rebellion, including the Lazarist priest, Jules Garrigues, Doré, two Marist brethren, and Father d'Addosio.

The Boxer rebellion officially ended in 1901 following the help of allied forces which included Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

4. "Christ of the Abyss," 2009 (1965)

Photo by Stephen Weir, (

For our next photo, we go subaqua to the waters of Key Largo, Florida. Pictured above is a 2009 photo of one of the premier attractions of Key Largo––the Christ of the Abyss statue. It was installed in the underwater John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in 1965.

The statue is the third underwater sculpture of its kind, cast from the same mold as the original, which dates back to 1954 near Genoa, Italy. The second, installed in 1961, is off the coast of Grenada.

The Key Largo statue celebrated its 50th year this year. The man responsible for transporting the replica of the original Italian statue is Gabe Spataro. Earlier this year, at age 83, he celebrated the statue's anniversary by diving, while legally blind, no less, in Key Largo to lay wreaths on the statue.

Discovery News recently produced a short video on the Key Largo Christ of the Abyss. The video features the photographer credited above, Stephen Weir. Although Weir himself is not a Christian, he said of the statue, "For me, when I first saw Jesus, it was inspirational." Watch the Discovery News video here.

5. The Penitent Thief, 1961

If you think this photo looks like characters from Dragnet taking detectives' notes with Catholic statues, you're not far off. This photo appeared on the front page of the June 9, 1961 issue of the Denver Post with the headline: Religious Statues Prod Thief's Conscience. The brief story reads:
Denver detectives Walter Starr (left) and Arthur Moser make a list of the religious statues left, apparently by a thief, in vestibule of the parish house of Loyola Catholic Church, 2301 York St. The statues were in three suitcases, and the Rev. Ed P. Murphy left them undisturbed several days, thinking they belonged to a visiting priest. Finally he opened them, and in looking over the statues found the name of their owner, Hans Dorff, a San Francisco importer. Fr. Murphy wrote to Dorff, and Dorff notified Denver police. Seems the statues and other belongings were stolen from his car parked on a Denver street the night of May 29.

6. Smoke Signals, 1963

This gentleman is cooking up none other than smoke signals from inside the Vatican during the 1963 papal conclave at which Pope Paul VI was eventually elected. This was the first time special chemicals were added to the signal smoke. To outside onlookers, white smoke signifies a new pope has been chosen. Black smoke signifies no result. During the prior conclave in 1958, what was intended to be black smoke escaped white, confusing the audience into thinking a pope had been named, when in fact he had not.1 The confusion later led to the chemical additives of 1963. In 2005, ringing of bells were also added as part of the signal for an affirmative papal election.
1Burke-Young, Francis A. Passing the Keys. Madison Books. Maryland, Oxford. 2001. p.110


7. Comet Hunters, 1946

Either the two priests above were holding a pair of binoculars when they shrunk, or they are Jesuits at the Vatican Observatory. On February 2, 1946, the announcement was made of the "Timmers Comet," named for Brother Matthew Timmers above, with his associate Father Walter Miller.

The comet, visible with telescopic assistance, passed over the Americas. Subscribers of a Harvard "announcement" list received a mailing that included "Tables of position" for the comet's spring travels. Author J. Hugh Pruett for the Spokane Daily Chronicle recounted his observation:
Two of us first looked for Comet Timmers in a wonderfully clear and moonless sky on the evening of February 25. There...was in the position predicted, a fuzzy little object with a bright central nucleus and a faint indication of a nebulous tail pointing away from the sun––as do all orthodox cometary appendages. Surrounding it in the circular field of view were many little stars of various brilliancies. We were reaching into the great spaces for an interplanetary traveler far beyond the ken of unaided vision.