EHT Scientists Share What Inspires Them On Space Exploration Day

In honor of Space Exploration Day, commemorating the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969, Event Horizon Telescope scientists share what inspires them about space exploration and observation.

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For all of humanity, life begins as a profound voyage of exploration. Some of us are gifted the great fortune of never fully growing up. At heart, I remain an explorer. Every day, I set forth to confront the unknown, not on foot, but on blackboards, inside computers, and through telescopes. Thus, to me, the Event Horizon Telescope is not a telescope at all, really; rather it is a ship in which we travel across galaxies, find monsters in the night that bend both spacetime and minds, and push forth the edge of human experience.

-Avery E. Broderick

Delaney Family John Archibald Wheeler Chair in Theoretical Physics
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

Associate Professor
University of Waterloo

Member of the EHT Board

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For me, exploring space means studying phenomena that go beyond human imagination. Working for the very exciting Event Horizon Telescope Consortium means making the impossible possible: taking a picture of a black hole's shadow. It means capturing the very essence of what defines the most extreme and bizarre objects in space: black holes, which are so massive that not even light can escape them, due to their extreme gravitational field.

-Michael Janssen

PhD student

Radboud University Nijmegen

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As an instrumentally focused EHT collaborator, I get a real kick out of designing, building and deploying equipment across the globe to do amazing things. Together with the incredible inventions of others, like atomic clocks, and space age technology which is almost a utility, like GPS, the equipment my group designs is capable of measuring astronomical sources with unprecedented spatial resolution. This is what enables the EHT to zoom in to the edge of black holes— which, of course, is a super cool thing to do— I don’t think I need to explain why.

-Jonathan Weintroub

EHT Lead Engineer

Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

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Each time I unveil and understand secrets of the nature for the first time is the most exciting moment for me. In the meantime, working with a large number of nice colleagues from different background/countries gives me opportunities to learn the different ways of thinking and different cultures. In addition, I can share the moment we feel a sense of accomplishment, if we work as a team. Those are delightful moments for me. Through the EHT collaboration, I am exposed to such moments and occasions quite often.

-Keiichi Asada

EHT Science Council Member

ASIAA, Taiwan

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It is thrilling to turn one's eyes to the sky and make method of the brilliant madness that has kept humanity in awe for millennia. To make observational study of black holes is even more exciting; space is the laboratory of some of the most extreme regimes of physics, and the fact that we humans can sit on our rock and learn facts about the universe by looking at twinkling and wobbling in the sky is just plain cool!

-Daniel Palumbo

EHT Summer Intern

Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

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I am inspired to study space because science tends to advance most when scientists find the unexpected, being proved wrong can be much more exciting then being proved right. Astronomy never ceases to surprise and amaze us, making the unexpected a relatively common occurrence. Space acts as the ultimate laboratory where theories are tested in the most extreme ways, giving us the best chance to prove ourselves wrong.

-Lia Medeiros

PhD Student

University of Arizona/UC Santa Barbara

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When I was much younger I was inspired by the travels of Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, or Alessandro Malaspina; thinking about the unknown waiting for them beyond the blue horizon. Equipped with their vessels and the best instrumentation of their epoch, their expeditions were designed to find new worlds. Now we can dream further every time we open a new window to the universe with the same tremble: a mixture of thirst for knowledge and respect for the unknown. When we point a new telescope we share the same feeling that has always driven mankind to reach for new frontiers. The Event Horizon Telescope gives us this chance now, with new eyes to the skies we will see new things, and perhaps we can even challenge established theories with new evidence.

-Eduardo Ros

Staff Scientist

Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie