We are all starstruck to a certain extent. Every fiber of our being, down to the tiniest atom, was created in the explosion of a dying star 4.54 billion years ago. We were literally struck by a star. Every human being that walks this earth is the same. We are all stardust.
2020 is an exciting time to be alive. Revolutions are silently taking place in creative institutions around the world, as we accelerate through fields of medicine, architecture, and mobile technology. New sectors are being born, "digital health", "smart cities" and "autonomous solutions". It is the era of the machine.
As we stand on the precipice of the unknown, the 5th Revolution, we wonder. What is the most exciting discovery we take with us?
It is easy to focus on your immediate surroundings. In fact, it is very sensible. Watch out for cars as you cross the road. Cast your eye behind you when you are alone in a dodgy area. Scan glances at your feet every now and again to ensure you don't trip over anything.
How often do we look up?
One of the most under appreciated but astounding developments in science this last decade has been the charting of the galaxy. Just last year, the [Sloan Digital Sky Survey](https://www.sdss.org/) opened our eyes to never before seen detail of our night sky. Years of research and new 3D maps created the most intricate imaging of stars, black holes and galaxies. The brainchild of Juna Kollmeier, who claims that at this rate, we will have mapped every large galaxy in the finite or observable universe by 2060.
A short summary of the history of astronomy will show this to be utterly astonishing. It was only a century ago that we even grasped the size of the universe. For over one hundred years, dedicated astronomers have used at first the naked human eye, then rudimentary tools and increasingly sophisticated telescopes and software to get an ever more precise understanding of our galactic neighborhood.
Charting the stars then and now
A handful of the global population have, for far longer than any of us have been alive, been pouring their minds and souls into charting every star, moon, planet or deep sky object in the mysterious night sky. Think that the Milky Way alone has over 250 billion stars and you will get a sense of this colossal task.
This latest development in charting uses three mappers and an armory for astronomical observation to study 6 million of these stars in great detail, to build a bigger picture of the whole. They are also tackling the physics-defying black holes - about which even the latest science knows very little. The fields of robotics and astronomy are merging as artificial intelligence plays an increasing role in these observations.
In the case of the SDSS, tiny robots will move within the focal planes of giant telescopes, gathering information and light from enigmas like black holes.
For as long as humans have walked this earth, they have lain on their backs and looked at the stars. Ancient civilizations in China, Rome and Greece created their own maps of the night sky. Today NASA, Jyotish Hindu academics, and astronomical observatories around the world are painstakingly broadening our understanding of the universe in which we live.
The new era of space exploration
Popular scientists like the legendary Neil de Grasse Tyson (head of the Hayden Observatory in New York, who recently promoted our very own star maps! and Brian Cox (famed for his documentary series "Wonders of the Universe") have made learning about space as cool as it should be.
Today, charting the stars is easier than ever before. We can make your unique personalized star map where you can map the constellations in their precise positions on any given date. Or you can create your own map of the night sky using free software and online tools like https://www.latlong.net/convert-address-to-lat-long.html and time.is.
With the possibility of humans reaching Mars ever closer, our understanding of the galaxy we live in is ever more relevant. Charting the stars is the biggest achievement of the last decade, and may the roaring 2020’s be the era of space exploration.