In ancient times, people believed the earth was flat and rested on three whales. Magellan changed these perceptions: if you sailed to the west, you would eventually return to your starting point from the east. For more than a year, Magellan looked for a passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. His faith and courage never left him, despite ordeals suffered in the unwelcoming southern latitudes. Today, this passage is called the Strait of Magellan. One of Magellan’s ships circumnavigated the world and returned to the Spanish port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. The latest cosmological evidence indicates that the universe is a closed system – if you fly away from the earth, at some point you will find yourself approaching it. In the end, you will have circumnavigated the universe and returned to earth. The space probe Magellan flew around Venus 15,000 times, revealing what the surface of that distant planet looks like. It is sometimes called the Evening Star.
The spirit of the first explorer lives on! Scientists, investigating surviving traces of radiation from the galaxies, experience the same feeling of discovery when uncovering new or unusual facts, some of which can change our entire existing worldview. With a little imagination, we can make out a figure flying along the moon glade, arms spread out over the moving ship as if to bless its voyage.