Monthly Archives: January 2019

Ultima Thule

NASA appear to be showing a profound lack of ambition.  They’ve gone to the end of the world, and will never go further.

For there is no destination more remote than Thule, the semi-mythical far northern land of tales of the ancient world.  A mythical character that leaves it open to being identified with a range of different northern isles known to modern man, but always the end of the earth.

Iceland is by far the biggest candidate on the modern map, and tales of a land of fire and ice like Weelkes’s Period[1] of Cosmography (from around 1600) support that.  And if Thule is Iceland, Ultima Thule could be either even-more-inaccessible Greenland or merely inflationary language.  But only because Renaissance Europe’s exploration had gone further than the Odyssey in the 2000+ years since ancient Thule.

Now NASA has gone to Ultima Thule.  The end of the world.  By their own choice of nomenclature, they can go no further.

[1]Period as in punctuation: the ultimate end of the world!