Grain of Sand

What is an artist doing working for NASA? Dan Goods on the beauty and vastness of the universe.

“I had one grain of sand, and that represented our galaxy. What was cool was that I could have someone at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory drill a hole a tenth of the size of the grain of sand into it – and that little, tiny hole is where we live.”

The universe is a vast and beautiful thing. We know more about it than ever before, but there’s still so much to discover.

Dan Goods is a Visual Strategist for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and his job is to make the universe just that bit more comprehensible through art – like drilling a hole in a grain of sand, or creating retro travel posters for other planets. For example, the tagline for the planet Kepler-16b? “The land of two suns … where your shadow always has company.”

In this episode, Dan shares his enthusiasm for the mystery and wonders of the universe, and why he can never stop being in awe of the world around us – and beyond.

“Awe has to do with vastness and things that are much bigger than yourself – there’s a sense of reverence involved in it. That feeling draws you to something that starts a spiritual conversation. You may call it God, or the universe, or whatever … but I think it starts asking these questions.”

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