Here’s the underlying science: the earthly details initially cling to the rocket’s shell but are then dislodged. So at first the astronaut sees the faces in the crowd as the rocket thrusts away from earth: she can see fear and joy and anger and jealousy. Very soon she sees trees and fields. Further out she can just about make out cities, then later some familiar countries. Eventually, she grows excited just spotting the different continents. But in the end, velocity dislodges even the most stubborn distinctions. All she sees – all she wants to see – is perfect wholeness, silent and inexplicable.