Taking Stock - December 29, 2014

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The fridge is still full of leftover turkey, the recycling bin is overflowing with wrapping paper and we’ve all spent a good few days dozing in front of repeats while the little ones, bored with their toys, play with the packaging instead.

Welcome to the no-man’s land between Christmas and New Year.

Now I’m in my mid-thirties I’ve got no time for non-stop partying.

I’ll raise a glass to 2015 but I’ll probably spend the next few days taking stock of the year that has, all but, passed.

I’m sure we’ve got our own individual tales to tell - many of them enough to test the belief of even the most determined of soap opera writers.

Besides, there’s been so much going on elsewhere.

The headlines this year have been dominated by three stories (four if you include Fleetwood Town’s promotion at Wembley).

As important as Russia and Ukraine, the ongoing conflict in Syria and Iraq and the Ebola crisis have been, it’s been the stories from the heavens which have captured my imagination.

When I was seven I proclaimed my desire to be an astronaut and take the first step on Mars. I’ll admit something went very wrong with that plan - but I do think it’s high time we rediscovered our thirst for adventure and discovery

A couple of weeks before Christmas NASA, with very little fanfare took perhaps the first step on that road with the launch of the Orion capsule.

It was the first time, in my lifetime, we put into space a craft designed to put boots on a heavenly body other than our own - a landmark moment most of us missed.

It wasn’t the only big achievement in the skies.

We landed a fridge on a comet which has helped rule out one theory about the origins of life.

And talking of life, we found evidence of it (probably long expired) on another world - proof which turned out to come in the form of ancient, well, wind!

Some people question the money spent on space but I’m a firm believer we’re at our best when we’re pushing beyond our boundaries.

So, I’m looking to the heavens for hope in 2015.

I hope you have a happy new year.