Collecting thoughts, and asteroids

Stuart Buchanan
3 min readSep 8, 2023

Hello Medium Dot Com. It’s been a while.

You know, this platform has diligently emailed me every week to let me know how many more views my various articles have received. So, it would be unfair to say that I’d forgotten about this place entirely. But I think what I’ve come to realise is I’ve forgotten the practice of writing for the pleasure.

Here’s how this piece is coming together, the thoughts basically forming as I am busy typing. I have currently carved a bit more time for myself out of my schedule this month. So, instead of the instinctual deleting of the Medium weekly update, I — *shock, horror* — clicked through to take a look at my Medium profile. And within reading a few of my old pieces, I was reminded that… I quite liked doing this. And I did it a lot. I found my one year reflections on moving to Scotland. Well, it’s now nearly six and a half years and just yesterday, I was knee-deep in paperwork to finalise our permanent settlement here.

Reflections on a year in Scotland | by Stuart Buchanan | Medium

But then I saw another article I wrote for the Maropeng website some time ago — the one about the launch of a satellite that would collect a sample of an asteroid, and bring it back to Earth. It was going to be a long and complicated mission, involving precise calculations, but it also a worthy challenge that could offer humanity a fascinating glimpse into the raw materials that make up our solar system.

10 questions about OSIRIS-REx, the world’s latest asteroid-sampling mission | by Stuart Buchanan | Medium

This article now reflects a particular time in my life. I was creating multimedia content all over the web for a wide variety of clients, but I was particularly fond of writing for Maropeng. The topics were usually about space or dinosaurs. I mean, c’mon. I had a huge portfolio of work built up, but I was ready for a change, and plans for Edinburgh were already underway. I too was about to embark on a long and complicated mission, although probably involving much less precise calculations, and certainly not providing humanity with any fascinating glimpses worth noting.

But I have obviously enjoyed a few fascinating glimpses into my own life. That one year reflection piece I wrote indicates that. For various reasons since then, I’ve not recorded these thoughts outside of Instagram photos and stories. But I think it’s time to dust off the keyboard and get back into it.

Speaking of getting back, the timing of this whole realistion is rather uncanny. After I wrote about OSIRIS-REx in 2016, I kind of forgot about it until a few years back when, lo and behold, it actually made it to asteroid Bennu and successfully gave it a big old lick.

And then I forgot about it again.

I’m sorry, okay — my day job no longer involves keeping up with the latest news from the world of space and dinosaurs (although I’d love it to be).

(There’s another joke to be made here about my day job and dinosaurs, but I shan’t).

Stumbling on this old piece now, I quickly looked up what news there is of the mission, and — it’s due back to return to Earth in just a few days.

If that isn’t a literal sign from the stars that I too should return, to writing — whether it’s about space, dinosaurs, my life or anything else that fascinates me — I don’t know what is.