Perhaps the most unexpected consequence of the moon flights was a transformation of attitudes towards Earth itself. Space was indeed beautiful, but it was beauty of a severe, geometrical sort. Planets and stars swept through the cosmos in obedience to Isaac Newton’s mathematical clockwork, a spectacle more likely to inspire awe than love. Earth was a magnificent contrast, a jewel hung in utter darkness, an exuberant riot of chaos and life in a haunting, abyssal emptiness. The sight had a profound effect on the astronauts, and photos of the whole Earth, which had never been seen before, nourished the nascent green movement.I found the thought really striking and the image of the jewel hung in utter darkness particularly memorable. I tweeted about it. Quite a few people agreed and re-tweeted it.
This morning I was reading the print edition and there's the obituary. It's been cut, partly for fit, but also presumably to dampen down its lyricism. The above paragraph now reads:
Yet the flights had one huge unintended consequence: they transformed attitiudes towards Earth itself. He too had been astonished to see his own planet "quite beautiful", remote and very blue, covered with a white lace of clouds.I know Samuel Johnson said you should read your work back, find the bit you like best and strike it out, but this is ridiculous.