Yesterday NASA completed a successful test of the abort system of the Orion spacecraft, this is just one headline in a whole list of announcements in space exploration. Whether it’s Space X, NASA or Blue Origin someone, somewhere is heading back to the Moon with a view to getting to Mars.
Many say we should be putting the money we would otherwise spend into helping developed parts of the world to survive, to bring all these people out of poverty and onto prosperity? I have to say it’s very hard to argue this point but as usual the answer (if there is an answer) is not that simple.
The economic argument alone is pretty compelling, the US government had made its money many times over from what it’s put into the space race. This can be attributed at least in part by innovation. This interesting little infographic from JPL explains more:
20 Inventions we wouldn’t have had without Space Travel
It’s also been noted that some military development projects as well as some essential domestic services cost more that some US space programs. But even with all these it’s not a reason why and it’s a bi-product of our space exploration activities.
Everything is temporary
Something that science and exploring our local planetary neighbourhood has uncovered is that everything is temporary. Venus and Mars have both had times in their history where liquid water has existed on the surface. Both now are barren and desolate worlds that could never support water, let alone any kind of complex life. On Mars we’re still searching for bacteria even though many say that the images from NASA clearly show an intelligent civilisation once lived there.
I’m not so sure… But each to their own.
The point is that one day the Earth will expire, it will. Many say that man will wipe itself out before then but some aren’t willing to chance that what is certain is that either by ourselves or nature the human race will be extinct if we don’t learn to live beyond our Earth. So far human kind lives in the most hospitable places on Earth, even Antarctica which is perhaps the closest man can come to living on on Mars or any other world without leaving the Earth.
But this touches on perhaps the biggest reason.
Perhaps the biggest reason is the challenge and the rewards that exploring space offers. Mankind has always wanted a challenge and this usually means that we’ve built a weapon to go and level come other poor country and take it over.
Basically we’ve been fighting over a fraction of a speck in the cosmos and that quite frankly is pointless. Just think what could be achieved if mankind actually decided that we need to do this properly, work together, drop the weapons, drop the money and work towards a better future for all of us by working towards a future beyond Earth.
That would be an amazing thing, it would be a crowning achievement for a race that started out in such a violent way. There would be no more need for war or famine or poverty becasue we would finally become one race and equal in it’s achievements.
I fear it may not happen for a while yet – but there is always the hope. When we do go (if) let’s just remember to leave the nukes at home.
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