The first thing to realise about space exploration is it hasn’t begun yet. All we seem to do is send unmanned toys to Mars and Venus, and fly around the planet in high orbit like flies buzzing around something dead.
Some would say the Apollo missions were real exploration. After all, we got to the Moon, man! Sorry, it was nothing of the sort. It was simple oneupmanship – a consequence of the Cold War, and the determination to beat the Commies.
We SHOULD be getting out there. The urge to explore has been the crowning glory of the human race, moving out of our natural habitats in Prehistoric times, and eventually navigating the planet. We are Homo Curious, you see. We need to know!
PROBLEMS, PROBLEMS, PROBLEMS
But at present, it has all stopped. Maybe it’s because space is such a magnificent, terrifying leap. And because we’ve lost our courage, we’ve descended into the trivia and celebrity obsessed world of today. In other words, we’re burying our heads in the sand.
Another problem to space exploration proper is government. Space is run by government, but history shows they are terrible explorers. All known exploration in our history has been pushed forward by businessmen, intent on trade. Governments play catch-up.
For that reason, Big Biz should be looking spacewards, not fuelling our trivia obsessed society. They’re the real cowards, happy with their profits. Well, listen, Big Biz. Get the hell off of this planet!
YES, IT IS IMPORTANT
Some people say space exploration is of no use to us. This is wrong. One thing that is becoming clear is that real exploration cannot be done by any single country. It would be a planetary affair. And I can think of no better impulse to bring us together more as a species. So there is an advantage. Peace.
The media can play its part. Every advance in our society has come due to a new idea. We need a Big Story to fuel us. So it’s time to think up a good Big Story about our planet, and its place in the Cosmos. Get us all inspired!
Our solar system holds wonders by the million, all waiting to be explored. Our technologists are up to the task of building adequate space vessels and closed habitats capable of providing for small colonies. The only thing holding us back is our fear.
And I’m not just talking about our solar system, either. Ever since the 1960s plans have been on the drawing board for innovative designs of fast and generational starships, with innovative engines, even collecting hydrogen fuel as they go to the stars.
Many believe faster-than-light travel is impossible because of the barrier placed by Einstein. But what we forget is Relativity is not a theory of the universe, but of man. And the best way to find out if such travel is feasible is to place an imperative on scientists to find out. I, for one, think it’s bunkum.
Star travel could even begin a new form of existence for man, as one of the peculiarities of such travel is that the faster you travel, the more time slows down. So if light speed was attained, a journey that seems to take years viewed from Earth, would only actually only take a matter of weeks on the ship. Hence, our new star travellers could actually live through many centuries.
One final barrier is the idea that man is too violent and destructive to be let loose in space. From my experience, man is never more violent than when he is bored. When he has a real mission to achieve, he excels as a human being. So, is it time for Blast-Off?