Heroes aren’t enough

I’m a space enthusiast. I believe we need to expand off this planet for a wide variety of reasons, some positive, some to avoid negatives. I’m not alone. Where I take a significantly different path, however, is in what I think we need to do next. Or maybe it’s what I see us missing in our enthusiasm.

I just listened to a great answer from Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson on going to space. A decade ago I’d have agreed. He speaks of how NASA should be looking outward, with specific goals. He speaks of how we need heroes, how our astronauts get 8 year olds wanting to be Out There, and that leads to scientists and mathematicians and astronomers and a host of critical fields.

And that is the problem, right there. The scientists and mathematicians and such aren’t going to space. They’re supporting the handful that are going, instead.

They’re supporting the people who can afford $200,000 for a quick visit; who can afford a million or two for a three day tour of the ISS; who can afford it, or for whom others are willing to pay. Heroes by some measures, and certainly sources of envy for those of us still here.

We need to quit focusing on the heroes. We need them, but we need everyone else. We need the shopkeepers and the construction workers and the cooks and the… we need to get THEM out there.

I want my grandchildren to think of living on the moon as no more ‘different’ than living in another country. That means I have to make it possible for my daughter to no longer think of “going to space” as rare. I have a dream, and I have an idea.

And that… is a teaser, of which more anon.

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2 thoughts on “Heroes aren’t enough

  1. Do you really think that living on the moon is an option? Do you really think we can create an atmosphere on the moon, have water, soil, light enough to grow food to support people?

    I don’t really think it’s an option. I think the math and the science back it. It’s not free to get to the moon. And I’m not talking about money to build space ships. I’m talking about fuel. Even NASA knows they have a limited supply of the fuel they need for space runs.

    When we are looking at peak oil for general fuel consumption on this planet, the same goes for specific rocket fuel used to send up ships. It’s a limited supply. How do we have enough fuel to support life on a moon, or another planet – when those places don’t have the atmosphere, water and light to support life as we expect it?

  2. Pingback: Response to comment on “why go out there?” « Mental Meanderings

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