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.