I have written on this blog many times about why I write science fiction. I have linked to many articles about the individuals who are creating the privatized space travel industry. If you can’t tell it is a subject about which I am very passionate (yes I am well aware of what that makes me). When I take the dog out at night I look up at the moon, the planets and the stars and hope for a day when I might be able to visit them. That is a central precept of science fiction (at least in my mind) is to show a future where we are not bound to this one tiny dot in the infinite expanse of space.
I’ve met many people who do not share this same vision. They do not see the point of space exploration. In their minds there are more than enough problems here on Earth that need our full attention. To these people I have a hard time articulating why it is so important for humanity to expand outwards. I generally end up talking about the material benefits from mineral resources, but that is only a surface answer that gives some sense of credibility of why we would choose to launch into the solar system. The real answer I don’t think I can fully express. When I look up into the stars and see the distant pin pricks of light something within me stirs. There is a need, a deep marrow drive, to leave this planet and explore. I don’t know where it comes from. Ask my wife and she will tell you how much of a homebody I am. I know though that if I was given an opportunity to explore the solar system, or the galaxy I would take it in a heartbeat. There is some contradiction there that I am aware of, but cannot explain. Maybe it is the same feeling that drove the first humans out of Africa, or Magellan to sail around the world. Maybe exploration is written into humanities DNA.
All of this is a preamble to introduce you to an article written by Rick Tumlinson, who shares that same passion. For those of you who understand what I am talking about, Rick’s words will offer affirmation of our belief. To those of you who don’t understand, or think the whole idea is stupid then maybe he can give you an idea. My favorite part from the article is this section:
“To some of us who have the frontier calling, there is no question “Why space?” It makes no sense. We look out and know that out there are more galaxies than there are all the grains of sand on all the beaches and in all the deserts of the world and in each of those a million times a million suns, around which swirl millions of worlds, each different, each a question mark itself and each a possibility for new life, new knowledge and new places to be — and we wonder, how could anyone, anyone, ask such a question?
The hubris in this might seem to reside in those who look at the stars and dream such incredible dreams, of flights to worlds unknown, of new civilizations and a humanity finally rising above its ragged roots. I suggest it is more in those who look at the stars and do not. Those who think we have done it all, those who do not understand, who do not grasp nor comprehend the incredible adventure ahead of us, and how we, We who are only a blink of an eye beyond the discovery of fire can even wonder “Why space?” or even “Why are we here?”
To those of us who know, it is obvious, We are here… to go there.”
So take a moment to read the article and maybe it will change your mind. Maybe it will start to make you dream a little dream of infinite places…and have the desire to explore them.