Monday, August 13, 2012

Space Exploration vs. Healing the World

When the Mars rover landed there was a live ticker for comments running and one comment was that while "we all here" celebrate the successful landing someone just died of cancer. 

True - and of hunger and thirst or murder or war as well.

But aren't "we" allowed to celebrate something a team of people have accomplished - just like another team can accomplish a remedy for cancer or other deadly heath issues and famine and drought ans so on?? 

All these things are being worked on but they not always get as much media attention or "fast" success as the rover landing did in that specific moment. 

Today then, I came across this letter, a well written little piece of argumentation for space exploration and all the money that goes into it:

Why Explore Space? A 1970 Letter to a Nun in Africa

Just some quotes from the letter: 
"Efficient relief from hunger, I am afraid, will not come before the boundaries between nations have become less divisive than they are today. I do not believe that space flight will accomplish this miracle over night. However, the space program is certainly among the most promising and powerful agents working in this direction."
Presumably, you will ask now why we must develop first a life support system for our moon-travelling astronauts, before we can build a remote-reading sensor system for heart patients. The answer is simple: significant progress in the solutions of technical problems is frequently made not by a direct approach, but by first setting a goal of high challenge which offers a strong motivation for innovative work, which fires the imagination and spurs men to expend their best efforts, and which acts as a catalyst by including chains of other reactions.
and finishes off with these words:
Very fortunately though, the space age not only holds out a mirror in which we can see ourselves, it also provides us with the technologies, the challenge, the motivation, and even with the optimism to attack these tasks with confidence. What we learn in our space program, I believe, is fully supporting what Albert Schweitzer had in mind when he said: “I am looking at the future with concern, but with good hope."

Now, 40 years later we still need lots of enthusiasm for our youngsters to learn about science and it's application possibilities for humanity.

Food distribution, prevention of drought and deluge and other natural catastrophes as well as human made wars (and dangers to our life like nuclear waste or as simple as travelling with a car) are still killing thousands of people each year.
Nations are still concurring with each other on solving those issues as well on finding remedies for deadly illnesses instead of combining their efforts.

It's as if all those years NOTHING has happened. Well, not quite true. Things have happened. 
Scientific discoveries have been made and applied. But the fighting still goes on. 
The internet unites people as they communicate in "social networks" across borders, races and religions. But the fighting still goes on.
Communities combine their efforts on becoming independent from the governmental power grid, save water and energy together. But the fighting still goes on.

There are still lone fighters for the hope of a united world. But what do we do? Each one of us? We know, it's the unity and combined effort of this we all have to work on. In our families, with our friends and then with our governments and leaders of nations. And then between the nations.

I hope that we can overcome all the differences between us, the envy and resentment we experience with the people closest to us, the fear of others not like us and even the hate toward strangers. And finally truly work together for a better world we all want to live in. 

Space exploration is a gigantic step for humanity, and every tiny little step each one of us can take can get the same result as this one big step. It's not a one or the other but a both in harmony and balance that might get us there. The only thing is: time is running out......................... 

As in Space travel: there comes a point of "no return". Once reached it's "game over" and you'll have to start anew, with a complete different basis to work from. But, who knows, maybe that is the "better" solution after all..................

Just some wild running thoughts here at the end. No answer to the question. 

Our moon. Already in ancient times the moon inspired humans to great things. Humankind has come a long way - but there is just as much to move on further.