“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” -Saint Francis of Assisi
We humans are destined for greatness within our evolutionary paths. Destined to travel amongst planetary bodies in our solar system and, perhaps, throughout the universe entirely with enough time and effort. Humans are clearly among the greatest things to ever happen to this planet and it cannot be more clear to me that we are beings that will go far as cosmic time passes. We will solve problems like climate change and mass extinction with our profound intelligence and diligent spirits. Humans, and our proceeding evolutionary offspring, shall surely see infinite possibilities realized.
Over the past couple millennia our species has made profound innovations that firmly plant us at the very top of any other species in areas such as competition for resources as well as intelligence. We run this planet (to a sizable extent). Our genes are surely passing themselves along as over 7 billion people inhabit the earth and the number is increasing at an ever faster pace. There is more genetic diversity than ever before and humans are bombarding themselves with genius ideas and innovations we only know too well. We’ve been doing it, well, almost forever! We don’t stop, because we can’t stop. We will eventually use our extraordinary gift of intelligence to travel to different planets inside and outside of our solar system…someday.
Believe me, I’m well aware of the endless other problems and innovations we must solve and concoct to take us closer to a brighter future for all of us on earth, but we have only just begun to flex our brain muscles as a show of human excellence. Because in a geological sense, 500, 1,000, or 2017 years isn’t a long time. It’s an extremely short amount of time! However, many things have changed for humans in the past 2,017 years. And likely many many more things will change for us humans in the next 2,017, 4,000 and 500,000 years. There’s no question we’ll be interplanetary, if not intergalactic, within the next 500,000 years. Our next hominid relative after Homo Sapiens will certainly be a force to be reckoned within the universe; giving reality to the Star Wars and Star Trek fantasies we hold so dear. This kind of prediction (grounded in reality), albeit vague, makes me disappointed in those who say we shouldn’t go to Mars, and aren’t scientifically literate.
Manned Mars Mission Mania
Just the other day I watched an animated video on Facebook narrated by Bill Maher saying why we shouldn’t go to Mars. Now some idiots who watched the video might agree and shame reputable men like Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, or even Donald Trump for wanting this amazing goal for our future. If Elon Musk wants to put a million people on the red planet he should be receiving nothing but encouragement. Once a goal like that is realized it will permanently alter the direction of human history. It would be a grand gesture of human innovation indeed.
Yes Mars has no air, and yes it is freezing. This is all because of the sun. The sun is responsible for stripping Mars of it’s atmosphere while Mars is responsible for not maintaining a strong enough magnetic field for keeping said atmosphere thicker. So while the red planet sits frozen in spacetime a couple million miles from earth (with some evidence of liquid water) humans here on earth are plotting on her iron rich soil. Forget making Earth great again, we’ll do that eventually, we want to MAKE MARS GREAT AGAIN. This is exactly what I mean when I say that we should be using our gift of intelligence to create the future. So please continue Elon, as I may someday witness ultimate greatness.
Gas Giant Goals
“Science progresses incrementally, patiently and ultimately spectacularly.” -Time Magazine
When Curiosity landed on Mars President Barack Obama said the mission “proves that even the longest odds are no match for [America’s] unique blend of ingenuity and determination.” Of course, he wasn’t thinking of the potential humans have to utilize Jupiter and Saturn and their collective moons. Places like Europa are continually mentioned by Neil Tyson and, I can imagine, some other prominent astronomers as a hotspot for potential life. But what about the gas giants themselves? How will humans eventually come to form a closer relationship with these massive planets?
As with anything we do in life, we have to advance step by step. You can’t tackle the big job until you’ve mastered the small jobs. Right? Same with the gas giants. Although they seem impossible places to send humans now, I firmly believe humans will seek them out as well. Perhaps once people can successfully inhabit Mars for a prolonged, sustainable amount of time we move on to new pastures. By then Earth will be old news.
Saturn and Jupiter are the biggest pieces of our solar system by far and share an ungodly abundance of resources. Resources, like practical things we can use to create new technology, and just, resources! Hello?!?!!?!?!?! It LITERALLY rains diamonds on Saturn! If that doesn’t sell you on a trip to Saturn then I’m truly at a loss for words. Anyway, the gas giants are amazing, but very challenging, destinations for our species. Also, don’t forget the tiny planet Ceres beforehand.
Outer Planet Odysseys and Exoplanet Expeditions
I’m thankful for the billionaires who have invested so heavily into space. For without them there’d be no breakthroughs of human innovation like this. We humans can do anything we wish as long as we’re willing. That’s why you shouldn’t take life for granted and that’s why you should always push yourself. Lest you find yourself just another unfulfilled ape stuck on earth (which means dirt btw, earth= dirt).
As we practice space travel we will get better and better at it; it’s that simple, folks. Practice makes perfect. Just like the disasters of the shuttle era led to the creation of Orion and it’s innovations. Just like the failures of the Ranger missions of the 1960’s would eventually lead to Ranger 7 which landed Neil Armstrong safely on the moon. The universe requires time to advance. Time and effort heal all wounds.
But the extraordinary success of the Mars Curiosity rover masks a far greater truth about space exploration: it requires monomaniacal commitment and an exceedingly high tolerance for failure.
Besides, we definitely don’t want to go back to the days of not committing to Mars when were actually able to send people there. Back in the 1980’s we were too busy warring with east vs. west/US vs. USSR, Reaganomics, and our climate change problems to really commit to space exploration. Something Neil deGrasse Tyson details considerably in a commencement speech he gave at Rice University. We owe it to ourselves to live up to our full potentials as humans to give this big wide universe a chance.
So don’t complain about space exploration or say it can’t be done. You’ll be on the wrong side of history while those on the right side pave the way for an astonishing future.