I want to make it perfectly clear that I am, in fact, totally pumped that we’re finally getting back into legitimate space exploration. The thing is, there are perfectly justifiable reasons for going to the moon aside from the obvious intrinsic merit–the “cool” factor that I’ve talked about in the past.
It’s all a test. If we as a species wish to survive more than a few thousand more years, we need to get off this planet. The only way to do that is to learn how to survive in the absolute harshest of situations: the moon. If we can establish a permanent base on the moon, Mars should be a breeze. If we can do Mars, then I don’t see any reason why future technologies like the “ark” ships of science fiction aren’t reasonable.
What I’m talking about is pushing the limits of what humans are capable of.
Athletes are interesting because they push the limits of what a single individual can do. Tremendous feats of physical prowess. Competing over hundredths (thousandths) of a second. Scholars, poets, writers, and intellectuals push human thought to its extreme limits. They tear apart the tiniest ideas and expose their inner workings, oftentimes giving us insights into the world and ourselves that we never thought of before.
The great monuments of the world are testaments to what the combined human effort is capable of. Nobody considers what the Colosseum cost to build. Or the pyramids. The cathedrals scattered about Europe. We value these things beyond their price tags.
The Apollo program was a testament to what combined human effort is capable of and maybe, to this day, stands as perhaps the greatest human achievement outside of art. And so going back is a matter of course. We must go back to the moon because if we don’t, we are, in essence, stuck in a rut. Absorbed in our consumerism, our trite and meaningless wars, we can look at our current world situation as a symptom of a sort of species-wide depression. We did something amazing 1969 and it didn’t last long. And it’s over. And we’ve been trying to best it since then. We’ve discovered incredible new things, but we haven’t taken the next step. We haven’t gone to the next level.
My only problem is, as I’ve said in the past, just how damned slow it all happens. I’m just glad that something’s happening. I’ll be even more excited if they find the ice they’re looking for.
On the plus side, sun spots are back!