No longer reaching for the final frontier

Today saw the last space shuttle land for the last time, bringing to an end the shuttle project. I can’t help feeling pretty glum about it: of course, those machines were getting pretty old, but given NASA doesn’t have anything to go in it’s place, and given the financial positions of both Europe and Russia, it seems like mankind’s exploration of space has been put on hold. Ever since I was a kid, I have loved programmes like Star trek, portraying a future where we all explored space as one people. perhaps rather sillily, in a way I hoped that one day this would come true – my brothers and I played at flying around in space ships, exploring strange, new worlds. Now, reality has hit, and it would seem that economics has brought that dream to an end, for the foreseeable future, at least.

Yet, maybe one day, perhaps in fifty one years, seven months and fourteen days*, that dream will be reborn. Then, maybe, humanity will achieve her first, best, destiny, and we’ll leave the confines of our planet behind. If we don’t, we are forever doomed to bicker over resources which will grow sparser and sparser, ultimately wiping ourselves out. That’s why I’m so concerned about this halt in progress. You could argue that the billions of dollars spent on space exploration could be better spent on, say, finding new renewable energy sources or better crops, and it would be a good argument, but, in the long run, in terms of the future of the species, I really believe we need to spread out into the galaxy.

*feel free to check my maths

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