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Space Is For You

written by Frank Stratford on September 27, 2005 | forum profile | contact me
number of views: 74725 |   printable version (text) (PDF)

A base on the moon?
A base on the moon?
Credit: NASA
I write this to everyone who wonders why the subject of space exploration is of any real importance to them. Most of us know about NASA and that they have a budget of over $16 Billion annually, and most of us know that anything launched into space is usually hideously expensive and many times can result in a mission failure. By now you would have heard that NASA intends to go to the Moon again in 2018 but why should that interest you? You already have enough concerns here in your life on earth with things like terrorism, hurricanes, wars and your own employment prospects keeping you up at night. What about the rising price of fuel? It's hitting people hard from all walks of life and in all nations. There is poverty, famine, crime, social injustice spread all over our world. What about your concerns for your own career, or for the future prospects of yourself or your children? What about the fact that your groceries are costing more each week and your take home pay is shrinking? The list is practically endless. I'm not going to sweep all these things aside and tell you that space is more important when you say, "Why is space so important to me?" Or " What has space got to do with my life here and now?"

The truth is you are absolutely right. There is nothing important about space, at least nothing important enough to make you you care about it. Why is that? That's because the people whom we have entrusted to make space important to you and everyone else had a completely different agenda from the start. Cold War military concerns gave rise to the space race(and the arms race). National Security has been the driving force behind all space programs until now. Does it really matter to you if we send a group of astronauts to the Moon so they can discover some new and interesting facts about how the Earth was formed? Does it really matter to you, if those astronauts on the Moon get to learn how to live and work there so well that we can then take another smaller group of astronauts and send them to Mars? If we did all those things, would you then really care about space?

What if instead of sending astronauts to the Moon and Mars for the sake of science and technology, we sent them there with the ultimate goal to build a permanent human settlement? And what if we made sure that as many average people as possible got a chance to at least visit one of these settlements (I mean actually GO THERE) instead of just letting astronauts and scientists go? What if we had control of the building of these settlements ourselves so that we didn't waste time and got them built in time for you to go there yourself? And what if we made sure that smart and visionary business people got involved in the game right from the start to make sure that we created a whole new space economy in the process of settling these new worlds? An economy that generated millions of jobs, created new materials, generated clean and unlimited energy sources to help keep the "Earth" economy going, and provided hope that the future ahead of us was greater than we ever dreamed?

Would that kind of space exploration interest you? Do you you think this type of space development would make our world a better place to live in as opposed to the current space program? Would you like your children to grow up in a world of of hope in a brilliant future? A world where we didn't have to wage wars over scarce resources like oil, or damage the environment just so we can extract the energy and materials needed to sustain a world economy? How about a world of with such an abundance of resources that living standards are lifted up everywhere? Just think, if the discovery of a cure to cancer could offer hope to millions can you imagine what would happen if there were to be a burst of new discoveries, one after the other as we spread further into space? New exploration and the needs of human settlements has always offered people new hope, driven new inventions and created new economies. The current model of space exploration has failed you. It deserves your ignorance and apathy, and from my research that is just what it is getting. The kind of space exploration I am talking about, and the kind of space exploration many space advocate groups are talking about is not the kind you have been witness to so far.

So next time you read about some small group trying to go to Mars or set up their own Moon colony or take tourists into space, remember that before you write them off that they are doing it for you. For all of us. We know that there have been failures in the whole space exploration subject and we know that many people, maybe even yourself, think there could be a better way. Space advocate groups like Red Colony, MarsDrive and the Mars Society are all striving for this new vision which includes benefiting you and your children directly, but unlike NASA we don't have the funds to make our dreams a reality yet. So you have a choice. NASA have laid the foundation with all of their discoveries and that is what they will continue to do, but at some point we need to ask ourselves, "What is it all for?"

You can continue to ignore a subject which could have great benefits for all of us in the very near future, or you can get interested, and get involved in making this vision, the vision for your benefit into a reality by joining us. You have the vision of your own government and other national governments to continue to spend billions of your money on space exploration that will never benefit you or you have the vision of space advocate groups who are striving to see us all live through the amazing benefits that human space settlements and industries can offer. That is the choice. Governments have the money to make this brighter future a reality, we all know this, and you are welcome to lobby them if you like, but I would rather spend my time and resources on doing it ourselves. If you do not care about space issues that is because you have been mislead until now. You have been handed a very expensive vision that will benefit a few politicians and astronauts while being shielded from the potential which lies in human settlement of space for you. If the vision I have painted is of more interest to you than the current program, and if you can see the unlimited potential that settlement of worlds like the Moon and Mars have to offer people of all ages, race, religion, sex and status, then can I urge you to support us? We are not NASA, and all of the space advocate groups combined would still not even come close to having the resources needed for our new vision. The reason for this is simple- Lack of public support. With more members and more funding groups like our own MarsDrive would actually be enabled to do our own space exploration and settlement. If you give money or support of your time and talents to community charities or to causes like a cure to cancer or heart disease because you think it will make a difference and "every little bit helps", then just think what support for the new space settlement groups would do.

Our goals are perhaps on a much grander scale than many Earthly causes, and the benefits much more extensive, but without wide public support our visions will not happen. Unlike simple charities who mainly ask for material goods and money, we primarily need people. To build settlements on the Moon and Mars for the benefit of all means we need the involvement of as many people as possible, whether it be their talents and skills, time or funding. We want this future to be for all of us. That is why we need you. My own reasons for joining this cause are simple. After years of observing the problems of the world and putting my time and money into many charitable causes I came to realize that it would be far more effective for me to find something that had answers for more than just one or two problems to give my support to. Even charities in third world countries believe in this strategy. You can give people a short term answer to their needs and problems with money and material goods or you can work on creating solutions that get to the root causes of these problems. The settlement of space will ignite a new era of discoveries specifically designed to benefit humans in so many different fields. For example, in the process of building new cities on other worlds we will be faced with many challenges never before seen and we will have to come up with new ways of dealing with those challenges. Back on earth this means more jobs, more inspiration for our children to want to be better educated and applications for our own cities and communities.

I think of settling space just as I think of the history of our own world. Our world today has many problems, for example the Katrina and Rita hurricanes that have devastated the southern U.S. While these disasters come and go, and the losses mount up, it pays to have a bit of perspective. Without early warning technologies and space based weather tracking, the losses would have been much larger. Look at the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami that wiped out hundreds of thousands. Many third world countries suffer such large scale damage because they don't have the technologies more developed countries have. Imagine if the U.S did not know the facts of these storms because you lacked the technology? It is the same with health problems. Technology has advanced to a point where early detection of cancers is saving many thousands of lives every year. Would you deny us the chance to further develop our technologies by staying here on Earth? I know you may have heard this before but after all that I have said I think you can now appreciate what I mean when I say that space truly is the next new frontier, and if we don't go out there and start setting up our homes there we will be robbing our world of that next step in our development. Is space for you? I'll let you decide.

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