Space Travel: For Curiosity and Survival

 

Article by Chris Price | 479 words

Laser cannons, quantum computers and intergalactic space travel are three seemingly farfetched ideas that are becoming more and more realistic as technology progresses. With regards to space travel, NASA’s recent “Mars Ship” was more than just a test drive: it was a pilot that drew the world back to its Apollo-era imagination, where “science fiction” is just “reality plus time.”

As with all progress, mistakes and precautionary steps backward have a habit of slowing down creativity. SpaceX’s rescheduling of the DragonV2 launch is one example of how long-term success is considered greater than rushed results and short-term failure.

Mars

NASA hasn’t encountered any killer aliens, but Mars may have some secrets waiting to be uncovered by researchers. Credit: ScienceDaily.com

Remnants of Life on Other Planets

According to an article by the Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA has discovered the “first definitive detection of organic matter at Mars.” Despite the planet being completely inhospitable to human life today, remnants of possible life billions of years ago are leading people to believe that its present state can be reversed—at least in a limited, concentrated area.

Since organic matter forms the building blocks of all terrestrial life, the recent finding has torn open the floodgates on a once-drying desert of curiosity.

The two main goals of recent times would have to be hunting for infant earths and researching the potential habitation of Mars. Although these two goals were present beforehand, the past mostly consisted of planning, and actual execution wasn’t seen at the rate it has been today. And even more, the two goals have never been as connected as they are now.

Escaping Earth’s Scarcity with Space Travel

What makes space travel and research on planetary habitation different from other endeavors like deep-sea exploration is how more than a “satisfied curiosity” motivates us. Political motives come into play as well.

Some believe that, as people live longer and reproduce more in an increasingly urbanized world, an eventual tipping point will happen where “there isn’t enough to go around.” Political theorists even speculate that by 2050, we will see a global colonization of regions in sub-Saharan Western and Middle Africa, in similar fashion to that of North America in the early 15th century.

According to this neo-Malthusian perspective, previously installed war deterrents will be rendered inconsequential, and building blocks of civilization will crumble as the number of post-scarcity societies begins to dwindle.

People are becoming increasingly open to this view, though usually not to the extreme. The more support that this perspective has, the more likely the United States will act to prevent a “doomsday” result. This then affects voting, policymaking and funding of certain programs, which leads back to square one of space exploration and populating planets.

But whether our ventures to other planets are motivated by curiosity or misguided desperation, it is apparent that success is closer today than it was yesterday.

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