We Go – not lit related at all

A couple of things have hit the news in the past week or so that really stood out to me. One, on a bit of a low note, was China’s lunar rover, Jade Rabbit, dying on the moon.  The second is that Opportunity has been on Mars for ten years now, and is still uncovering new things. Now, there could easily be a nationalistic thing here, with how long NASA’s rover has lasted on Mars, and how successful they have been, versus their Chinese counterparts. I think that would be misdirected, though. To me, it seems as if we have – as a race -always been about exploring. Taking that next step, forever attempting to chase down the horizon.

Except that horizon has already been chased, by and large, on this planet. We still have the sea floor, and we’ll get there some day, too. But where the next great frontier is  will be above us, away from us, towards the reaches where horizons do not exist. there is just the reach of space. In many ways, I think our reluctance to really fund NASA, to shovel money at them and tell them to GO, to inspire, to really start trying to take these next steps has been one of our greatest failures as a nation for the past thirty years. We have sat on our laurels, pointing to our history of manned flight to the moon, to our shuttle program, and then/now to our rovers. All the while, scaling back our explorations because we can’t use it to lord over a big bad enemy across the ocean. When the weaponization of space because less of a necessity (real or imagined) we quit caring. We lost sight of the real point for setting goals for explorations.

Because it is there. Because we will need to go there. Perhaps not a need as in a physical necessity. We may be able to continue finding ways of creating whatever we want/desire right here on this planet. We might all be able to have sixty-five inch televisions, eat the finest food from the nicest restaurants, and drive the nicest cars. Maybe. But there is a need that goes beyond that, an imperative to explore.

We could be on Mars within five years if we wanted to dedicate the resources to it. And compared to the resources we routinely dedicate to finding better ways of killing each other,  the resources for a trip to Mars are not even that large. We could put a base on the moon within two years. And we should. And I’m sure we will. At some point. When we overcome the inertia of not moving, of not chasing the horizon. When we return to our true nature of going, of seeing what’s just beyond the reach of our vision. There is an entire solar system out there, and then more beyond. Some day we will have to start checking out the rest of the neighborhood.

 

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