“Space, the Final Frontier….” says Captain James T. Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise (NCC-1701) as the opening of the famous Star Trek Series of the 1960s. What is interesting here is that man has had a desire to understand and to explore the outer limits per say of the unknowns of the universe and beyond. There are many factors to consider these days in the desire to explore the inner and outer reaches of space and some of them are pros and then there are some that are cons. For some time now, NASA has been under the gun financially when it comes to exploring outer space. Now, with the present economic crisis which is affecting the globe, man’s desire to explore outer space may be waning just a bit. What is interesting is that not much is being said about the future of mankind in its reaches for the outer limits during this time.
Outside of the present economic crisis, mankind needs to reach for the outer limits because there is going to be the day when earth is threatened as it has been in so many movies and attempts to find other worlds would be needed to continue civilization elsewhere. So, putting science fiction aside, lets look at the present day economic crisis, the scientific aspects of exploration, the overpopulation of earth as a need for further exploration, the continuing decline in the climate on the earth and the physical aspects of sending man and woman into outer space.
First, the economic crisis. As was said in the opening, the present day economic crisis if not fixed quickly could turn public opinion against further exploration of outer space for the time being. This is something to take extremely seriously as the biggest project at hand, the International Space Station is at risk. Nobody, at this time has mentioned this, but it will be a subject soon to be brought up, once President Bush is out of office and NASA’s Budget is brought up again in Congress. When that time comes, all we can do is hope that there is a brighter future for the world’s economy.
Control of the I.S.S. may be given over to Europe, Russia and possibly Asia as they continue to assist in the construction and adding members to the crews manning the space station. This is not the worst idea, but the United States has to have some continued interest as more experiments are needed to be performed on the I.S.S. At the same time, NASA as well as the world’s interest in space needs to look at ways to sending men and women into space for further exploration in a way that does not cost a great deal. Maybe the space agencies need to be privatized and let those that have an interest in space exploration pay for it if they so desire. This does not mean that the government should not have a hand in decision-making, but maybe set up some kind of government-civilian space program, outside of the scientific community.
Second, more and more experiments that cannot be performed here on earth should be continued on the I.S.S. as well as other planets and moons. We are beginning to see evidence of ice/water on Mars through the means of the many unmanned missions going to the Red Planet. The same may be true of the moon where there might be ice under its surface. This means that it is truly possible that human life can be sustained for longer periods of time on the neighboring planets as well as their accompanying moons. Setting up a true lunar outpost may not be such a bad idea. It is said that medical treatments and other experiments can be performed better and easier under a zero gravity atmosphere other than on earth. Who knows? Sending more and more unmanned missions are great, but it is time to start thinking about a true manned mission to Mars. Make the attempt. There are astronauts just waiting to try it.
As earth continues to get older and its climate continues to change, there is going to be no better answer to survival then to begin extending manned missions to other worlds sooner than later. Man is destroying earth and it is definitely going to be a necessity to find another world which sustains life. The world needs to step up its exploration of Mars, the moon, and other worlds, even worlds that may be outside of the solar system. This way, when the time comes, let us hope, later than sooner, mankind will have an alternative world to count on as home. Along with the changes in climate, it appears that the world is getting so overpopulated that there is going to most likely be a need for a lunar outpost, possibly “cities” in space as well as Martian outposts as well.
Finally, man has a desire to find ways to live in space for longer periods of time. The world needs to work together to find ways to reduce the stress of zero gravity on the human anatomy so that man and woman can stay in space longer so that other worlds can be explored for the necessity of having these other worlds as possible homes for human existence.
There will always be a desire to explore outer space because it still remains a mystery to many and some of these mysteries need answers for humanity to survive. Should the earth find itself in a predicament that it just cannot survive and sustain humanity anymore, then humanity needs a way to survive. If not, then humanity will cease to exist and be totally forgotten.