.Why the Moon
Curiosity is one of humanities strongest motivations; people have always wanted to see what lies over the next hill. Humans have been explorers ever since they walked out of Africa to populate the world. Nothing has changed, and now it’s time to learn more about other celestial bodies. In fact, it’s past time. We visited the moon for the first time 37 years ago; the reason apparently was in response to the sputnik embarrassment. President Bush has said we will go back to the moon by 2015 and no later than 2020; then he cut NASA’s budget due to the war against terrorism and Katrina.
We better stop putting-off space programs before we’re embarrassed by another sputnik-like event from the European Union, Japan, or even China. Many people say we should invest our money on other programs like feeding the hungry or helping the poor.
I agree these are important programs, but where would we be today if Queen Isabella had said to Columbus, when he asked for money to explore a western route to the West Indies, “We have more important programs to finance?”
I believe the most important reason to colonize the moon and Mars (monumental tasks) is to save humanity from extinction. Scientists say there have been 5 mass extinctions throughout Earth’s history. Two of these were caused by meteor impacts. One, tagged the great dying, supposedly smashed into northern Australia 251 million years ago and killed 90% of all life on Earth. The second meteor landed in the Yucatan peninsula 65 million years ago and supposedly killed off the dinosaurs. Some scientists believe we are on the verge of a sixth mass extinction due to global warming. We have an ice age on an average of every 200,000 years and this would put a crimp in our activities to say the least. A super volcano is brewing in Yellowstone. If this blew, it would wipe out the western United States and cause what Carl Sagan termed a nuclear winter when he talked about the hazards of nuclear war.
If humanity were to become extinct on Earth and did not exist on any other celestial body, it would be the end of the human race. There are people who ask why we should worry about something that might happen millions of years from now. These are the same people that buy lottery tickets and hope to win big.