Sunday, November 02, 2014

Lazy Sunday #348: Ambition

It’s apparently been a bad week for those who dream of travelling to the stars.

Over the last few years, the US government decided that it could no longer justify the expense of space exploration and cancelled most of the NASA program that had inspired a generation and taken us to the Moon and beyond.

Thus the North American exploration of space was outsourced to private contractors and for-profit corporations. Some saw that as the death of a dream and others as a chance to make some money while keeping the dream alive.

After the launch explosion of a cargo rocket to the International Space Station and the crash of Virgin Galactic’s Space Tourism craft, the media theme has been that the exploration of Space has flamed out or been pushed far, far into the future.

In other words, the promise of my youth that I would travel to Mars in my lifetime is an empty one and I need to revise the bucket list.

Why do the News media spend so much time discouraging us?

If you ask me, it’s their way of making sure we keep watching the news instead of going out there to make it.

Because here’s a piece of news I bet you didn’t here anything about during all the exploding spaceship stories –- ten days from today, we’re landing on a comet.

For all the life changing scientific advancements the exploration of space has so far accomplished, the real purpose is to find intelligent life and maybe even find planets where we and other life forms might survive and thrive.

Because. let’s face it, the Earth isn’t going to be here forever.

As far as humans are concerned, life can only be sustained with water and comets offer a clue to not only where water might exist in the universe but could explain how the water and maybe even Life on our own planet came to be.

To answer those questions, the European Space Agency launched a probe in 2004 to chase down and land safely on a comet zooming through space.

Most of the scientists involved in what’s known as the Rosetta Mission thought the odds of accomplishing that ridiculously complex task were beyond our current technology. But they gave it a shot anyway and a few days ago Rosetta caught up with a comet and began transmitting photos of its target.

On November 12th, it will land a probe on the comet’s surface and gather data revealing not only what it’s made of but what part of the universe it came from.

It’s a pretty spectacular reminder that the human hunger to discover the truths of our existence and our ambition to overcome whatever obstacles lie in our path will not be dismissed.

You can find a great primer video on how the Rosetta Mission works here. But the NSA has also released a short video to explain why we as a species do so much of what we do.

It’s called “Ambition” and it applies to so much more than the exploration of Space.

Ignore the news. The meek shall inherit the Earth. The rest of us are going to the Stars.

Enjoy Your Sunday.

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