To Be Or Not To Be

“The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

“On Friday the 13th, April 2029, an asteroid large enough to fill the Rose Bowl as though it were an egg cup will fly so close to Earth that it will dip below the altitude of our communication satellites. We did not name this asteroid Bambi. Instead, we named it Apophis, after the Egyptian god of darkness and death.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

“[L]et us not fool ourselves into thinking we went to the Moon because we are pioneers, or discoverers, or adventurers. We went to the Moon because it was the militaristically expedient thing to do.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

“There’s no greater sign of the failure of the American educational system than the extent to which Americans are distracted by the possibility that Earth might end on December 21, 2012. It’s a profound absence of awareness of the laws of physics and how nature works. So they’re missing some science classes in their training in high school or in college that would empower [them] to understand and to judge when someone else is basically just full of it. Science is like an inoculation against charlatans who would have you believe whatever it is they tell you.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

We must explore.

It’s more than simple fear mongering; evolutionarily speaking, we are a wondering, and wandering species. But not without a reason it seems. Changing weather patterns, changing food supplies, just two of the many factors that would make our ancestors consider what was over that next ridge. They were ignorant. Ignorant of so many of the things that we take for granted today, the whys and hows of the things they faced were as foreign to them as exactly what is at the center of our galaxy is to us. They may have had in inkling of their situation, as we have an idea of that black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, but in no way did they know what to do. But things happened to make them realize they had to do something. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not wait until that planet-ending asteroid is hurtling towards our dear sweet mother earth to think, “well huh. Maybe we should have funded NASA a bit more.”

Sadly there is no reason to not spend money on extra-terrestrial exploration. So many of the detractors will cry foul that we should spend the money on different things. It’s like during the 2012 presidential when one of the candidates mentioned, as a talking point, that public television should be cut. This point raised during the debate of budget problems. Perhaps public television broadcasting isn’t something to fund with public money, that’s up for debate, no the problem is that as a talking point it was absurd. It was absurd because the amount of money, as compared to the budge deficit, let alone the budget en toto, is so minuscule. It is short-sighted thinkers who decide on government spending on space exploration; short-sighted, and not hind-sighted as so many advancements have come out of NASA research and development. Advancements that continually to affect the health and well-being of all of us.

Why spend the money on research? Well, there is a universe of reasons for space exploration. (Pun definitely intended.) Every problem we encounter in our endeavors in space can be translated into a useful something, or somethings, here in our every day life. And maybe, just maybe one day we can have a life raft that will take us off the planet before a catastrophe. Our one and only means of preserving and continuing our species. And if evolution has taught us anything, it’s that the driving force is the continuation of our species. Makes us really want to see what’s on the other side of the hill. I’d just rather not be driven by fear, but be compelled by wonder.

 

Peace and Love

Marv