When I were a wee lad, I used to love watching Star Trek. I love the original Trek, I love TNG, I love DS9 (but I don’t love Archer the mass murderer, he can GTFO). I love Space:1999 and I adore Doctor Who (seriously, that cancellation in the 90’s… dark days, my friends).
But I was also keenly aware that, somewhere, things had gone awfully, terribly wrong. We were supposed to have hoverboards, and vacation homes on the moon by now, dammit.
We don’t. But maybe, just maybe, we will.
Whilst the USA has decided to abandon spaceflight (atleast any semblance of nationally-backed spaceflight, you can ignore the black ops spaceplane), Russia, China, India and Europe remain the only forward-thinking nation-states with a sensible view to human expansion in the 21st century. Because that’s where mankind’s future lies – out in space.
I still have the bill which I paid on the day of the first civilian spaceflight by Scaled Composites. It’s not much, but I think it’s pretty cool. I still look in growing awe at the plans by Space-X and others for functional, affordable space-stations, and dream of my own castle on the moon. Or mars. Seriously, I could dig Mars.
Why do I seriously believe we need to get into space? Well, I’m aware that 65 million years ago, or so, an extinction-level event ended the reign of our planet’s most magnanimous megafauna. Approximately 75,000 years ago, mankind was whittled away to about 10,000 individuals by an ice-age. Just a few years ago, a comet struck a nearby planet, and the strange hairless apes on this planet mostly just took photos.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that in the grand scheme of things (or even that there is a grand scheme of things) humans are so dreadfully important to the universe, but to our universe, our legacy, we’re uniquely important. Space – and getting ourselves off this gravity well – should be way up high on our top ten list of things to do, because more of what we need can be found up there, just floating around in places where it won’t ruin our ecosphere, than can be found down here. And down here is so, so precious as it is.
And I want my moon castle.