I didn’t grow up with my head in the clouds. I grew up with my head in the stars.
I was taught to always push to be better, to expand yourself and your understanding — to go boldly where no one has gone before. Being at a university, I’m assuming a lot of you understand the idea of expanding your knowledge.
However, some people don’t. I’ll talk more on the massive problem these people cause in the world later, but here I will focus on space.
Space is a pretty broad topic. Then again, it’s also infinite so that makes sense. Still, in the week of Neil Armstrong’s death, it’s an important topic to discuss.
If you have seen Morgan Freeman’s “Through the Wormhole”, you have an idea of the importance of space. Exploring the unknown can give us the answers to the questions we have always asked. What is after death? Is there a God? What is the meaning of 42?
But let’s bring it back a bit closer to earth.
First off, it is embarrassing, as a species, that 40 plus years ago we sent a man to the moon and haven’t done anything since.
It’s embarrassing that we sent man into orbit on the Friendship 7 with no computers at all, and now in the age of technology, we stopped.
Yes, we sent several landers to Mars. We’ve launched a couple amazing satellites. Kepler is the mission that keeps popping up all those new planets in the database. Hubble is what takes all of those gorgeous pictures of space.
But what has man done to match that? Nothing. And that’s embarrassing.
We are limiting ourselves. We are confining ourselves to the known, the safe, which, in my opinion, is the worst possible thing to do in life.
There is the huge issue with funding. That is one of the reasons man hasn’t walked on the moon in almost 40 years. That is what is holding back my dream of a space dock, where it would be possible to build bigger, faster ships capable of deeper space exploration.
But funding comes from interest. I can’t be the only one with that cardboard spaceship in my living room. Seriously, it was the last one in stock so I know someone other than me bought it as well. I might be the only one to color mine rainbow, but I know I am not the only one to have it.
My point is, more people need to be interested in space and what it can do for us. More people need to realize what it already has done for us.
I’ve heard a story that someone was complaining about all the money government puts toward satellites. ‘Why do we need those?’ they said — before looking up directions on Google.
The problem is that we don’t understand the impact space has on our lives. We don’t understand what is needed. We don’t understand how horribly stupid it was to let our space shuttles retire with no replacement, so we can pay Russia close to $50 million to take an American into space.
Thankfully someone in government saw through that nonsense and Dream Chaser got funded. Though Dream Chaser means I will have to get the new model of a cardboard space shuttle when it finally comes out.
I understand there aren’t that many space nuts like me out there. Some of you might compare it to liking art. The major difference is that art can be created individually. Space travel and exploration has to be undertaken by humanity. It will reflect on the human race as an achievement that our species has accomplished.
How many of you saw “Star Trek”? The new one — since I know most people aren’t as weird as me. According to the statistic I just made up, all of you did, multiple times. And none of you want that kind of future?
None of you want a better, peaceful earth with no hunger, no war? None of you want to meet races like the Vulcans who are glorified space elves? No one else wants to fly around on a starship seeking out new life and civilizations?
Space exploration NOW is what will get us there later. And don’t argue that it’s just a movie, or a show. Why do you have a cell phone? Because of “Star Trek”. Blue tooth? “Star Trek”. Tablets? “Star Trek”.
The idea of space has inspired the world we know today. What would the real thing do?
Sarah Romer is a senior electrical engineering major. Her column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.