Space is Cool! It's Big! It's Different!

Reason the Third: Space is Cool! It's Big! It's Different!

This post is Part 4 in a 5 Part series about why space travel should be made a priority by governments, world leaders, private companies, engineers, scientists, and teachers. Click here to read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.  Follow my blog or follow me on Twitter @jajaamanda to be alerted to when the next one is up!

 I mean.

Aren't you curious?

I do not claim that scientists here on Earth have learned every thing there is to learn down here. We can map pretty much the entire Earth (Thanks to satellites courtesy of NASA....) but we haven't "finished" the Earth just because our GPS devices mean we''ll never get lost within a signal range. There are still fascinating discoveries being made even about our own bodies. (Fiber-optic mind control, anyone?)

But come on.


To infinity, and beyond. (I've got Pixar on the brain.)

There are an infinite number of things we don't know, things to study, things to discover and wonder at and fear.

And it would be, excuse my plebeian expression, TOTALLY AWESOME to go there ourselves to experience and research all of these things first hand!

There are many road bumps in our way. For example, if you want to go anywhere out of our solar system, it's going to take you several years of your life, even at the speed of light, which we can't even come close to attaining. And if we did, when we got back to earth, it'd be generations later! We don't know how space affects our bodies. There's radiation to think of. And landing anywhere? Forget about it. Our space suits are clunky and old, and wouldn't hold up in an inhospitable area.

But we have the rest of forever to work together and work through these problems. Encouraging the limited form of space travel we can now accomplish will help us. And with every new generation, the scope of the human consciousness gets bigger.

For example, take three people who have never seen an iPad. Give one to a five year old, one to a 20 year old, and one to a 60 year old. The five year old will learn it the quickest. And when he's 20, having grown up with the kind of technology an iPad uses, he will think differently about innovation than the 35 year old who was 20 when introduced to the iPad.

Check out this scale of the universe. (Also listen to its awesome Epcot-esque music!)

The stuff near humans is pretty easy for me to understand. I know, sorta, the difference between the size of a school bus and the size of the Sears Tower, even Mt. Everest.  But as we get to the celestial objects, asteroids, moons, and Pluto, I can even see something else: The United States. I also know, kinda, about how big that is. I know how long it takes to travel it, and the time it takes to travel something at a speed equals size.  But past that? It is difficult to hold sizes that large in my head.

But if we continue pushing, observing, and traveling through space, our children will have a better idea of how big and far things are. And those kids I see playing with mommy's iPhone will have a better grasp on technologies that could be useful for future space exploration.

Every generation that grows up will find new ways of thinking about the problems space travel affords. And it has to start young. But if space travel by Americans is halted, even for a brief six years, we could lose those young people's innovative minds.  

Could this be the view from your hotel room?
Childhood is brief.

Not all would be lost, though.

Especially since space tourism is a distinct possibility in the near future, reports PopularMechanics. Several companies are now developing different kinds of shuttles with various features, including SpaceX, the company that won $75 million from NASA. So maybe your children's vacation choices will be a bit harder. Lets see, should we go to Disney World, or the Moon? A hands-on space experience like that could set a child on the science path early, and set them up for solving those tough problems our fuddy-duddy brains just can't seem to crack.

And if we can devise a way to travel quickly and safely, with more Earth-like planets being discovered all the time...can you imagine the adventures? You won't have to use your imagination to play Firefly, you could own a Firefly, hire yourself a crew, and roam.... Okay, so maybe it wouldn't be that simple to planet-hop, but the fact that there are planets out there that we could actually set foot on without immediate and painful annihilation is, to use my phrase from earlier, TOTALLY AWESOME.

Part 5: We Have Cabin Fever

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