Space Travel?

The world is full! And we’re eyeing on the outer space for our cosmic exodus.

In an interview with Joe Rogan, Neil Degrysse Tyson professed an extraordinary claim: we are a 3 dimensional being, and if this dimension is too full, then perhaps, we should travel to the fourth dimension.

We’ve got a nice broad desk; it’s got length and width and I can start putting papers on this desk and lay them out mosaic style and then all of a sudden, I have no more room to put a sheet of paper. If I’m an ant living in this surface of the desk, I say no more room. But we are 3-dimensional people and I can put an organize and stack things vertically. So I can take a sheet of paper and I can put it higher up than the surface of the desk. The ant will say where did it go, but we know that it went to the 3rd dimension… Now let’s up this example.

Time, the fourth dimension, will be just another plane we can travel back and forth and our existence will encompass the Beginning and the End—the Alpha and Omega.

But even in this crowded 3 dimensional plane, even when we are still being constrained by time, we are yet to understand the wisdoms in this 3 dimensional well. Oppression still prevail, colonialization persists, and the mentality of an industry-focused society, which drains natural resources while benefitting the few, is still pervasive.

The future of space exploration depends on how we can mine and use resources found in the outer space. The moon, for instance, is said to contain water locked in ice in the south pole. Water on the moon can be split into oxygen and hydrogen; the former for respiration—human survival—and the later to power rockets. By creating a moon base that can utilize this water reservoir, space travel beyond the moon is made easier. NASA’s main destination for the next manned mission is the lunar’s south pole—and so is China’s.

The Economist compares the legality of owning Moon’s resources to the murky, political conflict in the deep, international sea. Oliver Morton, Senior Editor at The Economist, said:

“To work out what would happen up there, we have to look down here. So the deep sea is really not a part of any country. It’s also very hard to get to and that’s like he Moon. So the Law of the Sea is the best model there is at the moment for what a moon agreement might be like.

“The Law of the Sea sets out which part of the deep ocean belongs to specific countries and which is shared by all humankind. For those areas it has strict criteria for how private companies can mine for their own gain.”

Aside from water, the moon might also contain highly valuable platinum-group minerals from asteroid impacts and isotope helium-3 that can be used in nuclear fusion as a much safer, less wasteful source of energy.

The ultimate goal, it seems, to be nonetheless than acquiring a precious spot for mining further natural resources.

Yet, just like earth, the fight to colonize the moon will be driven by varied political and economical interests. Whatever social and political climate we have on earth will be nonetheless reflected on the moon.

When Carl Sagan’s pioneering imagination to source the universe is revealed in his book Cosmic Connection, his intention for the space-faring citizens was to search for meanings. Taking step into the outer world is a logical evolutionary step, but not as a way to escape earth, but as an exploration of our own meanings in the grand scheme of the universe.

Space exploration provides a calibration of the significance of our tiny planet, lost in a vast and unknown universe. The search for life elsewhere will almost surely drive home the uniqueness of Man: the winding, unsure, improbable, evolutionary pathway that has brought us to where we are.

In this book, Carl Sagan alludes to our constructed perception of the natural world that begins in language and extends into discourses.

“There is a practical geocentrism to our everyday life. We still talk about the sun rising and setting rather than the Earth turning. We still think of the universe organized for our benefit and populated only by us. Space exploration will bring also a little humility… The exploration of space permits us to see our planet and ourselves in a new light. We are like linguists on an isolated island where only one language is spoken.”

But it’s also about looking at each other and, despite the apparent differences, knowing that we are far closer—down to the genetic levels—to other earthlings than it looks.

“Many visionary leaders have imagined a time when the allegiance of an individual human being is not to his particular nation-state, religion, race or economic group, but to mankind as a whole; when the benefit to a human being of another sex, race, religion, or political persuasion ten thousand miles away is as precious to us as to our neighbor or our brother.”

Space travel embodies humanity’s dream to go beyond our own planet, to extend our gratitude and empathy, and to challenge the earth-bound perception of living. Exploring the asteroids, mining the moon, and colonizing mars are good economical means for survival, but seeing that we can barely manage one planet, our intention for exploration might end as exploitation.

In this chapter, Carl Sagan closes:

“It is important that we extend our identification horizons, not just down to the simplest and most humble forms of life on our own planet, but also up to the exotic and advanced forms of life that may inhabit, with us, our vast galaxy of stars.”

P.S. I write children’s story for adults about the moon. See it here. Or email me to purchase

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