Reply to James Van Allen on the motivation of human spaceflight
Dear Prof. Van Allen, and dear Co-planetaries,
Prof. Van Allen -- the discoverer of radiation belts encircling Earth --
said "the only surviving motivation for continuing human spaceflight is the
ideology of adventure."
The above is absolutely false. I have nothing against the ideology of
adventure, but we have many other motivations. There are economic
motivations and ethic motivations (of course I'm speaking about humanist
ethics and not of other, very popular, so-called ethics).
But maybe the first priority motivation is not economic, and neither ethic.
May I suggest a small exercise? OK, it's short.
First point of view. You are sitting in front of your computer, reading this
message: image to observe yourself from outside, yes, you are sitting there,
drinking your coffee or tea...
Second point of view. Floating at 100 meters above your home, observe it:
there are other houses around, hundreds and thousands of other people,
making many things.
Third point of view. From an ISS' window, you see Earth passing under you.
There are 6.5 billion pepole over there. You can't see your home, but it is
there, and inside it you are always sitting at your pc. You think about that
beautiful planet as your home.
Fourth point of view. From Juppiter orbit. Can you see the Earth? Not
without a telescope. But it is there, and in your house -- somewhere in the
universe -- you are sitting in front of your computer.
Fifth point of view. Outside the Solar System. OK, we are far away enough.
Look at that solar system. Can you call it home? Not yet. Anyway all around
there not other homes. All around there is absolutely _nothing_, for
thousands of light years. Inside the solar system there are many planets,
moons and asteroids, but none of them you can call home.
There is only one blue planet, with an athmosphere we can breath: Earth.
Are you sure that Earth is still there?
Realize the reality: you and me (and other 6.5 billion people) live on a
sand grain, lost in the universe.
Should any "cosmic broom" (an asteroid, a comet, a sun flare stronger than
usual) decide to give a sweep, our beloved blue home-planet would be thrown
away in the dark in few minutes: a poor dead grey thing, where the traces of
the only intelligent (and stupid) life of the known universe will be erased
in few decades.
Now: how can you sit there, peacefully disputing about the "ideology of
adventure" and other similar fables??
Probably you are a very reasonable people, and when you buy a piece of
software or hardware you check attentively to have a second source, in order
to have maintenance and spare parts for a good number of years.
But you absolutely don't care about a "second source" for your (and my)
Believe me: we -- as humankind, before than as nations -- need at least a
second source. This is the main reason for human space flight. And it is
definitely not an option: it is an imperative, for an intelligent species.
Since nature didn't provide a second earth-like planet, we will have to
build artificial environments outside. But we can do it: we are endowed with
intelligence (even if sometimes it seems we aren't :-), we have science,
technologic know-how, and the hugest working potential we never had: 6.5
billion pepole. What we only need is to find water, but water seems to
exist, ouside Earth.
So, what are money? Money are only an accounting mean, while the real
richness is the potential of work. Humankind was never so rich before. We
think we are poor, only because we are stingy and greedy, we think that
people are problems, while they are under-used resources, we are not able to
solve the conflicts without wars, and we keep on giving too much power to
oil and military lobbies.
What are nations? Nations are politic aggregations, that people built up in
order to unify their efforts. But what do nations serve, if they don't help
to realize the people's goals?
The first goal of our kind is to survive and continue to grow up our
civilization: 6.5 billion people cannot keep on growing up in a closed
system (but this is already another motivation, and I said I had spoken
about one only this night!).
US are the most technologically advanced country of this small blue planet:
all the other people of the world hope they will keep on showing us the path
to the stars!
And Scaled Composites, whit its great success of SpaceShipOne the June 21ts,
is a wonderful sample of the american free enterprise spirit.
We all -- human earthlings -- have to support it, and to help and compete,
to reach the goal!
PS: TdF 2/2004 is on the way! You are the welcome to visit Technologies of
the Frontier http://www.tdf.it/ and leaving your comments and thoughts in
the public forum, it's free and open.
IF YOU DON'T WANT TO RECEIVE THIS NEWSLETTER, PLEASE
ANSWER TO THIS EMAIL WITH 'UNSUBSCRIBE' IN THE SUBJECT.
IF YOU CANCEL THE EMAIL WITHOUT READING IT WE WILL TAKE IT
AS AN UNSUBSCRIBE.
IF YOU WANT TO BE SURE TO KEEP ON RECEIVING THIS NEWSLETTER
PLEASE ANSWER TO THIS EMAIL WITH 'CONFIRM' IN THE SUBJECT.
Technologies of the Frontier - www.tdf.it - adriano.autino@xxxxxx
ANDROMEDA s.r.l. - High Leverage Real-Time Systems, Technologies,
Methodologies for Astronautics and Infrastructures
web: www.andromeda-srl.com - e-mail: adriano.autino@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
-- via Borgomasino, 25/A 13040 MONCRIVELLO (VC)
-- tel. +39.0161.433688 - fax. +39.0161.423605 - cell. +39.335.8244435
This e-mail has been scanned for any known virus by Norton Antivirus.
Space Future | To unsubscribe send email with the subject "unsubscribe"
www.spacefuture.com | to "sf-discuss-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx".