The Undiscovered Country

19 May 2012

Steven Siceloff for NASA:

Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, of Hawthorne, Calif., on Friday targeted May 19 for the launch of its upcoming demonstration mission to the International Space Station. Liftoff time is at 4:55 a.m. EDT, with a launch window that is instantaneous

I get caught up in the romantics of this.

We could be explorers again like Magellan or Shackleton, this time charting the vast, infinitude of the stars. We could see planets and moons that are but specks in a telescope. It has been so easy, over the last few years, to become jaded with politics and our society and the minutia of technology. SpaceX gets me excited about “the future (of our species)” which hasn’t happened in a long time.

I would absolutely love to stand on the surface of Mars or see Alpha Centauri with my own eyes, but I also know that such things are outside of my grasp. Poets and philosophers make for lousy explorers. It is enough for me that we, as a species, are reaching upward. It is enough for me that we, as a people, are overcoming chains that were not even imagined by our ancestors — tasks so difficult, so alien that they would only describe it as touching the face of god. This is about more than the whimsical realized dream of an individual; it is the progression of the entire species.

This is how human beings are made great.

(Via Hacker News)