We want to know—and to share our Member's stories with the world as an advocate for space exploration on our new Infinite Visions, One Planetary Society web forum.
Although your vision of space is unique, the Society is the one place we all come together to create a vibrant future for space exploration. You help strengthen our voice as the world’s largest private space advocacy group, an international force in humankind’s drive to explore and discover!
This week's question from Planetary Society Board President Jim Bell:
What might the future be like without space exploration?
Here's how Planetary Society Members answered...
Click through to read the full submission and comment.
What do you want to see next in space exploration?
I'd like to see a mission to Mars , specifically to the "Cydonia Complex" to see the face from ground level as well as the 5-sided pyramids that are nearby. Or better yet,how about sending what we already have there to explore these places. But something tells me that'll never happen and it would not be considered 'Science'.
Just like Tom Sawyer convinced the other boys to pay him to let them whitewash his fence, we need to show other constituencies that space exploration is actually their most fulfilling aspiration. And, we can get seeming opponents to pursue the same agenda. Promote asteroid mining and space based manufacturing to environmentalists (no more tearing up or polluting the planet) and industrialists (concentrated wealth to extract and no waste management concerns). Space based power production to utilities (they control the distribution grid), isolationists (no foreign dependence), manufacturers (cheap electricity), and the greens (the ultimate renewable source). Exploration of the planets ... more »
I suspect there are many more qualified than I to suggest space projects, so I offer something different. The Planetary Society has reached out to the general public to share excitement in space exploration and technology. But I am appalled at the apparent number of people who still do not believe global warming is taking place. I believe the cause may be that, due to a poor understanding of how scientific research is conducted, many have not seen through the misinterpretation of events presented by news media or other deniers. For that matter, it is probable that some news reporters ... more »
Much discussion by members of the Planetary Society is a debate between choosing to support manned or robotic exploration projects. The robotics people cite the smaller cost and risk. On the other hand, the idea of a living being walking on another planetary body or journeying to deep space is infinitely attractive. With planning, the Society might be able to contribute to both kinds of programs. Because the politics of democracy is, by its very nature, a short term process, exploration by national governments will likely be robotic. Robotic exploration rests on technological research and development. While manned space exploration ... more »
I need a habitat (read Robert Heinlein's "Waldo") for a similar reason. Waldo had MG, I have IBMPFD, which is even worse. There is "no treatment, no cure, no hope"; so a low (no) gravity environment would prolong (a little) my life. Certainly, the evaluation could be used to determine effects for healthy people.
I believe, that when humans stop being curious, they stop being humans. The foremost characteristic of the human race is curiosity. It often weighs heavier than even the instinct for self preservation. We must explore. Ourselves, the planet we live on, the Universe we live in. Robots cannot explore, they can only do what we tell them to do. They are very useful, yes indispensable, but they cannot supplant man. How much of the science from the International Space Station would we have, if there were only robots there? The Eagle would have crashed on Mare Tranquillitatis had not Neil ... more »
What I would like to see next in space is: 1)solar sails proven to be useful vehicles for transporting people and cargo around the solar system. The Japanese Space Agency, JAXA, has one flying, it would be good to see more.2)space elevators to get people off planet Earth more easily than at present. Again the Japanese have shown interest in this and there were some articles about a year ago saying they considered the coast off north-west Australia to be a suitable spot. 3) space cities orbiting the Earth and orbiting the Sun in the habitable zone. People can build ... more »
I very much support the planetary scientists who have expressed their vision for further exploration. My comments are for the rest of us who are not able to participate directly, but follow the work of scientists and engineers in exploration and discovery. We are hungry for real information on what is learned by scientists and about the technical details of all aspects of space craft design and operation. We grab onto the little bits of third grade level information in the media or NASA's condescending sparse reports. Techies are curious and crave scientific and technical detail which is challenging.
I want to see rovers on the most intriguing of the large moons in our solar system. At the head of this list I put Europa, Titan, and Triton. After this we need to explore some of the smaller moons, like Miranda, Enceladus and Iapetus. But with their lower gravity and likely strange surfaces, these are going to require a new generation of rovers.
Why should we climb out of a deep gravity well, just to occupy another one? Luna and (preferably) smaller bodies can serve for natural way stations to the extent we need them. For species survival, we should align development efforts toward a self-sustaining spacefaring economy. An early goal should be a functionally self-replicating, 90% self-sustaining, rather low-tech pilot plant for processing asteroid material into useable construction materials and commercial by-products. If we do not quickly achieve a sustainable space economy, neither will we sustain space science and exploration.
paragraph textI'm old enough to remember being able to look up into the night sky and see thousands, if not millions of stars, as well as the moon. I remember when I was about ten seeing the Pleiadies meteor showers.paragraph text paragraph textI guess it didn't occur to me then that people could actually travel in space. But when I was in college, Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, and from then on all things seemed possible.paragraph text paragraph textA friend from graduate school worked for JPL when Voyager was launched and sent me copies of esrly picures of the ... more »
I remember sitting on the couch with my dad as a kid watching astronomy shows, constantly asking questions. My dad taught me the names of the planets and the little he knew about them. He told me about the different rockets and the missions they were used for. He told me anything about space that he could think of. I remember taking his small telescope out to our backyard and having him show me anything, it didn't matter what it was. Space was something we had in common, a passion we shared. If it weren't for my dad, my passion ... more »
Let's see.......... First I found an old encyclopedia lying around a 'spare room' which was full of old stuff, mostly forgotten. In it I found a section on the solar system and the universe (now wildly out of date and inaccurate).This was the first spark of interest in space for me, and was probably at 15 years of age when, of course, three things mattered to me: girls, rock 'n' roll, the promise of a future 'space age', and (did I mention?), girls (never could count too well. Then along came the second spark, October 1957 and Sputnik ! I ... more »
Nothing else beats space exploration. While we don't know everything there is to know about our own planet, humans are only interested in exploitation. They're destroying things before they're even discovered. BUT go out into space, & they'll never be able to conquer it! The best humans can hope for is DIFFERENT! There's nothing to DESTROY on the moon, Mars, or other - they can turn those worlds into vibrant, other places we can transform. Colonies can be jettisoned out into space where they can drift indefinitely, almost putting an end to overpopulation. THAT's what interests me about space: the ... more »
When I was in elementary school my parents would often watch PBS shows with us, one of which was NOVA. I don't remember which particular image first sparked my passion for space, but it was most likely one of those bright, colorful ones from the Hubble Space Telescope. I remember looking at pictures of galaxies, the Eagle nebula, planets like marbles against the infinite backdrop of space, while some TV voice-over told us how little we knew about our universe. Curiosity drew me toward learning everything I could about those mysterious swirls of cosmic space stuff. Of course at the ... more »
I have been fascinated by space since a child. My grandfather, although not even a high school graduate, was keenly interested in the early manned space program and some of my earliest, and fondest, memories of him are of the two of us watching Gemini mission launches on TV. I clearly remember the Apollo launches and TV coverage, and most vividly remember running back and forth from the TV in my grandparents house to the front porch, updating my clearly disinterested aunts and uncles during the Apollo 11 moon landing. I could not fathom how they could not want to ... more »
STARS It was in Madhya Pradesh, Central India, that my parents encouraged my interest in science, telling me about stars, rocks, and dinosaurs. I was still a small boy, but even then, my parents´ love of nature and their natural surroundings influenced me profoundly, and stimulated my curiosity to know more and more about the world we live in. At that time in my school days, the fantastic night sky in Jabalpur, Central India, fascinated me, and I began to get to know the constellations with the help of a very old and tattered star atlas, dated 1926, that belonged ... more »
When I was 10 years old, we moved to the country part of our town. Across the street from our house was a vacated house and an abandoned orchard. A girl named Tammy, who lived down the road from us, told my brother and I about the orchard. The house was quite a bit off the road, and the orchard was located about a quarter mile down a dirt road. One day in late November (Hingham, MA), about a month after we moved to our new home, my brother and I walked down the dirt road and came upon the ... more »
My passion is for knowledge in general and for space science it began with Star Trek. Campy but revealing how little we know. I would like to see us store fuel and equipment at the space station, set up living quarters inside lunar lava tubes and a dark side observatory. Baby steps to the planets until we discover better propulsion methods.
We are born explorers. As infants we first learn to use our senses -- vision, hearing, touch, taste -- to learn about the nature of the world around us. And then -- gloriously! -- as toddlers we add mobility and can finally rove around and explore not just what is within our vision, but also the unknown across the room, or around the corner. It turns out that that urge to explore never leaves us as we continue to grow, as individuals, and as a civilization. Nowadays our fascination with the unknown compels us to explore not just the world around us, but the limitless frontiers of distant planets, stars, and galaxies.
Every scientist at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences had his or her own vision for what should come next in the exploration of our solar system and beyond. Here are a few of those visions.
What might the future be like without space exploration?