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 dream of Homo sapiens getting together nicely as a global community, with one anthem for all. Then I dream that we visit and familiarise ourselves with all space objects in our local area - the Moon, Mars, comets, asteroids, Venus, and Mercury (the far side). We need to get used to visiting all these near places as we hone our skills and understanding of space travel vehicles and internal sustaining environments such that we learn how to live sustainably over longer and longer excursions away from Earth. This is what I dream about all the time.
NASA’s space trawler, the Beagle, sets course for its 42nd crossing of Saturn’s E ring. Previously, Cassini mission scientists had discovered that the ice crystals comprising the planet’s ethereal outermost main ring originated from cryovolcanic geysers erupting from the surface of Enceladus. These plumes serve as a trans-orbital pipeline for material from the moon’s ocean far below its surface to be transported to the E ring and neighboring moons. With the spacecraft’s orbital trajectory designed to minimize the impact velocity of the ice crystals with the trawler’s large “net”, scientists hope to minimize molecular and structural damage to any potential ... more »
One thing that helps push innovation is necessity. So many great technologies we enjoy here on our planet can be attributed to the space program and it's need to develop technologies to succeed in space exploration. (We need to increase, not decrease the government's budget for space exploration for any of my ideas to work Mr. President & Congress.) In my mind, two missions or initiatives can help spur more innovation. First, would be a mission to Europa. If a water ocean does indeed exist under its frozen surface I think it has one of the better chances for supporting ... more »
My name is Billy Albritton and this is my vision. It's nice to think of Mars as the first place to begin space colonization; with recent evidence from Curiosity of ancient streams, it's no surprise scientists would pick this planet of the 8 (Thanks Neil. Ha!) I've read many studies and the physical and mental stresses astronauts would endure on this type of mission, and do not believe this type of mission to be feasible. I'm thinking closer to home would be a great place to start. There is the ISS, but complications arise when you're trying to dock multiple ... more »
I want to see people follow robots to the Moon and Mars and just about anywhere else we can think of to find something wonderful. But we need to concentrate on the Rocks! Send more probes to asteroids, find out what they're made of, how they are structured, how to destroy them. We worry about attention to space exploration waning. Try threatening a society with a killer astroid. Try sending biological and mechanical heroes to stop it. That would certainly kill any apathy people have toward space. If we learn to visit asteroids now, WHEN that killer one comes, we'll ... more »
My may intersts in space exploration are the search for life, and economic development. For the first I am hoping to see missions soon, to places like Europa, Ganymede, and Titan. For the second I would like to see exploration of the Moon resumed. The Moon seems like the place with the best hope for economic development. There is likley vaulable resources, there is enough gravity that industrial processes used on earth would probably work with little change, there is a small enough gravity well to get on and off cheaply, and it is near enough to drastically reduce risks, ... more »
Project Space Real-estate is just about complete. My name is Ahmed Abdullah and as an interplanetary structural systems designer I step onto the loading dock of the most fascinating low earth shuttle vehicles created by a private space craft company I ever seen. My stomach had knots as I could not believe after years of planning and 1000’s of man hours; Club Leo was one month from opening and accommodating its 1st 50 lucky guest. As a technology geek as well as an entrepreneur, I constantly think of unique and new ways of making money. As a child I was ... more »
I think there is nothing more important than to install a set of permanent astronomical and astrophysical observatories on the far side of the moon. Only from this vantage point will we be able to truly observe the rest of our Galaxy and beyond. Earth neighbourhood is far too polluted on the whole electromagnetic spectrum to serve as a base and Earth is also polluting the rest of the nearby Solar system. Only with the shield of the Moon can we expect instruments with extraordinary sensitivity and resolution to be located in the vicinity of Earth and remain repairable/upgradable. It ... more »
There has been way too much delay and excuses for not going anywhere. At the end of the Apollo program there was a vision to go to Mars next. WHY are we still delaying the trip?! We can do it with basically Apollo technology and certainly with todays added tech. Thirty seven years later and all the money wasted in the mean time and we could and should have a thriving base on Mars instead of cowardice and excuses. All the hot air alone could have propelled us there several times over. On to Mars NOW!
I was four....Maybe five....Which would make it 1978 or '79. I don't know how the subject came up. Probably my father just wanted to tell someone and chose me. He told me there was a certain kind of star out there called a neutron star. It was a burnt out husk; a star who'd long since seen its glory days rush away from it....The final remnant of a supernova, a blast so bright it would outshine its host galaxy even if its galaxy had hundreds of billions of stars. And a neutron star is heavy, he said. Very heavy! So ... more »
Millican was a small town 26 miles east of Bend Oregon that my family owned. The only light pollution came from a Standard Oil sign in front of the store. I was ten years old in 1957, and loved spending summer nights staring at the sky. My Uncle Orville came for a visit that year, and one night came out into the darkness and pointed to the Milky Way. He explained the rotation of the earth and planets around the sun, as I stood in awe. I was hooked from that day forward. A few years later, the University Of ... more »
When I was about 10 years old I was lingering around the school yard at sunset. A man with a refracter (no doubt a Unitron)asked me if I would care to take a look. What I saw took my breath away. It was Saturn. I was suddenly flooded by a feeling that usurped of a sea of questions that eventually came: Perfection. Saturn was my very first experience of perfection. It took my breath away. Today I am the director of Tenagra Observatories (www.tenagraobservatories.com)and in spite of all the research and discoveries it is this feeling, my merging with the ... more »
As a child, I saw a 4% solar eclipse using several photographic negatives to look through. I was fascinated and decided I wanted to be an astrophysicist (?). I used to go to the Maryland Academy of Science telescope viewing on the roof of the Enoch Pratt museum in Baltimore to see the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter. I decided that man would get to the planets in my lifetime. Of course, I didn't think of robotics. Then I saw a real total solar eclipse in Maine and was so excited, wondering what a cave man would ... more »
Between the ages of 7 and 11, we had only candlelight at night. It was World War II and my family and I lived in the Philippines under occupation by the Japanese Army. There was little food, no school, and no electric lights. You might imagine the night sky under those conditions --- millions of stars, and the Milky Way, free to anyone who looked up. I did, every single night, and wondered what else was there? How did all the stars get there? How did the universe get here? Wondering never stopped, and it was thus natural that I ... more »
I was five years old, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the surface of the Moon. It was a bit difficult to understand what was really going on, but even at that age it was obvious that something magnificent was achieved. I decided to become an astronaut myself. Well, I didn’t, but I did study astronomy and started to write about the wonders of space 30 years ago. Eventually I didn’t even become an astronomer but a science writer. And just last week I had a chance to meet Dr. Aldrin and give him one of my books ... more »
My earliest memory is that of my mother waking me up from a nap to watch Neil Armstrong take his first steps on the lunar surface, and telling me how important it was to remember the moment. I was not quite four years old. From that time forward space held a special fascination for me, and watching the night sky became a favorite past time of mine as I grew older. I like to believe that this event was in large part responsible for my interest in science. While astronomy was one of the areas of science that I considered ... more »
I was twelve years old. In Italy it was deep in the night when Neil descended the ladder. My parents were already sleeping and let me watch Tv alone. I saw eerie figures slowing dancing on a grey, spectral surface. I thought that the Earth can't be the only place where humankind would freely roam.
Most people born in my generation (the generation that saw "Star Wars" at age 10 or so, and had our little minds collectively blown), would say space fantasies such as Star Trek and Star Wars were their introduction to the wonders of space. But in my case that is only partly true. What truly solidified my love of space was not just space fantasy, but space reality. As a little kid I remember Mars was, for the most part, a fantasy place; like Santa's workshop in the north pole. Mythical. A fantasy place that I'd probably never see in my ... more »
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?