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 am not a scientist. I am simply an older, retired taxpayer with a love of science borne of growing up during man's conquest of space and stepping foot on the moon. I was a science major in college but never worked in the field. No one has to persuade me of the intrinsic value of basic research or the benefits to society of exploration of space or any other scientific exploration. But as a baby boomer disappointed at the stage we are at in human exploration, I think it needs to be pointed out to Planetary Society members that ... more »
I want to manned exploration of our solar system. Human expansion and permanent homesteads on Mars and our moon. I believe it is our destiny to colonize the solar system and eventually beyond. I know I'll never see that happen but I have hope for my grandchildren and their children ad infinitem. Mankind is meant for so much more than this puny planet. God gave us an inquisitive nature so that we may explore everything He created for us.
While the recent robotic missions to the planets, Mars in particular, have yielded spectacular results, there's nothing quite like getting humans out there. When I was young and space exploration was new and exciting (and "Star Trek," "Star Wars," and "Cosmos" were in the air!), it seemed like a base on the Moon and humans on Mars would be our next steps. I still hope to see these things happen in the coming decades.
I believe we have the ability and the equipment to establish a moon base now. Once we demonstrate we can do that we need to move to Mars. We can begin to build in space the craft to get us to Mars. We are wasting time right now, we are not actively being responsible to reality.
Given the current flat state of NASA funding, and likely to continue, I think the most productive use of funds available is a mission to return a sample of the plume from Enceladus, which has already been shown to contain water and organic compounds. We already have the technology to do this as shown by the sample return from a comet's plume (and no need to develop a drill to go beneath the surface.) It would be great if this could be a joint mission to land a probe on a lake of Titan to investigate the possibility of "life ... more »
Having been born in 1961 I remember watching all the Apollo missions (with Walter Cronkite)when I saw Neil Armstrong step foot on the Moon I thought we, as a species, were on our way to the stars. Since then I witnessed public support vanish and Apollo was cancelled; the Space Shuttle was built with no place to go and finally when the ISS was on the verge of completion our only ride was relegated to museums. We did not even have a replacement ready to assume the burden of transportation of American personnel and cargo to the ISS and beyond. ... more »
The key to Planetary Exploration in the 21st century is to stop relying on chemical rockets to get us there. We need a radical new technology that cuts the time it takes to get to the target and increases the payload. I don't see a lot of money going to this effort. We also need to start up the RTG build effort if we want to explore beyond Mars.
Many years ago my neighborhood experienced an aurora borealis, a very rare occurrence in Connecticut. Everyone was outside staring up at the night sky. I was only 12 but knew what it was and started telling all the adults about it. And now I'm many years older teaching science to high shcool and college students and still awestruck at the beauty of the universe.
1948,age 14,female. High school study hall, Orono Maine. Friend gave me his copy of Astounding Science Fiction and that's all it took. Avid sci-fi and non-fiction space science reader. (Walter Cronkite and I were together for all NASA take-offs.)Almost 79 now, retired librarian--but in my heart I'm a member of the staff of NCC-1701 traveling in space where no one has gone before.
For those of us who grew up in Florida in the 1950s and 60s, it would have been hard not to take an interest in space. On May 5th, 1961, the students of Hogan Spring Glen Elementary in Jacksonville, Florida crowded into the school auditorium to watch Alan Shepard become the first American to go to space. All we had was one small black and white TV and probably most of us couldn't really see what was going on but we could hear and we all felt proud to be there sharing a great moment in our country's history. When ... more »
As a child in Hubbard Ohio I was constantly amazed at the night sky. There were so many stars out at night I actually had to look for a dark patch instead of the abundance of white stars that filled my view. I was awestruck at what I was seeing. No one I knew could explain what I was actually looking at. Then the TV show Star Trek was introduced. I was only eight years old but it expanded my mind as to what it really was and the possibilities of space flight. I was forever a fan of the ... more »
My eighth grade teacher recommended me (a girl!) to attend NASA sponsored all day Saturday classes in physics, math and a lab in which we ground/polished/assembled our very own 4" reflecting mirror in a Newtonian mounted telescope! I'm not sure which was more awesome, classes teaching physics and using calculus appropriately to calculate escape velocities, or actually building our very own telescopes. No, the most awesome part was having my dad go with me to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn on the subway to help me schlep home my four foot tall telescope and then getting to show him what the ... more »
In the 1950's when I was a child I would go outside lie in the grass and look up at the stars. I imagined myself riding a spaceship through the stars and seeing what they were. I read about astronomy and space travel. I particularly remember the writings of Willie Ley. When Carl Sagan did that program in the 80's about the travel through space, it was like I had been there before.
In the spring of 1970, I was 16 and spent my afternoons in high school running our tiny planetarium. My Science Teacher gave me a flyer from the Hayden Planetarium for a National Science Foundation summer program for high schools students. I had no idea how I was going to find a place to live, but I applied, and got in. Having an entire summer being taught by grad students with presentations by world-class astrophysicists, plus spending my lunch-hour wandering the Museum of Natural History, fueled my passion for Science and Astronomy. I "pay it forward" by conducting ad-hoc "star ... more »
Dear Dr. Tyson, In response to your question regarding what "sparked" my passion for space. I doubt that anything sparks a passion for space. This is something you are born with. Something you cannot ignore, something many people will not understand, but something those who do, live in wonderment and awe of our incredibly small part and place in the Universe. One day, we will find other residents of our Universe or they will find us. I regret that I will probably not live long enough to witness this event. I envy those people who will.
I saw the Star Wars movies as a young adult. Then there was a take off novel from the movies by Alan Dean Foster. Then the summer of 1983 there was a popular science magazine(I think)with pictures of several prospective human deep space interstellar ships from the British Interplanetary Society. I was blown away! I was hooked and later that year when I got an invite from the Planetary Society I joined. Later I also joined the National Space Society and the Mars Society.
In the early 1960's, I was an engineering manager in a division of North American Aviation. When I heard that our corporation had won the competition for design and fabrication of the Apollo spacecraft, I transferred to work on the project. During most of the 1960's I supervised various Engineering groups. For example I was the leader of the Electromagnetic Compatibility unit. We were responsible for spacecraft wiring specifications,and for power filtering and related activities aimed at mitigating the effects of conducted and radiated interference. I was reesponsible for the integrated spacecraft schematics at one time. It is sufficient to ... 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?