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?
Keep exploring with robots. 1000's of times more science for the money. Plus they will need all those same types of instruments anyway. Manned will come eventually. Europa and Encelidus first. Cautionary Tale: One of the early bathyscaphes was manned and had both a porthole and a video camera monitor. The occupants spent all their time looking at the monitor because the view was so much better. These are no longer manned.
Life, as we know it, requires liquid water, and there is increasing evidence that some of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn have water oceans covered by crusts of ice. These are probably our best bet for extra-terrestrial life, and exploring them should be our highest priority.
I agree with several comments that to ensure survival of the species we need to colonize the Moon and Mars as soon as possible. This will require that we improve our launch efficieny (space elevator or EM rail launcher) and put people in harms way to push the science forward in self-sustaining eco systems.
Mars is nice. Yes. But too much emphasis is placed there. There is a whole lot more space out there. Less articles on Mars and more on everything else, please. Speed of light will be broken. Some scoff. Before oxygen was 'discovered', the scoffers also said fire could not get any hotter. For thousands of years, an ordinary camp fire was the end all. We are ignorant today compared to our decendents of a thousand years from now. They will find a way.
Mankind's first step is a self-sustaining, manufacturing base on the moon. The base serves as a source of resources for plant Earth, and a launching point for further space exploration. Further exploration including: expeditionary manned probes of Mars and asteroids, robust robotic probes to the inner planets Venus and Mercury, and robust robotic probes to the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.
I would simply like to quote one of my favorite astronauts, Story Musgrave (pictured), in a live TV interview with Ted Koppel on December 7th, 1993, from Space Shuttle Endeavour, during the first Hubble repair mission. I thought his rationale for humans going into space was the most true and honest thing I've ever heard anyone connected with NASA say.
KOPPEL:As we look at what you're doing up there, there are still people down here on Earth who are saying why, why go to the trouble, why go to the expense, why endanger lives to do what you're doing?
After spending $100,000,000 to build a space station, let's use it. Use it as a platform to launch vehicles to the Moon & beyond. Use it to construct a lunar shuttle. It will enable us to get to the Moon much more cheaply that lifting off the Earth's surface. We've made the investment to get us out of Earth's gravity well, so let's take advantage of it. We don't have all day: let's move it. If we do this, we could use space instead of war to rebuild the American economy. Give young people a vision of the future that ... more »
What do I believe should be next in space exploration? I really don't care as long as it is something big that grabs the attention of the public. A return to the moon or a trip to Mars would be fine. I fear, though, that the old saw about guns vs. butter has been replaced by space vs. butter, and butter is winning the battle.
Terrorism, war, worldwide economical crisis. All human activities are suffering under the present crisis budget cutbacks, and space exploration has been afffected, too. What we need would be an interest that would refuel popular and scientific enthusiasm for space projects and explorations once again as during the 1960's and 1970's. Whe need an explosive target, something that no human being could ignore. We doesn't know where it is, but we do know how it should appear: it should be a luxuriant planet, filled by vegetable and animal life, immediately available for the human colonization. Its name is Pandora, that is ... more »
What sparked my passion for space is a combination of things – a robustly clear and starry night, the Milky Way almost blindingly bright; the short-story collection "The Other Side of the Sky" by Arthur C. Clarke; the fascinating 1956 movie “Forbidden Planet,” which is still one of the few sc-fi films that makes us really ask and really wonder about deep time, deep space, deep evolution and deep issues on the path of civilizations with and without instrumentalities. We should be allowed to wonder about the all of it -- of outer space -- as often as we like. ... more »
As the son of parents how were the first of their families to go to college and both achieved the PhD, I was a very early reader. After school before the late bus, I had a favorite nook in the library where my mind soared with Heinlein, Asimov and Clark and on and on. Born in 1946, I was "space traveling" in 1955 as a nine year old at the public library. I got to see rocket development from the cast off V2's to Saturn and the Shuttle. My three children are all engineers. Let's built it and go exploring! ... more »
A child of the 1950s, I had many influences toward dreaming of space. I recall spotting Sputnik in the sky and being enthralled. But I had already been hooked by the books of Willey Ley, portraying wonderful rotating space stations... ...and now that I think of it, my interest must have come even earlier. For those were also the days of the Western and tales about the Olde Frontier were on every cereal box and lunch box. And as the grandchild of immigrants I knew where opportunity lay... west. Always west. But in Los Angeles I could see - there ... more »
As I little 4 - 5 years old kid I was afraid of the Moon. I tried to pass fast by the windows to be "observed" the least by that “strange white circle on the sky”. When I learned to read I found some texts in the newspapers about the Moon and some kind of man made "things" that were taking some rounds by the Moon and caught my curiosity. It came then, the Apollo 11 flight, the first landing and men walking on the Moon. The family joined in front the TV, and we were following the B & ... more »
Reading classic science fiction from Asimov, Heinlein and others made me think there was a future in space. I first discovered SF when I was about 7 years old, and quickly devoured all I could find. I wanted to be an astronaut--I even have a pamphlet NASA sent me when I was 12 telling me how I could become one! That didn't work out, but my passion for space continues.
Even as a small child I knew there wasn't really a man looking back at me from the moon. But I thought that if we worked at it hard enough, there could be, and that would be the coolest thing ever! Then, in 1969, there on my TV was Neil Armstrong hopping off that lander ladder and sending up a puff of dust as his boots landed right on the face of the man in the moon. I was hooked on space- the science, the technology, the exploration, and the dream for life. I was already enthralled by all the ... more »
Seeing the Challenger explode when I was 7 years old immediately communicated to me how hard getting to space really is. Why would people expose themselves to such risk to go there? It must be worth it, I thought, it must be awesome. And turns out it's way more than that. It's where we all came from, and where we belong.
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?