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 think Mars should continue to be the focus, but also Titan should be in the cross hair. There are lots of secret hidden on Titan, so even thought it's great distance, it will be very well worth exploring Titan.
As Carl Sagan and others have pointed out, we need to get off this planet and spread humanity around so we don't have all our "eggs" in one basket here on Earth. Robotic exploration is great but we need to begin colonization of the Moon and Mars. I'll leave it to the experts to work out the details and priorities, but we need to have humans exploring and living in space. To do this we will need more international cooperation to fund projects and commercial applications to develop technologies and future business interests in space. Let's get started!
When I was a kid, i would sit on the living room floor with a neighbor friend, and draw spaceships...and robots and alien vistas. We were waiting for the future! Some futures have come and gone...We've seen the dust on the moon and the sands on Mars! There is so much more waiting out there. I think the most remarkable development would be the discovery of other life forms in our solar system, whether on Mars, Europa, Titan or other hidden corner. That's worth waiting for...and I hope to be around.
as a child of the 50's and 60's i always dreamed of going to space. I believe that we should planning colonies on the moon and mars .we are a curious species and we should be planning another place for our species to survive.
I dream of a dirigable that has a long life on the winds of Jupiter's atmosphere. I wish we could learn the conditions to design a self-substaining robot that expores for us. It could grab hydrocarbons to develop plastics for its structure. It could have solar rechargeble plates or maybe lighting capasitors to store energy. Of course the initial probes would have to have their own power source good for a few years, if the solar panels would be too meager in output. Just the idea of such a huge environment that is about a million times the size of ... more »
It's hard to say it's a vision, but it is my dream that we are somehow enabled to gain ready and frequent access to space. The planetary missions we are conducting now, are great and very interesting, but what I'd truly love to see is work that would be more likely to lead to easier and 'cheaper' human access to space. Ah well, just a dream.
My biggest thrill would be to see the return of rock/soil samples from Mars. My first look at moon rocks is still an unforgettable moment, and I can imagine the same feelings when Mars rocks make it back to earth.
I want to see all of the money and people-power wasted on war to be directed toward the peaceful exploration of space. We need an inspirational vision of the future with an entire industrial/scientific complex at work.
I want to see a search for life on Jupiter's Moon Europa. I want to see a push towards colonising our solar system. Starting with Mars and our Moon. To visit our other neighbour, Venus and build towards a time were going to the planets is like going on holiday. That not just highly trained men and women get to go into space but also the public.
Years ago, I used to go backpacking into the High Sierra Nevada. One of the most striking lights is full moon on a clear night. You can read a book, it is so bright above 10,000 feet. The Milky Way, our home away from home, is is is is . . .
Math has always been a fascination of mine and slowly I began to wonder what it all meant and would discover the beautiful complexities of the night sky. As I began to do more research on space I came across a picture of the Andromeda galaxy and was stunned by the beauty. This made me realize how small we are in this vast universe. I have been hooked ever since.
What sparked my passion for space? Plastic toy spacemen, about 2 1/2 inches high, that I probably received for my birthday or Christmas in 2nd or 3rd grade (I don't really remember clearly, partly because my birthday is only a week before Christmas, and partly because that was half a century ago). Two other presents I received around the same time were a child's microscope and a small telescope; I still recall the evening when I was 8 or 9 that I spent going from looking at pond water through my microscope in my room to looking at the moon ... more »
I was 8 years old and living in Thailand when the great total eclipse of the sun occurred right there above my school in downtown Bangkok. Teachers had handed out dark film to look through. It was seven minutes long! I recall the racing rays of the returning sunshine sweeping across the sky. I became interested in the sky from that moment. Next year I had a small telescope, and Mars was at perihelic opposition, and I knew what my life was for.
That was a real physical book, in the days of real physical books, with what were to a 5-year-old amazing pictures. I haven't seen the book in many decades, and would no doubt now be appalled at the many errors that 1950's-era children's book writers would have made, based on the many erroneous guesses of astronomers of the time. But it captured my kid's imagination, and started a lifetime of fascination with both the science-fiction universe and the real one. A book can matter.
My interest in space exploration began with Alan Shepard's sub-orbital flight on May 5, 1961, when I was just shy of my 11th birthday. Yuri Gagarin had already made history with his flight, but since the U.S.S.R. was secretive about the launch, I didn't get to see anything until the televised launch of Freedom 7. My teacher (and almost ALL teachers, I assume), had brought a television into the classroom so we could watch the launch live, and I can still remember the thrill of watching the countdown and liftoff, and wondering what Shepard was experiencing. I became an avid ... more »
When I was eight I lived with my two brothers, sister, Mom, and Dad in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I was the oldest of four children living in a small track home on the edge of town. My father worked a lot, so I didn’t see him very often, but he would give me things. A microscope when I was four, with Lincoln Logs, Erector Set, and miniature battery operated toys to assemble by my seventh birthday. The best gift I got was a three inch Newtonian Reflector with a claw mount and tripod for my eighth birthday. The best, because it ... more »
Once upon a time, I was a young woman who wished to go to beauty school. I took some time off after high school to move to the city by myself and get a feel for independence before going to school. It was during this period that one unsuspecting day spent idly browsing the internet, my passion for all things space-related was awoken. I forget what led me there, but I came across a website where you could plug in the the Drake Equation. I felt a bit curious, and decided to plug in factors to the equation so that, ... more »
Like many others, I could reference beautiful night skies. Or I could mention great Science Fiction writers. Or I could say something about watching the first people to orbit Earth and land on the Moon. Or I could mention my college astronomy class. All of these enlarged my feeling that I wanted to explore space. However really, it all started with Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. Even before I could read, I would sit on the living room floor, pouring over Buck Rogers and making up a story to go with the pictures. Then in 1933 when I was in ... more »
When I was around eight years old, my parents got me a huge, stiff-paged cardboard book about space. I loved flipping through it, looking at how huge the solar system was. At the fringes of the solar system beyond Pluto, there was a supposed "Planet X", a planet bigger than Jupiter that we had yet to discover. I was skeptical, but it intrigued me. The size of the universe, explained by my mom as being "essentially infinite", really scared me. It interested me, but terrified me at the same time. I hadn't yet made the connection between that book and ... 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?