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 very excited about all the discoveries that we have made of late in regards to the many various interesting moons of our Solar System! I look forward to all the discoveries we have yet to make. In particular, I am anxious to see what lies beneath the ice on Europa. I also look forward to the potential discoveries of other planetary systems around nearby stars and beyond. I am also very interested in the Voyager missions now that they are at the outer reaches of our Solar System and headed into interplanetary space. What an exciting time to ... more »
Develop the grass roots political backing to be able to hold a consensus in Congress to insure continued year on year funding to NASA but commit that funding on the NSF model. NASA does not any longer need to build launch vehicles. NASA needs to finance the development of un-manned vehicles and exploratory techniques and advanced propulsion ideas as recommended by a committee of senior planetary researchers, much like telescope time is allocated. NASA then funds privately run projects to do the development and coordinates the launch site activities and tracking and data work, much like JPL now does. Perhaps ... more »
I am 66 years old and have been an advocate of space exploration all my life. I became captivated with Sputnik in 1957, the Moon landings in the late sixties and early seventies, Pioneer, Viking, Voyager, et al. I'm currently fascinated with Hubble, Kepler and Curiosity and look forward to more of the same (New Horizons, James Webb). However, as I've grown older (and hopefully wiser) I've begun to question the need for humans in space, at least at this time or in the near future. We've been sending humans into space for over 50 years and still don't have ... more »
From Levels of participation Rather than the bureaucratic hierarchies of national governments leading the human endeavour in space, the larger space community should take charge. There are many, many other organizations outside of NASA, ESA, JAXA etc that are a part of the space community. Lots grass roots and citizen-led organizations that want to participate in the exploration of space… Also see: A collaborative nebula.
I believe we should send a land/water submersible vehicle to Europa. Also, land rovers (ala Curiosity) to Ganymede and Titan. I could easily agree with the hopes and plans for exploration of virtually all the Planetary Society members who contributed. However, we have to decide how to pay for all this. So I believe the first thing to do is re-visit (or continue to visit) the expansion of industries that benefit from zero gravity research, development, manufacturing and so on. Whatever is done is going to need the support of the general public, not just space enthusiasts. If a space ... more »
I realy would like to see whats under the surface on the icy moons of jupeter and saturn in the near future. In the long run i would like to see humans to mars, and that befor i die. And not only visit, I whant us to settel. I fear that if we plan to visit the red planet we will just do another apollo with a few flights and then stop forever. We need to have a continuing plan after the first landings, with a budget allready sett for a long time in to the future, one that is ... more »
Before we can become a species of more than one world, we prob'ly need to become a species of ONE world. We need to lay aside our cultural and religious differences, or at least our violent defense of our own paticular culture and religion, in order to reach the "United Federation of Planets" vision of the future. We can't be anti-science and think god created the universe in 6 24-hour days. We can't!
People cannot appreciate what they cannot experience. More people have been hit by lightning than have experienced outer space. Make orbital viewing affordable to give more people, especially those lacking military training or a PhD an appreciation of the planet!
Hi Emily, Hmm, first, I'd like to see funding increased/restored for science at NASA. That would permit all the rest. I guess highest on my priority list would be the continuing search for extraterrestrial life. The day we find it--and I have no doubt that day will eventually come--will be without any doubt the biggest achievement of mankind since the discovery of fire. In concrete terms, I'd like to see (after successful deployment of the JWST) a mission to Europa with the ability to drill down and explore the sea. Next, something similar for Enceladus. And landing a Curiosity-like rover ... more »
My personal story is that I'm highly inspired by what's actually been done to explore space, and I'm not inspired by "science fiction" (a misnomer for engineering fiction because most of it relies on unrealistic assumptions about future technology). Of course the assumption highest on everyone's wish list is that transportation to and in space will be easy someday, even though little has changed in 50 years. The reality is that people who work in the propulsion field toil at the bottom of the social totem pole, which is kind of contradictory to the wish list. People who rise through ... more »
I can’t say it was one specific event that sparked my interest in astronomy or science for that matter but I would certainly attribute some it to the original Star Trek series. I was born in January 1966, the year Star Trek premiered and vaguely remember watching later episodes and reruns as a toddler. So I give credit to Gene Roddenberry for creating Star Trek and also to my parents watching it. My interest expanded in middle school as our school actually had a planetarium and the instructor did multiple presentations throughout the year. It exploded when Star Wars came ... more »
I grew up in Salt Lake City in the 50's. There was a library downtown that had a Planetarium. The library was very close to the shopping area of downtown and as early as I can remember my mother would drop me off at the Planetarium while she would go to the shops. This became a ritual that I loved and that love has never ended. I checked out every book that existed on Space and Rockets as a young child and commited to memory every fact I could grasp. My early exposure left a deep and lasting impression. We ... more »
I don’t remember when I wasn’t excited. I just missed Sputnik. I recall looking skyward with my parents and neighbors but my 4-year-old eyes missed the show. I saw Echo I pass overhead in 1960. I was 7. I spotted that bright moving dot in the night sky and was very excited. I was excited because everyone else was. This was no solitary intellectual vigil. All the neighbors, parents, kids, were in the front yards looking up. I was one of them. I vividly remember the 1966 Gemini 8 mission (Armstrong and Scott) when things went wrong. I stayed with ... more »
No one thing sparked my interest, it was a combination of things over time. Seeing Sputnik pass overhead one night, seeing a naked eye Andromeda galaxy one very dark night at the lake, the manned space missions of the late 60's and 70's, and having to memorize 50 star names and locations while in Nav school in the Air Force all sparked my passion for space.
My 1st impressions of space began with Science Fiction B-Movies of the 1950's. What seemed would be an endless production of them would intermingle with news clips of Unidentified Flying Objects and wars springing up around the world. There was also the rocket development movies like the X-15 rocket plane. My Catholic family was huge and I was the last of them to be born. I was 10th. My parents had died early and my oldest brother was sent to Korea during that war. The next in line and those that followed were the scroungers that provided for my family. ... more »
the ocean, with flying fish landing on the deck seemed very exciting to me. My father was a truck driver and one day when he was gone I wanted to see what was happening out on the raft. I climbed up into his chair and picked up the book. I was horrified to find that I could read very little of it. I clearly remember thinking that by the time I learned to read in school, it would be too late and I would be so far behind I would never catch up. I got my folks to get me ... more »
I have always been interested in space since I can remember. I recall a children's book with rocket ships and aliens - I had a strong passion to pioneer the outer limits of human knowledge and experience. But there is one incident that especially stands out in my mind... When I was perhaps 6 years old we made a field trip to the Miami Space Transit Planetarium. I recall looking through a large refracting telescope and saw a star (most likely a planet) in broad daylight! You see, I knew that stars came out at night, but had never considered ... more »
The 1950 movie "Destination Moon" was probably the first motivator in my interest for space exploration at the age of 11. I was further motivated by the Russian Spudnik 1 in 1957. While working as a co-op student at White Sands Proving Ground, I was one of the first people who knew the U.S. had the capability in 1956 to orbit a softball sized satellite. While waiting for my government clearance to be processed, my supervisor discovered I knew how to type. I was given a hand written draft of a proposal to orbit a small satelite using an Army ... more »
Science fiction writers like Heinlein, Asamov, Bradberry and then along came Carl Sagan. I still have my copy of "Intelligent life in the Universe". He was instrumental in starting the Planetary Society, I became and still am a charter member. Somewhere there was Cosmos which was earth shaking and awesome with the astro photography, WOW. Then on to "Contact". When my son was born I had to name him after my heroes and the name with the most inclusion is Isaac. I am a space cadet, don't know if I will ever get to get of this rock into space, ... 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?