One-Way ticket to the MOON
We can learn from history, that we learn nothing from history. - George Bernard Shaw
Less than a hundred years ago world superpowers, Russia and USA, engaged in the ‘Space Race’ as a demonstration of their nuclear rocket strength and capability in the midst of the Cold War. Once Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and the other guy had landed back home, the interest in space seemed to have shifted to other pressing matters. Now, as we stand on the precipice of our future, everyone is back in the race, including the billionaire superpowers of entrepreneurial capitalism. Most of us have been fed on a steady diet of NASA for many years, but in the past few years, the Space Colonisation industry has boomed. The UAE, China, USA, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Israel, Turkey, Russia, the European Space Agency, Japan, and Richard Branson… it’s a long list of players in it to win it.
At WEF Davos 2021, Greta Thunberg once again grumbled about world leaders not acting swiftly enough to address the human-caused Climate Crisis, and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned of global ‘catastrophic’ consequences if we continued to consume natural resources in the manner that we currently do. Our feverish consumption of natural resources for the apparent advancement of our species threatens the health of the Earth, and from those advancements, ironically, it is the technology we have created that may actually be able to assist with our current challenges. From mining materials on asteroids and setting up manufacturing on the moon and other planets, to waste disposal systems outside of our orbit, there seem to be options and the race is already underway.
At the beginning of 2021, the United Arab Emirates’ Hope Probe orbited Mars to ‘study the planets weather’. A month later, NASA landed the Perseverance Rover with traditional American fanfare, including a drone helicopter.
In May, China’s National Space Administration landed the Zhurong Rover, customarily playing their cards close to their chest. China is also partnering with Russia to set up a permanent base on the moon by the end of the decade.
Closer to home, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin has already been testing his reusable rockets and developing ‘space infrastructure’ with plans to one day create floating cities space called O’Neill Colonies. And then there’s Elon. Oh... Elon.
Between implanting artificial intelligence chips into monkeys at Neuralink and building SolarCity, Elon has embarked on the journey of setting up a colony on Mars, with hopes to terraform the surface, and hopefully, one day, making the planet inhabitable for life. Musk’s SpaceX has been making strides with their reusable rocket testing, and his Starlink division is on track to send 42,000 satellites into Earth’s orbit and is backed by US Army contracts.
The race is wide open and, as always, the future of our civilization is currently being
As the human being evolves, and the potential of the tools we create advances exponentially, the idea of a noble, just and consciously-evolved civilization may have to wait for the consciousness of the human being to catch up.
forged. The final frontier is upon us, and we should be able get a good view from the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) from our own backyard in the Karoo.
So what does the future look like? As the human being evolves, and the potential of the tools we create advances exponentially, the idea of a noble, just and consciously-evolved civilization may have to wait for the consciousness of the human being to catch up. It would be naïve to assume that those with the resources, access, ability and willingness to conquer the new horizon of our Solar System will act without nefarious intent. The current approaches of governments and business leaders could be a lens into our future, and yet, still, the future still hangs in balance. When Donald Trump announced the US Space Force in 2018 most sneered at the idea, but what if there’s oil on Mars? Will the military-industrial complex industry continue to boom? How will the world react when China opens the Mars Institute of Virology? Will working conditions
on Bezos’ floating space colony be similar to that of Amazon? Does the CIA have a deal with Hollywood, starring ‘The Rock’ Johnson, for the UFO files they released in 2020? There are many questions to be answered. What we do know is that tomorrow is upon us.
The primary risk to our civilization has always been ourselves. We are an isolated sentient lifeform with a quest to break boundaries and explore the possibilities of our potential but, without the sufficient internal exploration and self-knowledge, our vision for the future will be a continuation of the past. Perhaps Richard Branson’s plans in the space tourism industry may also provide a solution by exposing more human beings to the ‘Overview Effect,’ described by some astronauts as an immediate shift in internal perspective by looking at the Earth from space. Hanging in a void, they experience a state of mental clarity, as they feel a deep connection with the planet and a unity with their fellow man. Curiously, some recent visitors to the International Space Station noted that there was no systemic shift in their way of being, and that they already felt a sense of oneness with the Earth as part of their own existence. Several billionaires have already bought tickets and are eager to report how seeing the Earth with their own eyes compares to watching the Earth get blown-up on their 8k high-definition home-theatre systems. Two words… Zack Snyder. Flights are available through numerous suppliers.
As for the future, we can expect flying cars and artificial-intelligent sex dolls, and even if we are not sure if we can pay using Bitcoin since Elon dumped them, we can be sure that we will continue to explore: externally through our creative expression as human beings, and internally to ensure that what we create is in
If we manage to navigate the tyranny of man by using peace, and quell his seemingly unquenchable thirst for selfish gain with love, if we manage to find a Jedi or two in the looming star wars and explore the infinity within before venturing to infinity and beyond, perhaps then we could really reach for the stars.
line with who we are as beings. This is always with the hope that, if we manage not to get swallowed by the swirling island of plastic in the ocean, or obliterated by wars brought on by greed and fuelled by ideology, and dodge an impact-event asteroid destroying all life on Earth, we might have a chance to be worthy of our own potential. If we manage to navigate the tyranny of man by using peace, and quell his seemingly unquenchable thirst for selfish gain with love, if we manage to find a Jedi or two in the looming star wars and explore the infinity within before venturing to infinity and beyond, perhaps then we could really reach for the stars. From the moon, to Mars, and from space colonies to other habitable planets in Goldilocks Zones in neighbouring Solar Systems, not in spite of nature for our own survival, but realised as nature. For we are not trying to save nature. We are nature trying to save itself.
The wisdom of the Moon is greater than the wisdom of the Earth because the Moon sees the universe better than the Earth can see it. —Mehmet Murat Ildan
Photo by Kym MacKinnon on Unsplash