The Forgotten Frontier: Why space exploration should have a comeback

Olga Steblyk / Sputnik Photography

Space: The final frontier. We know not where it comes from or where it goes, but it remains the ultimate destination of humankind.

There are few things more cathartic yet exhilarating than gazing upon the stars with your own eyes. The vastness of space, the beauty of planets that lay infinitely beyond our grasp. I don’t think I am alone in feeling a yearning to touch the stars which have lined the skies of countless nights, to gaze upon planets which surround the infinite dots that the night sky brings.

Space represents the ultimate test for humanity. It tests our resilience, our ability to work together and it dares us to dream bigger. Space exploration is a cause that transcends flags and ideologies. It represents a culmination of all the advancements in science and society. It is the possibility for more than what even our wildest dreams could imagine.

Is this reason enough to turn our collective gaze back to the stars? Should we sit and wait for all of our other problems to resolve themselves before daring to explore the great unknown? I don’t think so. The greatest of adventures all come from taking a leap of faith, to blindly rush into the unknown caring not for what detractors may say. As I see it, what greater adventure is there than venturing out in the black abyss of space? You don’t even need to be an astronaut to help.

When U.S. President John F. Kennedy went to the NASA space center in 1962, he came across a janitor and asked him what he was doing. The janitor had said he was helping a man get on the moon. Just by keeping the space centre clean, this janitor helped close a gap that was once thought to be unreachable. It didn’t matter that he wouldn’t be the one to touch the moon, it didn’t matter that he wasn’t designing the rocket, all that mattered was that it was a team sport and he played his part to cross a boundary that had only ever been dreamt of before.

To touch space is an endeavour that cannot be accomplished by the half-hearted funding of space agencies from what is, frankly, a government so disinterested you wouldn’t be blamed for assuming that none of our elected representatives has ever spent even a single night gazing up at the stars and wondering what secrets and stories this vast black abyss is waiting to share with us.

With this being said, it does not seem like there is much that any of us can do to change this reality, does it? Wrong. If we want to touch the vastest frontier of exploration that will ever exist again, all we need to do is to call our elected representatives and ask that they develop programs to aid our national space agency, as well as to unilaterally push our international allies to do the same. After all, this is a team effort.

In 50 years, it may matter what flag was put on Mars first. In 150 years, all that will matter is that someone dared to leave our little blue marble to explore horizons that have never been seen with the naked human eye before. All that needs doing is for us all to pick up the phone and ask.

This article was originally published in print Volume 23, Issue 7 on Thursday, March 7.

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