Opinion: Has the Space Race Lost Its Pace?

Student contributor

Discovery: the feeling that has pushed the human race all over the globe, from pole to pole and sea to sea. Though discovery was the harbinger of terrible deeds, most notably genocide, it is an aspect of humans. It’s what makes us human, the curiosity and wonder of what else is out there. What have we been discovering in the past few years? How to instigate fellow internet users? How to slander political opponents? How to justify invading smaller countries to push our agenda?

Currently, our nation is being pulled and torn at the seams. Everyone has their opinions, and every opinion seems to have a sizable opposition. We lack unity, a single goal, a grand cause to muster our hopes and dreams and expand our knowledge of the worlds around us.

Even this opinion that I hold dear has met backlash. It feels as if no one has any belief in reaching out; they want to keep their boots on Earth and remain here, even past their final breath. Damage has been dealt to our world, but we definitely aren’t killing Earth. The truth is, we are just moving closer to when Earth will kill us.

There is hope out there. There are other worlds we could adapt, worlds we could build a new home on. Unfortunately, one of the biggest motives to prioritize interplanetary travel is to pillage and steal the resources of the cosmos, specifically rare metals found on asteroids like gold. This could eventually be profitable for industry, but it will take time and research that the government just isn’t willing to apply.

There are greater reasons to take to the stars though. There’s evidence that Earth is heading towards an ice age that will cause the planet to become hostile to its current inhabitants. Millions of lifeforms will certainly perish once we reach that point, but the human race doesn’t have to be one. Once we can develop the technology to transform the inhospitable to welcoming, the sky will no longer be the limit.

The biggest step, a step much like climbing Mount Everest, would be reaching Mars. But, in the grand scheme of things, it would be a mere foothill for us, an initial base camp. The first step to reach Mars would be finding ways to increase the efficiency of our vessels. We currently cannot carry enough fuel to get us to Mars, but if we put more time into developing ways to resolve this issue rather than causing conflicts, we would be able to push past this obstacle. The reason being that it takes such a prohibitively lengthy amount of time to cross that distance that you couldn’t store enough supplies and fuel to survive the roughly 300 day trip (a trip 100 times the amount of time to travel from Earth to the moon).

Another problem that has crossed my mind is that since it takes such a long stretch of time to journey to Mars, the crew would be extremely isolated from the rest of the world. That could possibly cause them to crack under emotional stress or perhaps even fighting within the crew.

As mentioned above, being able to transform Mars into being a habitable world would also be a very important step in the process to colonizing it. It would almost function like a practice run before we have the opportunity to colonize other worlds in our periphery.

In short, I simply believe that migrating towards the stars is the next step in our evolution as humans, and that our governments should work, hopefully as a unified force, to extend the human sphere of influence and our technological capabilities. Some may say that this would be a pointless, billions of dollars in mistakes, but I believe they are wrong.

There are near infinite resources and opportunities, and they belong to us if we just seize the moment and take the next step into the unknown as our forefathers before us have done. As a nation, we are growing complacent at the top and will eventually fall from our pedestal, be ripped to shreds, and humiliated like the empires before us.

Unfortunately, it is human instinct to also be scared of the unknown. We do menial tasks to give us the illusion of doing something, but these futile missions will eventually lead to our downfall, and we will be spread too thin with faltering support from those at home.

Fortunately, courage is also a human instinct to help us dispel these fears. Rather than desperately scrabbling for far off territories, why not lead the charge on to the greatest unknown man has ever encountered? Why not be courageous explorers and pioneers instead of the paranoid and scared rats that we will become?


Dylan Lu is a student at Cranberry High School and a member of Cranberry Chronicles, the school’s journalism/publications group.