Friday, January 2, 2015

Sci-Fi Friday; On the way to space

Had this one knocking around for a while, finally taking the time to write it.

There were some problems with mankind's bid to explore the cosmos. Lives were lost, and substantial value in assets were destroyed. Some pointed to this as proof that only governments should attempt space, others claimed it was proof we shouldn't bother at all.

Both groups are wrong.

The universe, and humanity's place within it, will change when we become a spacefaring race. At present, our attempts to explore our solar system are not unlike man's attempts to explore below the surface of the ocean; limited by how long we can hold our breath. Vast riches and the hope of our species await, beyond the strength of our limbs to pull us and lungs to hold our breath.

Make no mistake: space is dangerous, and there is no part of its exploration that will not be fraught with peril. The void is anathema to human life. Even the depths of the ocean are more hospitable, for we may still breathe and move.

Still, we must press on. Space is dangerous, but so was flying. So was the ocean. We are a species, driven to explore, to expand, to learn, to know. Among the longest lifespans in the known animal kingdom through the might of science, yet driven to take great risks that may cut short our lives far before their natural end. A species, that stands at the threshold and says "though this may be the end of me, still I must" and proceeds through into the unknown.

Some might accuse me of, as so many have, claiming risk, danger, and uncertainty are fine, because it will be some other brave soul to face them. This is my position, were I offered a chance at the next flight out beyond the earth; "Though this may be the end of me, still I must." I stand by these words, and will proclaim them with all the pride and reverence a sack of ambulatory meat, on a spec of dust hurtling through a backwater corner of space can muster. I will recite these words, standing at the very door of the craft that may become my coffin. And I will step through that door into the unknown.

As a species, we stand on that threshold. While some bluster that it is best to close the door, we press onwards. Even as we speak, corporations and private entities help press our advance to the stars. Better ways to travel with our limited technology are still being developed. Hypothetical plans for cities on distant-yet-near worlds are drawn up. Our planetary vanguard has found what could be signs of past life. We run calculations on the value of rocks we cannot reach, and they total as much as the world's production for a year.

All that's left is to find a way to get there, and the will to search for it.

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