First of all, I would like to thank Kano for allowing me to participate in this debate. I also greet dreamlandmafia and offer him a warm handshake.
I think this epitomizes the exchange of ideas ATS is for.
Since the 1950s, when the first satellites were launched, we have known that space is the next frontier. And intuitively, we have known this will be
an international effort – it’s no longer one continent going to the next as in the days of Columbus, it’s our little world going into the cosmos.
Hence, I submit that space exploration should be an international priority because it promotes unity and understanding, as well as hope and optimism
in the future of mankind.
Never has this world of ours been more in need of unity, of a common goal. In the past thirty years, since the end of the Apollo program, it seems as
though humanity has been mainly reactive, not proactive. Reaction against poverty, against famine, against AIDS, against terrorism – this is all good
and well, and it must be done. But as Stephen Walker, speaking of Carl Jung’s work, aptly stated, “myths, in the collective life of cultures,
compensate for the inadequacy and one-sidedness of the present.” In other words, something which strikes the imagination and re-establishes hope in
our future is much required, and an international effort taking the can-do of humankind to the next level will do just that.
President Bush has already unveiled a plan to use a mission to the Moon, by 2020, as a stepping stone for sending human beings to Mars. It’s a
laudable goal. But more could be done by putting together an international effort combining the resources of a large number of countries.
A good number of recent Mars missions have been failures. Britain’s Beagle 2 has been lost, as well as the U.S.’s Mars Observer. NASA states that each
year it “struggles to make do with less and less. Many good proposals have been shelved and once in a lifetime opportunities missed.” (2) In this
context, President Bush’s proposal was met largely with indifference, and some cynicism.
It need not be like this. Combining the efforts of many countries to take space exploration to the next level would provide much-needed financial
resources that national space programs are presently lacking, without detracting from the ongoing investments in the fight against famine, poverty,
AIDS and terrorism.
Such international cooperation is not new. Space shuttle missions have become more and more diverse, and the International Space Station has pulled
together the resources, knowledge and material of countries like the United States, Japan, Russia and Canada. In that context, it makes sense that
this cooperation must be expanded and applied to future developments in space exploration.
But more importantly, it must be made a priority. A joint declaration by a good number of countries, pledging to make space exploration an
international priority and possibly announcing a new common mission to Mars with a bolder timetable, would strike our imagination and promote a sense
of unity and common purpose which is cruelly lacking in our world. It would also encourage dialogue and understanding between countries, potentially
making conflicts easier to resolve and common efforts to tackle international problems easier to mobilize.
Fighting against poverty, famine and the destruction of the environment is all good and well, and it must be done. But it does not inspire us or
challenge us as fighting “for” something which restores hope in the betterment of humankind can.
1) WALKER, Steven F. (1995), Jung and the Jungians on Myth, Garland Publishing, New York, 198 p.
2) NASA, A Personal Plea, www.nineplanets.org...