|Homeless man in Santa Monica, California|
Perhaps I am ignorant. Perhaps I lack vision. Perhaps my view of things is narrow and parochial but I don't really care much about outer space or what lies in the vast and endless universe beyond the atmosphere that envelops our world.
What I care about is here on Planet Earth. I care about our trees and our oceans. I care about our fellow creatures and about my fellow earthlings. I care about the future for those who follow us.
America's space agency NASA currently has an annual budget of $18 billion. Russia spends over $5.6 billion. Europe spends $4 billion, Japan $2,5 billion, China $1.5 billion and India $1.2 billion. That's an awful lot of money..
You could do a lot of good with $32 billion dollars a year. But it's not just about money. If the ingenuity of men and women employed in space programmes was instead directed to earthly matters, it could surely help a lot.
They could focus upon environmentally friendly transportation, upon stabilising the world's population,, upon eliminating starvation, upon ways of homing the homeless, upon food production, upon providing work and incomes for people in spite of the impact of new technologies, upon caring for the elderly, upon addressing division based on religious differences, upon access to clean water, upon diseases, upon preserving wild places and animals. The list of good things that might be addressed goes on and on.
|Starving Somalian child 2017|
These are the things that I care about. Not the surface of Mars or the remote possibility that there may be life on distant planets that are impossible to reach, And I don't care about building pioneer communities on The Moon in biomes with hydroponic plants. And just who are these wealthy idiots who are buying tickets for flights into outer space?
I want a home for the man in the picture at the top of this post and food and a future for the starving Somalian child in the second picture. And I want the continual reduction of The Amazon rain forest to cease and polar bears to have an icy environment in which they can thrive.
Space - the final frontier? To infinity and beyond? No. Stuff that. It's earthly matters that need addressing, not comic book fantasies spawned by science fiction and notions of military dominance. Space programmes may have given the real world a handful of beneficial by-products but if the focus had been upon what goes on here, the benefits would have surely been multiplied a hundred times or more.
Well. That's what I think. How about you?
|The surface of Mars|