The Evolution of Space Exploration
Rocket countdown, narrated
From Rockets as Weapons to Space Exploration
Our first rockets were weapons. From the German V2 to Sputnik, we rode to space on the tip of giant missiles. We were driven by war, a little bit of fear, and paranoia. We rode those rockets to orbit, with Alan Shepard and Gemini. We rode those rockets to the moon, with Apollo.
A New Perspective
When Apollo astronauts stood on the moon and they turned around and looked back at Earth, home, nearly 400,000 kilometers away, it changed them. From up there, borders and wars and violence disappear. It changed people on Earth, they shared the experience of the moon on their television screens.
The Rise of Space Exploration
They decided going to space didn’t have to be about fear, it could be about something else. So they built this. This is Discovery. Discovery is the name of the shuttle, but it’s also what the ship itself represents. When we built the shuttle, instead of only soldiers, our astronauts were teachers, and scientists. Instead of war machines, we launched telescopes that could see to the edge of the universe and almost to the edge of time. We built a home for the whole world with the International Space Station.
Exploration and Innovation
We build spacecraft so we can explore. But when we build spacecraft, we build technology, for better clean energy, and medicine. Today we have replaced Discovery with Curiosity. A robot that extends the reach of our species, it allows us to exist beyond our own consciousness, to expand the human experience beyond our home planet. We push a button on Earth and we do work on Mars. And using the technology that came from our space program, we ourselves can go beyond Earth.
Humans in Space
But people ask me all the time, why not just send robots to space? Why send humans? Because people come home. And every astronaut who has gone to space has been greeted by the whole world as a hero, not just to our country but to the world. NASA may send humans to Mars by 2030. Private spaceflight expands our opportunity to send men and women to space, you and me.
The Future of Space Exploration
Yes, on rockets, but this time powered by wonder instead of fear, or paranoia or war. A new generation of space heroes can use their experiences to change the world just like we have for half a century. Instead of museums full of retired spaceships, we should have museums full of space heroes. Discovery the space shuttle might be grounded for the rest of her days. But, just maybe, if we are willing, “discovery” can carry us beyond Earth again.
Clip video in engleza despre asta, numit : De ce mergem în spațiu?
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