What is space exploration if not a colossal misuse of taxpayers’ money dressed up as scientific progress and tireless search for alien civilizations that are supposedly nesting out there, hellbent on establishing contact with mankind whose greatest achievement to date is inventing weapons that can destroy it in a matter of hours while failing to find a cure for a common cold or invent tools that don’t produce an unbearable racket.
Not a day passes by without us hearing from different men with that glare in their eyes who call themselves astrophysicists or astronomers that outer space is something we can’t ignore, if we all want to survive, and that the little green men are definitely out there somewhere, longing for our acquaintance. And as of late billionaires have started to show interest in cornering the space exploration market, obviously hoping to receive all those taxpayers’ billions in subsidies, just like it happened with man-made climate change, a myth that keeps on giving.
But, alas, the great financial crash of 2008 and the recession that followed and is still with us, covered up as ‘sluggish recovery’, have made such a dent in the world’s finances that the future of space exploration is not looking good at all. Which should be a relief for everyone, as there are many others things that money can be spent on with better returns.
We’ve had an extended burst of excitement over space exploration with the Apollo manned missions, back in the 1960s and early 1970s, and some pretty wild expectations thrown about over the Moon and possible remnants of life and even life itself on it. There were enthusiasts then who were saying that they had seen mysterious movements on the Moon through their telescopes and that cracks and lines on the surface convinced them that there could be ice and even water there. We could learn so much about the universe and our own planet, scientists were saying, by studying the Moon and sending men up there.
But after several Apollo manned missions all we were left with were rocks. Big rocks, small rocks and pebbles that told us nothing that we didn’t know already: that the Moon had never been inhabited by anyone and that no one ever visited it before us because there was nothing much to do there in the first place.
When the obsession with the Moon had died down, Mars replaced it as the place for man to be on and investigate, even though all the unmanned missions to the Red Planet failed to establish any presence of anything there. All the talk about Mars having vast water reserves beneath its surface had proved to be just that – talk.
For those people, who are still eagerly expecting to hear sensational news about the discovery of some primitive forms of life on Mars, I suggest they calm down. The temperature on Mars tends to fall sometimes all the way down to minus 70 degrees Celsius – and that’s in the summer. As Elton John sang once in his famous hit, Rocket Man, “Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids. In fact, it’s cold as hell.” Elton knew what was talking about long before the first probes had arrived on Mars. And he’s got two kids of his own now, so we should listen to him.
It is one thing sending satellites into orbit around the Earth and even having a space station circling it, but it is another thing altogether to waste time and money sending probes and manned mission into distant outer space, to tickle the vanity of political rulers who should know better.
In other words, space exploration can wait. Why? Because it makes more sense to first sort out the mess on Mother Earth. And once that is done, in about 1000 years, we can then start thinking about exploring distant planets.Share