As an aerospace engineer I’m occasionally asked why we bother with space. Common arguments: it’s expensive, there are more pressing problems on Earth, etc. I agree with Will Pomerantz:1 there is no one answer.
Our universe is enormous; it is mind boggling big and diverse and our reasons for going there are correspondingly large…I don’t think you can give the top-ten reasons we go to space…
There are indeed many reasons to explore space, but leave it to an artist to come up with an especially poetic one. John Roderick of The Long Winters:2
I don’t publicly out myself as a utopian and a people-lover…because it’s not my brand. But I’m an idealist, and I love humanity, and I imagine us as all on a ship together and all with a common cause, and Space exploration seems like the ultimate expression of human beings doing their best work. So I imagine he’s bringing it back to us — all of us — something. If we could only share that simple feeling: why do we go up into space? We go up into space to bring back that little tantalizing vision of a borderless space of birds…and boys and girls.
Buy The Commander Thinks Aloud on iTunes.
From his TEDx talk on Leaving our Beautiful Home and Exploring Outer Space) ↩
From the amazing Song Exploder podcast. ↩