Posted by: antyx | September 8, 2008

Destination: The Cosmos

Man was always an explorer and always will be. Starting from a simple nomad and collector of food, he organized, forming complex societies, institutions, science, technology, arts, transportation and just before 50 years we came to the point where we were able to defy gravity itself. Reluctant at first, the first humans just orbited into the higher parts of our atmosphere, just being able to see the earth from a very near distance, visualizing our small blue planet as a unit, without all the numerous divisions we tend to apply in every social and political level. Unfortunately though, through conflict during the cold war era, space technology progressed and we managed to explore the biggest part of our solar neighborhood. Several maned missions were sent to the Moon, although they had small scientific value. Numerous probes were sent to the nearby planets, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Uranus etc which managed to uncover so many secrets they withheld from us for thousands of years.

The night sky, always stood as an amazing piece of art of the cosmos itself. It was the only night entertainment for thousands of years, before electricity and amusements were invented. Through observation alone, we managed to understand so many things of our place and coordinates in space. The movement of the night sky is so accurate, it stood as an astral clock and navigational beacon for centuries. Sciences like mathematics and cosmology were introduced in order to explain and modelize this piece of art. Constellations were given forms from everyday society, pinpointing the most observable groups of stars in the sky. Every religion attempted to explain the origin of the cosmos and our place in it. Each religion managed to give a somehow plausible explanation of how everything observable came to be, though some succeeded to confirm modern cosmology. The Hinduistic model of creation comes in parallel to an amazing extent with the big bang theory for instance. Eitherways we can conclude that the cosmos was always incorporated in belief systems globally. The human species has always felt as a part of all this breathtaking picture we are able to see every night. The theoretic scientific work kept going for thousands of years, so we became able before just 50 years ago, to send something of our own technological achievements into our solar system. Voyager is already out of our solar system, heading to the stars. It holds upon it the basic information of the species that sent it, standing as a modern bottle into the cosmic ocean. We may someday stumble upon it when touring the cosmos in the following eons, making it a relic of our historic timeline in space.

The heart of civilization started in Mesopotamia (Babylonians, Sumerians), moved to the coastline of the Mediterranean sea (Ancient Greece, Egypt, Roman Empire), spread throughout Europe and finally head overseas (North & South America, Oceania, Asia). We colonized the whole planet, fulfilling our thirst for exploration, profit and being challenged by the unseen. Moreover today we stay home, preserving the old divisions and mentalities that have always held us back. Taking in mind the present state of technological & scientific progress, colonizing other planets and solar systems is just a matter of time. I personally am in favor of such an idea, though in order to do so, countless of obstacles have to be overcome. First of all we must redefine our motivation on doing to. If we take the colonization of the European nations as an example, it can easily stand as something we should avoid. Profit and exploitation alone will only led us to making the same mistakes, seen throughout history. Society today stands immature to act as a colonizer of other planets and star systems. The realistion that we ought to stand as a unity has not been fulfilled yet, where division and conflict can been seen in every social and political level everyday. We seem to find it so hard to agree, cooperate, and act for the benefit of the whole in the long term. Each political action in every nation is measured in short term economic and diplomatic profit, forgetting the anthropic values they ought to promote. Fundamental social values play the last part in the higher levels of decision making. So concluding i personally believe it is too soon to start talking or planing about moving to other worlds. Space colonization may be soon feasible technologically though there is a need for fundamental social and political transformation in order to do start doing so.We have just started to show signs of achieving that goal. Environmental issues like global warming which demand action in a worldwide scale have made us realize this need. The impact of closed cooperative and idea systems like the internet have just started to impact society itself. Time will only show if we are mature enough to fulfill unity in a large scale. Economy, media, society, communication are being more global, dynamic and fast paced. Each one with different aiming and technique.

As for space exploration itself it was initially boosted through conflict in the cold war era, though today great signs of progress can be seen overall causability is concerned. US, European, China’s, India’s and Japan’s space agencies very often corporate into achieving a common scientific and technological goal. Achievements as the International Space Station, Hubble, numerous space probes and many other planned  missions seem to show great signs of change of our ability to work together and pursue clear scientific goals. Mainstream science fiction most of the times fails to foresee social advancements and mostly rely on our existing forms. Though many sci-fi writers manage to invent new structures and mentalities in advanced hypothetic future societies. Space exploration cannot be treated as something distinct from society itself. Every human species and every country must play a crucial role in this process. Transformation and change will maintain our sustainability and balance on our heading into the future and finally to the stars. Nothing is set to develop into a certain manner, thus future is made today, constructed by every aftereffect of our present action. Finally i have to name a man which always stands as a great inspiration for me, where if it wasn’t for his documentaries and ideas i may not have started this article and blog in the first place. That man is Carl Sagan, a great scientist, exobiologist and most important of all anthropist, humanist and great thinker of our modern times. He was involved in many of NASA’s achievements and never ceased to note out the anthropic value every human action and achievement we ought to have in mind. The least i could so is to embed one small part of his documentary series which underlines man’s visions in space


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