Space, the Final Frontier? Or another Babel?

Growing up during the Apollo era of the “space race” I was caught up in the adventure of men leaving this planet and heading for the moon. Even the black and white limits of TV and newspapers didn’t diminish the wonder of it all in my pre-teen eyes.

Like many boys of my era, “astronaut” was added to the desirable things to do when I grew up. But media disinterest when moon landings became almost “common place” not only led to the cancelling of later planned moon missions, it also diminished the appeal of space exploration in my own eyes. Skylab missions (even if I’d heard of them at the time) didn’t have the same excitement as visits to the moon.

But the interest didn’t disappear altogether. I remember my thoughts after the Challenger shuttle disaster: thinking I’d be more than willing to join a shuttle crew to go immediately into space despite what had just happened.

But while the fascination still remains today, I have to ask myself why. What IS the appeal?

It’s definitely not related to the hardware. I’d barely know one end of a rocket from another if one end wasn’t slightly pointy and the other didn’t spew fire. And it’s certainly nothing to do with any adrenaline rush associated with the danger – or the idea of speed and “g” forces stressing my body.

But is there anyone who could NOT be attracted by the opportunity to see the beauty of the earth from “out there” – or by the thought of stepping onto another world, whether moon or planet and being the ultimate tourist? Getting a new perspective of the wonders of creation…

And then I wonder – what does space exploration mean in the IMPORTANT scheme of things? Is there a legitimate goal to be achieved apart from possibly answering a few scientific questions while raising countless more? Is the financial cost worth it or could it be better spent here on earth? Does the exploration beyond earth contribute to a need in mankind?

Or is it an overstepping of boundaries, taking mankind into areas we do not belong? Is it exceeding God’s biblical command to “…be fruitful and multiply; fill the EARTH and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the EARTH…”

Would ambitions in space be exceeding that God given mandate? Or isn’t that even an issue to be considered?

And could entry into space even be the ultimate Tower of Babel reaching into the heavens to make a name for ourselves?

Whatever the answer, the thing I personally take from discoveries made through space exploration, is an even greater appreciation of an incredible creation and more importantly appreciation of the Creator who made it all.


4 thoughts on “Space, the Final Frontier? Or another Babel?

  1. Unfortunately your photo of Earth seems to have missed out the most important nation on the Planet and highlighted its offshore island instead. For shame!

  2. (Cough! Splutter!) Tasmania!? (Gurgle! Snort! Choke!)

    Seriously, is there any truth in the story of Neil Armstrong, that when he came back from the Moon he kinda went crazy–spent the whole day in his room replaying the Moon landing over and over–for months or even years on end he was supposed to have done this–as if he cdn’t believe it–a kind of mental breakdown?

    I read it once and have never seen it repeated. It seems that NASA originally chose Buzz Aldrin to be the first man on the Moon, but changed to Neil when they decided Buzz was inclined to question authority and may turn into a loose cannon. However they later hugely regretted the switch because Buzz was an outgoing likeable character while Neil became reclusive after returning from the Moon. Though of course no one suggests he became a lunatic…

  3. Armstrong did become a little reclusive. He didn’t want the whole of his life defined by his moon walk and eventually tried to distance himself from the continued interest, trying to move on and do other things. But I’m not sure that he ever suffered a “mental breakdown”.

    Aldrin didn’t come out of the exeprience without a few problems. I seem to recall he had problems with alcohol for a while. But he did seem more willing to embrace the experience and the resulting celebrity. He is still very active in promoting space exploration today.

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