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.
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.