Biggest BS Of All Time: We Can’t Afford To Explore Space

Biggest BS Of All Time: We Can’t Afford To Explore Space

One of the dumbest pieces of “conventional wisdom” I hear is that we simply can’t afford to explore space. That it’s just too expensive. What a bunch of crap.

This is something that occurred to me the other day, when my mind was in one of those fevered states when I was half asleep and half awake, struggling to be one or the other. I had been reading a thought provoking book titled The Explorer, written by James Smythe. In the book, the people of Earth (or at least a conglomeration of corporations representing the people of Earth) have decided to send a group of explorers out on a deep space mission. They handle the money “issue” by pretty much corporately branding everything. This is one solution, though I don’t think it’s the only solution.

Here’s where my fevered mind comes in. Let’s talk about money. Let’s actually think about it for the moment. What is money? Money is a totally human construct, created by us humans. Money is something we all agree exists and the moment we stop believing that it stops existing. Money is the little piece of paper with the picture of the old white guy on it that we all agree is worth a cheese sandwich. We agree if you have a bunch of these pieces of paper then you can buy a bunch of cheese sandwiches. Money doesn’t occur naturally in the Universe. The Universe cares not of money at all.

So, yeah, maybe from the perspective of a nation of Earth, they might not have the money to explore space. But us, as citizens of Earth? We have all the money. Or none of the money. Or, it doesn’t matter at all. All of the resources of this planet are ours. All of the labor. All of out collective thoughts. If we all truly decided that exploring place was something that was worthwhile to do, we could start today.

I know it’s not a very capitalistic point of view, but it is true. We, of course, won’t ever agree to anything like this. After all, it’s much much easier to just throw our hands in the air and say we can’t do it, because we just don’t have the money.

8 thoughts on “Biggest BS Of All Time: We Can’t Afford To Explore Space

  1. Nothing gets me excited like the idea of space exploration. It’s frustrating how the interest (or will) seems to have died in the past decade. Or at least been farmed out to the private sector.

    I remember arguing with my grandma about funding for NASA. Her response was always, “We have so many problems on THIS world! We should spend the money here.” Which always struck me as profoundly short-sighted (sorry, Grandma–I still loved you dearly!).

    There’s something immensely and inherently romantic and idealistic about humans exploring outer space. I think few other pursuits encapsulate all that we’re capable of. Plus, we seem bent on destroying our own world, so it’s become a lot more practical, too.

    Great post, Paul!

    1. Thanks Sarah.

      Imagine if we humans had ever let the “We have so many problems ” excuse stop us before. We’d have never gotten anywhere!

  2. I tend to think exploring space alternatives is an opportunity for many to stop thinking about our living responsibly on Earth. Cause if there is only one planet mankind can inhabit then finding sustainable alternatives within this planet is imperative.
    If we can just abandon this planet…. we have no responsibility. And I don’t like that. If space is considered a ‘second chance’ then there’s no need to worry. Just destroy already, for there will be always another planet to live on.
    I guess this is NOT the case with you, I do not want to say that, but for many, it might be, and the underlying current, for me, is obvious.

    Apart from that, all austronautic stories and events are great stuff, and we are exploring and I get that, but…

    1. Thanks for the thoughtful comment and I hear what you’re saying. I disagree that space exploration would lead us to treat Earth worse, mostly because I don’t know how we could treat Earth any worse than we already were. I blame two things for this: cowardly politicians and those with their hands caught in the fossil fuel cookie jar. These work hand-in-hand, of course.

  3. I’ve always been fascinated with astronomy and all things related to the Cosmos, and to travel in Space is one of my dearest dreams.

    Unfortunately, greed is what governs everything… And, in the end, it will probably be greed taking humans out in space and not the noble purpose of pure exploration.

    At the same time I also agree with your other commenter, T Bogdányi Franciska. There are still so many unknowns on our planet Earth, so many wonderful, wonderful, wonderful things that we tend to disconsider only because they’re in our own home, that we carelessly destroy only because it seems there’s an endless supply of them just for our own enjoyment, from dandelions to trees, from sharks to chickens…. How many places are there on Earth that you have yet to visit?

    That being said, I would embark on a spaceship tomorrow. But I would also leave on that trek through the Amazon forest…

    A combination of the two would be ideal. 🙂

    Thank you for a very thought provoking post, Paul! The book that you’re mentioning, I’ve heard about it and I’m planning to read it.

    1. The book is pretty good. It starts a bit slow right up until the twist 80-100 pages in. At that point, wow, it really picks up (or at least it did for me).

      Yeah, greed governs everything and the fossil fuel guys have a lot of cash and a lot of greed. Not a good combination for the Earth.

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