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We're Going To Space, Are You Coming?

 

Apparently when Von Braun was going around the country selling the idea of going to the moon/space, he would say “We’re going to the moon. Are you coming?”

Two things are important here: that the idea of going to the moon had to be sold and sold to non-scientists, and the idea that some portion of humanity is going to space and it is entirely your choice whether you’re coming or not. You can’t forever prevent the species from going.

This is my last article specifically about the Tenessee Valley Interstellar Workshop – sort of – which is exactly that kind of effort.  Sure a lot of the people involved have Ph.D.s in physics or engineering, but for three years now – I do not know about before that since I was not involved – they also had people like me and other writers, who are along to convince others, the normal people, that there is a possibility – let alone a point – in going to space.

Look, I got your answers to my last article on TVIW, and you know what?  I’ve heard them all before. Oh, sure, over the years – though mostly from leftists, who apparently have now infected the rest of society – “It’s too expensive” or “It’s too hard” or “there is no point to it” or “We’re broke” or “Shouldn’t we take care of those who need it at home before we go to space?”

But besides hearing this from the frightened people on the left, I’d read them years before when I did a history project on the history of Portuguese discoveries and went to the library to read the documents of the time. One by one, all your objections were there. There is only one you haven’t hit yet, and frankly, it didn’t show up in Portugal until the discoveries were well advanced, colonies were established and profitable, and people who’d stayed back home needed some reason to justify their choice: “It’s bad for the morals of the people.”

I really don’t think anyone from back when our very distant ancestors made the transition from water to land had a brain big enough to think in words, much less to speak or write. But had they had it, and we could find the records, they’d read, “What are those young fools doing going to dry land? Most of this world is ocean and all of it is more inhabitable to us than that dry desert.”

Do the naysayers get a vote? Yes, of course they do, particularly when the effort is done via governments that receive money from all of us.

But the thing is you don’t always need governments, and even big technology will not always be under government control. The history of life – let alone the history of humanity – says that if colonizing a new territory is possible, even if difficult or even if the technology is suboptimal, it will be done. Just by fits and starts, and with little push here and there.