Earth Date: 10th May, 2019
The question of whether or not space exploration is an acceptable pursuit in light of all that’s going on in the world is one that’s been asked since about the 70s and 80s. But I didn’t first hear of the concept until several years ago, well after that initial period.
It’s a convincing idea, one that did it’s job convincing me when I first heard of it. And it’s certainly true that environmental science holds more importance, not to mention great fascination for me, in the current period. However, space science isn’t only fascinating; it, too, can hold answers. The two sciences can even be combined to give us solutions to our most prescient problem.
The issue with this is rhetoric about science, and about space science in particular. There has been talk in the media of space holding an interest for rich people, to “escape” the growing problem of global warming. There is something of colonialism in this: colonists took resources from foreign countries, and settled there; it seems they plan to do the same with space, the final frontier. The biggest problem with this is that fixing problems on Earth is doable; it just doesn’t align with rich people’s desire to exploit people and the environment in order to line their pockets. As long as this problem exists, it seems dangerous to encourage space travel.
However, science itself is a valuable tool in fighting the rich in order to save our planet. Particularly in the age of Trump, who tried to ban words such as ‘climate change’ in order to erase science done or papers written on the topic. This only proves the powerful effect that science can have on the world, and to end scientific research also seems to me a dangerous precedent. We need people to fight against corruption: one way of doing this is providing proof against dangerous lies as well as coming up with real solutions to problems created by the rich and powerful. Many people that now work for NASA were inspired to pursue their careers from Star Trek, and that is a very optimistic, diverse, and peaceful source of inspiration. This provides an important counter-rhetoric to men like Trump. Star Trek might just be the guiding force by which we save our future.
It is a fundamental endeavour for humans to want to explore distant worlds. This endeavour can only be considered a positive force in a world surrounded by such horrors as war, exploitation, and the kind of colonial attitude coming from some of those powerful men who would rather lie, steal and shift blame rather than take responsibility for their own actions. But there is also an optimism inherent in Star Trek that can lead science in positive directions. If we allow it, and if we continue to study space, maybe one day we, too, can rise from the ashes of a hateful, ignorant world, and earn our place amongst the stars the right way.