In Defense of Exploration

Over on my own blog today, I posted a video about Neil DeGrasse Tyson. This one:

And the more I think about him, the more I just admire this man. He's an astrophysicist at the Hayden Planetarium and All Around Awesome Dude.

Two of my favorite quotes by Neil are below (thanks, GoodReads, for posting them!):

“For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you.” 

“We spend the first year of a child's life teaching it to walk and talk and the rest of its life to shut up and sit down. There's something wrong there.” 

But recently, he posted another quote on Facebook that really struck a chord with me:

The day we stop exploring is the day we commit ourselves to live in a stagnant world, devoid of curiosity, empty of dreams.

I found this quote both sad and true. True, because one of the greatest accomplishments of mankind is exploration (the other, I would argue, is creation). But sad because of the recent cuts in NASA funding, and the seeming unimportance that the government (and many people) place on NASA exploration.

Space exploration fascinates me. Despite the fact that I can't science very well, I'm enamored of astronomy and I love learning more about the universe. The universe is so vast. And there is so much left for us to discover.

I find it very satisfying that the current Mars rover is named "Curiosity." I pray that, if nothing else, it is our human curiosity that will save exploration of the future.

(Satiate your curiosity: find out more here!)

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1 comment:

Jessi said...

I'm sorry but I can't watch the video at the moment. Our internet is limited.
I'm against using tax dollars for things like NASA, mainly because I'd rather not pay the taxes but even if I have to pay taxes, I'd rather they go to fix the roads or improve the local library. (Our roads are in desperate need of help.)
Don't get me wrong, I really like the idea of exploring space but I see a few problems with the way it's being done. Before space can be seriously explored, someone is either going to have to make a really fast ship or figure out how to keep humans in space for a really long time, like in your book. Without this, humans won't be able to journey that far through space. I think people wanting to explore space should try to solve these problems, rather than spend millions sending unmanned vehicles through space. Figuring out things like traveling at light speed and artificial gravity would also be very useful for people on Earth so it could be done by the private sector. If those were figured out first, before people voyaged through space, it would help us here on Earth and advance space exploration. To me, space exploration is being done backwards.
By the way, I really liked your books, especially A Million Suns.