I stayed up late last night watching NASA TV, as the Mars rover Curiosity touched down safely on the red planet. A very big tip of the cap to the folks at NASA, as the landing appeared to be nearly picture perfect. Well done.
Watching the broadcast brought back exciting memories of watching many of the Apollo missions. Though I was very young at the time, I still recall the first moon landing, and the Apollo 13 mission. Those missions had a tremendous impact on my life and interests, and lead me to become the big science nerd I am today. I remain a strong supporter of NASA, both for practical and less tangible reasons. To list the technologies created and scientific advancements achieved by the space program – technologies and scientific advancements that enrich all our lives everyday – would take a post many, many paragraphs long. Suffice to say that rarely a day goes by when you don’t use or benefit from some knowledge or gadget that can be traced back to NASA.
In my opinion, space exploration also enriches our lives in a spiritual sense. Life is at it’s most fulfilling when we learn and grow, as individuals and as a species. If we are to survive indefinitely, then we must continue the search for knowledge. This search is what keeps us vital and alive, and keeps us moving forward. It goes without saying that we must apply our newly acquired knowledge with wisdom – a task at which we have all too frequently failed. We must keep trying, though. Our unquenchable thirst for knowledge – our curiosity, if you will – and our unique ingenuity married with the occasional burst of wisdom has given us much of what is good in this world. It is these traits that will carry us into the future… if we’re wise and lucky.