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Countdown to the Moon

1775 – Luke

Luke had not heard about NASA’s plans to go to the moon. He wonders why NASA is going. He is quite happy with staying on the ground.

I think “Why are we going?” is a recurring theme in these interviews. For the pro-space people it is axiomatic and is something that is obviously good. For people not so much interested in space, they need it to fit into a practical purpose. I think nearly everyone agrees on the value of communication satellites, GPS, weather satellites and the like. Not everyone would agree on the need for monitoring the sun or looking for near earth objects. But taking some measures to understand how space weather affects the satellites and communications on earth is something that many would see value in. Understanding what asteroids might impact the earth most could agree with (though not everyone). But then when you get into human spaceflight and exploration of the planets and observing the cosmos, you start to get into an area that does not have demonstrable practical benefit. For these types of areas it becomes more philosophical. And it has more to do with your view of humanity in the cosmos. Is our time here long or short? Is it something that we can control or influence? Are we something precious, deserving of surviving for the long term or are we pests that should not go messing up the universe?

I think as human settlements start to appear in the solar system and becomes the norm that more people will come to accept space exploration as something inevitable. Until then, it will come down to beliefs.

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