This I Believe

Jeff - Washington, District of Columbia
Entered on December 26, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in a future in space

One of my strongest childhood memories involves sitting in the Imax theatre at the Air and Space museum in Washington DC and watching the space shuttle lift off. Feeling the room shake, watching astronauts eat, fly, play… dance in zero gravity. It was my first and strongest fantasy of the future: a dream of hope, adventure, and a view worth dying for. I wanted to go to space.

Somehow though, life got in the way: homework, sports, girls, and trouble just passing math class, let alone becoming a scientist or engineer, became my principal concerns. Ask me at eighteen what I wanted to do with my life and I responded with a shrug and, “I don’t know.”

College changed all that though; not through classes or brilliant professors, but through something else that was changing the whole world: broadband internet access, I started reading about space.

Within days I learned two life changing facts: I was too tall to be an astronaut, but there was a whole community of people working to make space accessible to normal, every day people – and they didn’t work for NASA.

Today, private companies are reaching for space and are on the brink of making it accessible to normal people. Space will be transformed from a program for test pilots and statisticians, to just another place to work, live, dream, and make money. I’ve come to understand that the reason we’re not all living on the Moon, like my father believed we would in his younger days, is the expense of getting to and from space. But this paradigm has begun to come apart and it is my generation, not my parents’ that will be the first to inhabit space.

The recently announced space tourist flights are but the tip of an iceberg. Analogous in price to a flight on the China Clipper in the early days of aviation, they are the low hanging fruit in a jungle of new opportunities. This is not the work of NASA or any government. These are the same forces that developed the West and built the railroads.

The biggest threats to our world: the ever growing demand for energy and resources will one day be sated, not by limiting population or accepting a lower standard of living, but by the limitless resources beyond this planet.

All of this is at our fingertips to be tasted within our lifetimes. The future of our nation and our world will not be one of limited resources, overpopulation, and bloodshed, but of limitless expansion, quality of life, and freedom. I can be part of this. I believe in a future in space.