If you never gamble, you’ll never see a big payoff; it’s as simple as that.
When Earth gives you a ton of lemons, you look to the heavens.
Now might be a good time to do that, as astronauts transverse the heavens and our politicians (here and abroad) feud over, well, everything.
In the Great Beyond, however, we are finding new goals and surpassing them.
So far this year we have seen the first all-female spacewalk, with Jessica Meir and Christina Koch doing the honors. The New York Times reported that the United States astronauts were replacing a fire controller, which seems routine, but a first is a first, and the all-female spacewalk, which was broadcast live around the globe, was underplayed by most of the American media, which is obsessed with the day-to-day news of impeachment and holiday shopping.
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And that’s why we look beyond the familiar and focus on what seemed impossible before the 1960s. Private companies are slowly developing the ships that will send us back to the moon, Mars and beyond. The Associated Press reported this week that another set of astronauts — one from the U.S. and the other from Italy — are working on a $2 billion spectrometer that the AP reported “was never meant for hands-on repairs like this and was designed to last just three years.” It’s one of those “moon-shot” investments that seems absurd if viewed through a singular goal, but then again, electricity was seen as a monumental gamble at the end of the 19th Century.
So, you might be asking, are these prohibitively expensive gambles worth it? We think they are. We need to explore the last frontier, which is not Alaska. It’s that big, dark sky with twinkling lights you can see so clearly when away from the city.
And it’s in these times when we should be looking to the heavens — some look to a higher power; others find comfort in science — but no matter how you group it, we can work together to make these big gambles pay off.
If we want our children and their grandchildren to truly see a better world, we must utilize the knowledge we have gained over the last half-century to further our understanding of science. An old song from the last century went: “What you don’t know, won’t hurt you,” but you can look to the flu virus — which you can’t see, but you certainly can feel it once you contract it — to know that what we don’t know can hurt us.
To give you a bit of perspective, the spectrometer has been in space since 2011, studying matter and anti-matter, what science describes as the building blocks of the universe — the things we can’t see that, the thinking goes, we could harness into a type of energy that doesn’t require massive pollution to utilize.
If you never gamble, you’ll never see a payoff like that; it’s that simple.