Since the dawn of man, humans have been consummate explorers. We started by exploring over the next rise in search of resources and new horizons. From those humble beginnings, we began to understand the vastness that is Earth. We became so enthralled by this planet of ours that our ancestors believed it to be the epicenter of the universe. Such thoughts accompanied other thoughts such as the world was flat, dragons and other creatures populated unexplored distances, and that if one went too far, one would fall off the edge of our world. Economic necessity eventually dispelled such notions as a way was sought overseas to shorten the trade route known as the Silk Road with India.
Companies enlisted intrepid explorers with the financial aid of various Kings and municipalities on a quest that they promised would be highly lucrative to all those involved. Setting out upon the vast ocean these men sailed west discovering a new world that they at first thought was India. They instead discovered the Western Hemisphere, an area sparsely populated by early nomadic peoples rich in an array of natural resources. The recurring theme throughout history is that the strong dominate the weak, and as these explorers helped to re-discover this land, they set about subjugating the native populations. Dragons did not exist, and they failed to fall off the edge of the earth.
Humankind seems to have lost some of that explorer spirit. We have had the technology for sixty years with which to make forays into space. We, of course, went to the moon and put humans on it six times in sixty years! That is an incredible period not to have established a permanent presence there. Strangely, technology has not advanced quite as quickly when it comes to propulsion systems. There is nothing wrong with using rockets to get a spacecraft into space, but the real issue is developing a propulsion system to use in space. We have many theories on the drawing board; the most realistic at this time in our development seems to be a fusion drive. Does one wonder if there be dragons in space? The reticence to explore seems very pronounced.
Real dangers do exist in space, but one wonders how many more are imagined merely because we are ignorant of the facts like our predecessors as they thought of dragons and other ill-conceived monsters that threatened just over the horizon. Someone that swam in swampy waters of the ruling class once said there be dragons. The reply was straightforward; nothing we shall ever encounter in life will ever be more perilous than the ambitions of our fellow-man. It is easy to continue to lie down with the devil we know, comforting in its cruel way, but it takes a courageous soul to venture beyond the limits of knowledge and test the ethereal waters of the unknown.
The most significant advancements in human history have been brought forth by those willing to risk and willing to sacrifice for the advancement of society. Whether the driving force is monetary or borne out of necessity, none of it could have materialized without the spirit of exploration. We are at our greatest when we step out of the comfortable and confront the unknown. It is past time that we recapture the spirit of our ancestors and embrace the one thing that has ensured our survival. We must dare to dream and explore all over the horizon and well beyond. If we do not advance we stagnate, and if we stagnate we as a species must inevitably die. The future is ours, and we only need to embrace the intrepid qualities of the past in order to reach out and grab it.
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