Insights · January 13th, 2010
This archive futurist.com article was written by Glen Hiemstra, Futurist Emeritus. Glen Hiemstra founded Futurist.com in the 1990’s and is now Futurist Emeritus in the Think Tank. An internationally respected expert on creating preferred futures, long-range planning and assessing future trends, Glen has advised professional, business, community, and government organizations for three decades. He is available to work with incredible clients on futurist keynotes and foresight consulting projects.
I grew up in space.
Not literally, obviously, but in my sense of future possibilities. When Colliers and other magazines in the 1950’s featured the Von Braun space station on their covers – the great wheel in space that became an iconic image – this locked in for me a life-long interest in space exploration. For a short time in the 1960’s I imagined being an astronaut until it was clear I was too tall for that, not to mention the rigor of qualifying. Later, as explained in the story of Futurist.com my original futurist mentor came from the Apollo program.
So, you might understand why I get frustrated with the agonizingly slow expansion into space. Now my colleague, Brenda Cooper, advises me that when looked at in galactic time, progressing from the Wright Brothers to missions to planets and human missions in orbit and for a while to the moon, all in 107 years, is pretty impressive and probably about fast enough. True.
Still, when I read that over and over again this and other nations are unsure, at the national government level, how much to invest I wonder how we can miss seeing the opportunity, or even the necessity of becoming a space-faring civilization (according to Stephen Hawking). There will never be lack of earth-bound problems to distract us, but at the same time there is never a lack of the relatively small amounts of money required to, for example, send people to Mars or even to begin terraforming.
My hope is that we see the space imperative more clearly in years to come.