Insights · January 13th, 2010

This archive article was written by Glen Hiemstra, Futurist Emeritus. Glen Hiemstra founded 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 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.

Nikolas Badminton – Chief Futurist

Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas is the Chief Futurist of the Futurist Think Tank. He is world-renowned futurist speaker, a Fellow of The RSA, and has worked with over 300 of the world’s most impactful companies to establish strategic foresight capabilities, identify trends shaping our world, help anticipate unforeseen risks, and design equitable futures for all. In his new book – ‘Facing Our Futures’ – he challenges short-term thinking and provides executives and organizations with the foundations for futures design and the tools to ignite curiosity, create a framework for futures exploration, and shift their mindset from what is to WHAT IF…

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