It looks like the famous 1977 ‘Wow!’ signal’s origin has finally been determined. Sadly but not unexpectedly it’s not aliens. It turns out it’s probably comets. I guess we’ll have to keep looking and trying to answer the question, “Where is everybody?”
Nasa delays its next Mars mission. It’s a bit of a shame but a year’s not really all that long, and clearly it’s extremely important to get everything right before the launch.
Exoplanets finally come into view. This is something I’ve been waiting for my whole life. How much of a geek am I?
Along with most of the people I know I’m very keen on protecting our environment. Apart from the obvious element of self-interest, there’s the fact that the Earth and all the things, living and non-living, that make it up are beautiful and wonderful treasures. However, there is one thing that I consider to be more important, one thing in the pursuit of which I would, if it proved necessary, destroy the entire planet. Space travel.
It’s a matter of pure survival. Our planet, this wonderful home of ours, is doomed. Nothing lasts forever, and that includes the Earth, our solar system and, indeed, the entire galaxy. Even if it isn’t destroyed completely, there’s a chance of some sort of natural disaster wiping us all out, whether it’s a large meteor strike or something completely unforeseen. It could happen tomorrow. And that’s why space travel is the most important thing we can do. We currently have all our eggs in one basket by having all our people on one planet. We need the capability to leave, to spread ourselves out as much as possible. That way lies the best chance for the survival of our children and our children’s children.
If I had my way, as much of our resources, financial, mental, physical, whatever, would be devoted to this most important of causes. Feed the hungry by all means (it wouldn’t actually cost that much), heal the sick, all that stuff, but having an eye on the future of the species while we do those things would be rather handy, too.
The Phoenix has landed safely on Mars. To pull off such a complex and difficult thing is a real triumph. Even in the unlikely event that it discovers nothing new it will have provided valuable information on how to land probes on other bodies in space, and for that alone it’s worth it. I suspect, however, that we’re going to start learning a whole lot of new and fascinating things about Mars. I can’t wait.