Tut tut, the sky is falling." Chicken Little.
"There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too." John F. Kennedy.
He happened to be a Democrat, if the Moon was landed on under a Republican, in which one thousand years from now, if America is ashes, that will still be among its most important accomplishment, its finest hour, unless it does even cooler things in Space over the coming years, and lives a lot longer in the process.
Kennedy wasn't perfect, as who is, but if he were to return today, I think he would see too many Chicken Littles and too many "Nattering Nabobs of Negativism" in today's America.
The world is always ending, and always being reborn.
Tut, tut, the Earth is might be growing warmer and allegedly overpopulated. People can also adapt to many more changes than they are usually given credit for, by using old technologies like nuclear and "breeding reactors," and manipulating the DNA of plants and especially algae, in which by themselves they adapt as it is to fixing carbon, if that is in fact a real concern.
Every crisis we create induces its own solution, the question always being the relative efficiency.
Otherwise we would still hide in caves from Saber Tooth Tigers.
Tut, tut, there are too many horses to match the increase in population, how will we find the forage to feed them?
Use oil and cars was the answer.
Tut, tut, how will we find more oil.
A million ways, algae-based oils among them.
As to why Space is so central to the human future, if we stay only Here, we invariably will focus more on the fights over existing things here, rather than focus on what we can create "There," which in the limit leads to wars that are not zero sum, but negative sum.
As to how one could do that, if someone like me can visualize this, then it's not that hard.
Just take electromagnetic rails, and throw a cable into orbit that assembles itself mainly, tethered to an orbiting asteroid that is the counterweight for Tsilokovksy's "Space Elevator."
Such asteroids have uranium for nuclear reactors to throw things to the Moon, like Jules Verne's "Space Cannon."
From there in low gravity, its a cinch to throw things to Mars, and shuflle the humans there, with plenty of water, and then to Jupiter and Saturn, and then to Pluto and the Oord Belt, and then in to the Stars, using nuclear weapons to "put-put" them up to one tenth of the speed of light, which even Carl Sagan thought totally reasonable (and is a design that has been around for forty years) even as he was such a vociferous opponent of nuclear weapons.
In the meantime, as we develop the technologies to do that, it spins off to hyper-gliding planes on Earth traveling ten times that of a 747,where you get to see space to a real extent and the world gets a lot smaller, Tokyo to New York in two hours max, just as enclosed trains can move at four times the speed of sound, and both driven by the same perfected electromagnetic railguns that take the first steps to the Stars.
Tut tut, planes might crash, or tut tut, trains might overheat.
William Bradford, speaking in 1630 of the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony, said that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage.
If this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything, it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space.
Those who came before us made certain that this country rode the first waves of the industrial revolutions, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power, and this generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age of space. We mean to be a part of it--we mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding.
Yet the vows of this Nation can only be fulfilled if we in this Nation are first, and, therefore, we intend to be first. In short, our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men, and to become the world's leading space-faring nation.
We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war. I do not say the we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours... Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."
No one said that better than Kennedy, and we did get to the Moon, and that's a vision of REM too of the best angels of our Nature:
If you belived they put a man on the Moon, man on the Moon
If you believed, there's nothing up there sleeve, nothing that's cool.http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=rem+man+on+the+moon+you+tube&mid=60A38E7E090A447A2B1960A38E7E090A447A2B19&view=detail&FORM=VIRE2