Am I the only one having the feeling that 50 years ago space mattered more than it matters now. Is it just me thinking that not much progress has been made in the means of space exploration and the technological development? No, I am not the only one. I guess that it’s just everyone’s general impression about space. But it is to blow away as soon as you get the first interaction with the topic: whether you talk to a scientist with space focus study, attend a lecture of a cosmonaut, visit an expo of space equipment and even if you just lift your head up gazing at the endless carpet of stars, you will realise that you have always been enchanted by space just as my as I have been.
Let me share with you a short life story of mine. I have never been good at math. It usually took me more time to understand math-related subjects than it did to others. I always had a bigger philosopher inside of me, (I believe that all humans have philosophers living inside of them, somehow my just became fatter and affected the way I perceived the world more), who never allowed me just to accept that 2X2=4. I am not sure why, I could never just take something as a universal law. Maybe this feature of mine will lead me to greatness, maybe it will make me a homeless unemployed man – who knows, I wish to hope for the first option, however, I have always been told that if I don’t learn to accept something as an axiom, I will not make a lot of money later in life.
I forgive those who told me that. I teach, instead, questioning everything. The truth lies in a question, particularly in the question posed not for the sake of finding an answer, but for the purpose of the question itself. Now, how does that relate to space, you might want to ask me. When I was 16, I spent Christmas in Maryland, USA with a biochemist who had a huge telescope. This telescope was the reason why I couldn’t fall asleep at nights. I kept thinking about it, what I could see through it and tried to put my confidence together so I can actually come up to the scientist and ask him to put the telescope up so we can observe the sky at night. I did it and it was amazing. I saw Jupiter, saw the Moon, saw various stars, I will never forget the magnificence of Mars. This was the moment when I understood that space matters to me just as much as anything else in life. Space is about discovering what surrounds you. I believe that this is one of the most important questions we are to resolve. And this is right the case where the answer is not as important as the question itself.
I always had this theory that the area of one’s impact grows accordingly to the development of an individual in local terms and the development of humanity in a bit more global context. Just remember that it used to take more than 1 year to cross the whole globe of ours just 150 years ago at least. And now it’s just the matter of hours. It will inevitably come to the moment when travelling to the Moon will be the matter of hours. Mars, so many places space-wide will become usual destinations. You call me a hopeless dreamer, but I am not the only one. Instead, we all are dreamers. Yes, we are.
I remember well, the drive down the highway the morning after we observed the sky with the scientist. I couldn’t stop looking at the blue morning sky thinking about how little we yet know about the world and about ourselves. Since that morning I know that space belongs to me. And it belongs to you as well. You might have not yet discovered it, so here is my honest confession to you. Everyone has something for him or herself in the topic of space. And I invite you to step up to the great adventures that await you out there! Be the space explorer now – there is no need to fly out there. Be interested in space, read about space, listen about space, talk about space. And do turn your head up to see the sky full of stars. Because they shine just for you.
Written by: Ilya Vadimovich Kursenko
Ilya Vadimovich Kursenko is the Advisory Board Member for Voyager Space Outreach.