Happy New Year.... at least, we hope so.
2014 has been a pretty rough year on planet Earth hasn't it?
One of the things that has inspired me in 2014 has been scientific advancements beyond our atmosphere: from the continued work on the International Space Station, to Curiosity's exploits on Mars and Philea's historic bumpy landing on an asteroid - surely the stuff of science fiction!
Yet I know that there are some, even my closet friends and family who, faced with the terrible things that are happening on our planet, do not see the merit in space exploration, believing instead we should focus our efforts on fixing our planet before boldly going where no one has gone before.
There's merit in this to be sure. In the wonderful words of Carl Sagan, "We, who cannot even put our own planetary home in order, riven with rivalries and hatreds; are we to venture out into space?"
Above: short and sweet film from Shut Up Infinity about the fallacy of not supporting space exploration
In spite of this, I find great joy and inspiration in our international cooperation for space exploration. For at least (for now), the beckoning universe is owned by no political leader, no country, no religious doctrine. Perhaps then, only in our galactic accomplishments can we finally cooperate as the planet we are and do what we were always meant to do:
"For all its material advantages, the sedentary life has left us edgy, unfulfilled...The open road still softly calls... Maybe it's a little early. Maybe the time is not quite yet. But those other worlds-- promising untold opportunities--beckon." - Carl Sagan, The Pale Blue Dot