Is space travel worth risking life?

RETURN TO THE MOON: IS SPACE TRAVEL WORTH RISKING YOUR LIFE?

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Bart Howard wrote, “Fly Me to the Moon” in 1954. A decade later, Frank Sinatra made the song timeless. It took a few years for the space travel metaphor of amorous euphoria to be transformed into a true victory for civilization.

Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the surface of the Moon in 1969, during the Apollo 11 mission. But after Gene Cernan finished his 3-hour moonwalk in 1972 (Apollo 17), people have not returned to the Earth satellite.

The 21st century has seen new dawn in space exploration. Enabled by billionaires like Richard Branson, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos, the timeline of space travel continues in an era of space tourism.

In other words (to quote Sinatra), even civilians can now become astronauts. Suborbital flights, visits to the International Space Station, space flights from Earth to the Moon, or even permanent relocation to Mars, have been some of the previously filled wish lists to “see Paris” or ‘walking on the Chinese Wall’.

But going down in space travel history comes at an astronomical price (pun intended). Who can afford to play among the stars and see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars? Is space just the new playground for the rich? The lyrics to “Fly Me to the Moon” in the real-life of billionaires?

The interest of the general public is always above its paying level, with promotional gimmicks promising free entry to the space.

Money isn’t the only currency to charge for the unique experience of leaving Earth, anyway. There are far more valuable resources to lose on the journey. Any aspiring astronaut should consider the maximum price to pay for travel: is space travel worth risking your life?

REGISTER TO RISK YOUR LIFE

I decided to apply for one of these civilian space missions. Unlike the astronauts of yesteryear, you didn’t need to be a pilot or have a special degree to be eligible. So I tried.

After pre-registration, I was invited to a first screening. I had to provide some basic personal information, some pictures, and answer some questions that illustrate my passions and visions about how the space adventure was going to change everything.

They also asked about the number of friends and followers on social media. I guess you should take advantage of free space travel with monetizable influence stats.

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I did my best to fly away, but Croatia will still have to wait for its first astronaut in space! – planet Earth viewed from space, 3d render of planet Earth, elements of this image provided by NASA

Although I did not make it to the interview and medical review phase, the terms, and conditions of the selection process were clear from the beginning. They reminded me at least twice of the seriousness of what I was signing up for.

I had to confirm that I fully understand and acknowledge that “participation in space flight and its preparatory activities is inherently dangerous and involves risks to life and health”, and that I take full responsibility for it.

I don’t even know how to fly a plane, but of course, why not take full responsibility for getting the rocket into space and bringing it safely back to Earth?

Transferring life-threatening space travel insurance to the passenger’s account makes perfect sense. Commercial spaceflight operators recognize that human life is expendable and invaluable.

ELON MUSK: SPACE TRAVEL PIONEERS VOLUNTEER FOR PROBABLE DEATH

On April 22nd, 2021 (Earth Day), Elon Musk sat down to speak with Peter Diamandis about the future of humanity and the importance of becoming a multi-planetary species.

The cat’s Livestream sees Musk barefoot laughing at the idea that flying to Mars would be an “escape route for the rich.” The argument? Well, the journey is dangerous.

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The first “Starman” Elon Musk sent into the Solar System was a contemporary version of a crash test dummy driving a Tesla car

He compared the trip to Mars to an expedition to Antarctica in the early 20th century, recalling the advertisement that explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton allegedly placed in The Times.

Although it was debunked as an urban myth, the story goes that the content of the ad read: “Men wanted for a dangerous journey, small pay, freezing cold, long months of total darkness, danger. Constant, safe and questionable return. , honor “. and recognition in case of success.

Legend has it that 5,000 men answered the call.

Back on Elon Musk’s space flight to Mars.

“It is dangerous, it is uncomfortable, it is a long journey. You may not even come back alive! But it is a glorious adventure and it will be an incredible experience,” said the CEO of SpaceX, not forgetting to laugh. “Yes, honestly, a group of people will probably die at first. We will not send anyone. Only volunteers.

ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN

One million people volunteered to test SpaceX Starship on the first private space flight around the moon. The financier of the dear moon civilian mission, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, would only choose the lucky eight to become his fellow travelers.

This is just one of the space tours that have recently gained worldwide attention. And they all have something in common. The flight into space in the 21st century is made possible by inequalities in global wealth.

Just as the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union fueled the first era of space exploration, the chapter on civilian space travel is made possible by competition from the wealthiest people on the planet. A small step for the man has become a small step for the entrepreneur.

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The only chance for Keisha Schahaff to become the first Caribbean astronaut was to play Richard Branson’s lottery. The project Space for Humanity by Virgin Galactic and Omaze hopes to democratize space travel

The world’s first space tourist was Dennis Tito. He paid $ 20 million to spend a week on the International Space Station in 2001. Inspired by Yuri Gagarin‘s space travel in 1961, he never regretted paying “the best time of his life.”

At the time, NASA was not interested in transporting private people into space. Everyone was looking for Space Adventures, the US space travel agency organizing a trip to the ISS aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

The price the first space tourists had to pay has increased over time. For example, video game developer Richard Garriot paid $ 30 million in 2008 and Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte received $ 35 million in 2009.

But the rich have also taken action. Billionaires’ race into space has never been more evident than in July 2021. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos flew in Blue Origin‘s New Shepard rocket on July 20. Richard Branson beat him by experiencing minutes of weightlessness on the Virgin Galactic spaceflight with the Unity spacecraft. only nine days before.

IS SPACE EXPLORATION A WASTE OF MONEY?

“I want to thank all the Amazon employees and all the Amazon customers for paying for all of this,” Bezos said after his 11-minute drive.

It seems that the richest people in the world have never felt the crisis of the coronavirus pandemic. By contrast, Bezos’ wealth increased by $ 86 million.

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Internet was quick to tell jokes about the phallic shape of Blue Origin’s rocket. Is it a subliminal illustration that billionaires are indeed showing off?

In addition to enthusiasts, criticism of the new multi-million dollar hobby is also increasing. Some argue emphatically that space exploration is a waste of money.

In October, David Beasley, director of the UN World Food Program, congratulated Elon Musk on Twitter for making $ 36 billion in a single day. “1/6 of its one-day increase would save 42 million lives knocking on doors because of famine,” said the director of the food agency.

While no man could solve the world’s hunger problem, discussions about taxing the rich grow louder. On the days of global flight suspensions during the pandemic, his rockets tear apart the skies in a historic display of power.

On the other hand, the pandemic, along with the inevitable climate change, is also teaching us how vulnerable we are as a species. Is becoming a multiplanetary civilization the only scenario that can save our future? And how do a high carbon footprint from rockets and the environmental impact of space travel fit into this equation?

The original question for this article was whether space travel was worth risking your life. When we look back, it is not possible to ignore that our lives are already in danger.

TIME ON EARTH IS PRECIOUS

“I have spent my entire career working to extend people’s lives. However, with limited materials and energy on Earth, expanding our reach into space can help humanity continue to prosper.”

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SpaceX advocates for humans becoming a multi-planetary species. Is that our only chance for survival?

These were the words of Glen de Vries, the medical science software developer, before embarking on a suborbital flight of Blue Origin on October 13, 2021. He flew with William Shatner, the famous Captain Kirk of the Star Trek company.

Just a month after his flight into space, de Vries was killed in a plane crash. He piloted a small Cessna and, although he was a certified pilot, his life ended in tragedy.

More than a conclusion that one is risking one’s life by living it, de Vries left us prophetic and hopefully educational words after his flight on Jeff Bezos’ rocket.

“I had this sense of time in my mind starting with the countdown,” said Glen. “I think I took that perspective with me on our planet and in my relationships. The passage of time, like the resources on Earth, seems more valuable when viewed on a broader level.”

MAKING SPACE FOR SPACE TRAVEL

In my youth, I was a sleepwalker. In Croatia, we call this phenomenon mjesečarenje, literally a walk on the moon. And no, it has nothing to do with Michael Jackson.

The power of attraction of the Moon is mythological and real. Through the tides, he makes life possible. We measure time by its cycles. In addition to the months, we also call the first day of the week after the Moon.

The fascination for our closest heavenly neighbor is understandable. Conquering it in the 1960s was just the first step on our space journey. Human curiosity continues for what is beyond our horizons.

My request for a space adventure was a response to an inner need. “Go boldly where no man has gone before” is, to me, a precise definition of what it is to be human.

After revealing my aspirations as an astronaut (or tourist-nautical) to certain colleagues, his gaze went blank. A large question mark was almost tangible in the air. Why would anyone be willing to risk their lives to fly into space?

Human progress is about taking risks, but it prevents most of us from acting. Rationally, it seems unnecessary to survive. It is even intuitive. The one who does not risk his life, is the one who guards it, right?

Also, people often wonder what drives mountaineers to climb mountains. Why are they willing to risk their lives just to be able to claim the top? Its success seems to provoke survival.

Space travel isn’t just another tourist trend for the wealthy and eccentric. The issue of risk here may well be related to the probability of survival. In the long run, in a civilization that is growing and consuming its resources at an unbeatable rate, we all may need more: space.

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