Why Space?

I am often asked, “why do you like space stuff so much?” I find this odd for two reasons, (1) liking space “stuff” and science fiction isn’t really all that unique or unusual, and (2) a thriving space industry is part of my career livelihood, so um, duh. All that logic and reasonableness aside, I think the real question people might be asking is “doesn’t it frighten you?” Obviously, I’m taking a leap here, and I invite you to leap with me.

Usually, in a setting that allows for it, after chatting with someone they get right down to it. Space is daunting. Space is scary. It raises all kinds of existential questions that have no real answers and make us – meaning everyone on Earth – feel rather unimportant. So, often, the real question is that: “how can you enjoy that?!”

Let’s dive down that rabbit hole one concern at a time. This has a whole lot more to do with personal philosophy than it does with enjoying aeronautics and cool robots:

Space is daunting:
Yep, and that’s putting it mildly. We are small. So very very very very small. There are two ways to look at this. First, AHHH! OUR LIVES AND PURPOSE ARE MEANINGLESS IN COMPARISON TO THE GREAT EXPANSE OF TIME AND SPACE! Second, my problems aren’t really that big of a deal. I fall into the second category. I find the perspective of being merely a “pale blue dot” (Carl Sagan Shout Out!) rather comforting. Our pain, our strife, our fears are but a small piece in such a bigger puzzle. New beautiful things, endless adventure, endless opportunity is before us.

The expanse of the Universe humbles me.

Seriously, go to that ‘Carl Sagan Shout Out’ link. Makes me cry. Every time.

Space is scary:
Yep, and that’s putting it mildly. It is scary. So very very very very scary. What or who is out there? Are they watching us? Are we alone? Maybe it’s scarier to imagine we really are alone. AHHH! The cycle continues. I find this similar to how I view my spirituality, the unknown is comfort. I find peacefulness in knowing that in all likelihood the answers to all these daunting and scary questions is out of my realm of understanding. The answers may be so big the human mind is simply (currently) unable to even comprehend or conceive of the answers. Isn’t that cool?

A reality that exists beyond our current comprehension? That’s exciting. That’s beautiful. That’s invigorating. That, my friends, is the gift of hope. If we knew all the answers, had every piece of information on lock-down, where do we go from there? For me, the unknown is a place to go to find hope. 

Do we matter?
That’s a personal question. Do we matter in the history of the Universe? I dunno. Does it matter if we matter? Have a cookie.

In Sum
That’s my “why” in regards to the “space question”

…besides the undeniable truth that spaceships and robots are freaking so cool.