2011 – A human odissey

Having been the launch of the last SST mission confirmed today, I thought it would be a great moment to put this achievement into perspective.

I have to say, prior to any other consideration, that I’m obsessed with space since I knew I was myself. If I just would have been born in the States (U.S.A. I mean) or in the U.S.S.R., I’m sure I would have chased a career as an astronaut.

The video of  Space Shuttle “Endeavour” docked to the ISS from NASA Multimedia archive, is astounding. I never thought I would be able to see such a manoeuvre actually happening, out from a science-fiction movie.

Lately, I’ve been reading Theodore Adorno texts, one of them called ” Reason and Revelation”, as a contrast between the rational and the mystic sides of human societies, and the tension between scientific knowledge and religious and spiritual beliefs. Followed by another titled “Progress” in which Adorno explores the actual meaning and status of human progress in society as a whole.

The conception of how society moves forward as a whole, is 100% connected to events like the one I’m bringing to discussion.Its’ undeniable technical progress is definitely not automatically transmitted into social progress, since they are contemporary to the fact that vast sectors of inhabitants in the world are doomed to a struggle for a life, every single day. And many of them, fail to succeed.

The questions that arise in my mind, and let me stress again I’m extremely keen on space exploration, space travel and investigation, are:

  • Who is getting benefits from this enterprise and challenge?
  • What are the true objectives that back all this investment in research and technology, since purely scientific reasons seem quite weak to me, at times when social welfare is being cut as any other industrial cost, public health is considered to be a waste of money, and education is finally bound to private corporations aims.
  • What proportion does NASA budget represent, in relation to other priorities?
  • Which is exactly, the strategy followed by NASA and USA government? How do they plan to share achievements and results with the rest of the scientific communities?
  • How can we sustain the idea of such a technological cutting edge and, at the same time, strongly state that Democracy cannot be quickly transformed or improved for the sake of the great majority of world population?
  • Is there any chance for evolution of human society to be more evenly spread, instead of allowing so few of us to be so advanced and so many desperately sentenced to poverty and starvation?

I’d find difficult to accept, admittedly at an intuitive level, that the funds spent in space research are just “peanuts”.

I know, we could also argue that there has always been poverty in the world, that these matters have always been present in human societies, but globalization should have an impact not only in terms of commerce becoming more and more fluid between countries, or how easy Information Technology turns flow of information and consequently, any financial or economical transaction.

Seeing the world from a 400km high orbit, surrounding the globe once every 40 minutes, should not only be objective and scientific data. These facts should also have an impact in our awareness and decision making about modeling our targets, our purposes.

In Society as a whole.

 

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