The Story of Humanity’s Effort to Conquer Space

The history of mankind could be given the title: The Story of Humanity’s Efforts to Conquer Space.

Chapter One: With water and food being our most basic needs, our earliest ancestors were wont to live by rivers. I bet it didn’t take long for one of them to look across a river and say, “I want that.” And some man or woman was the first to learned to swim and made their way across the river to stake their claim.

Of course, meanwhile back at base camp, others decided that they too wanted the land across the river and that is when we first learn to go to war.

Chapter Two: Next Came a Mountain and What Was on the Other Side.

Chapter Three: Then There was an Ocean.

Chapter Four: The Race to the Moon!

Chapter Five: Mars is a Must!

But in each chapter there was one basic problem…time. You simply can’t separate space from time.

Man started out at the pace of walking (or swimming). But to gain more space he figured out how to ride animals and built boats. But when that became too slow he figured out how to make a wagon/chariot and hook up several horses to it in order to go even faster (and coined the phrase “horsepower”).

But to conquer even more space required more speed and we invented the steam engine, the gasoline engine, rocket fuel, nuclear fuel, and on it goes.

In the process we can travel faster than sound but still we long for more speed because to keep staking our claim to more and more space we most travel even faster.

For example:

The Apollo 11 mission to the moon averaged 2040 miles per hour and took four days.

NASA’s Perseverance Project, a 300 million mile mission to Mars, departed Earth at a speed of about 24,600 mph and took seven months.

The closest star to our planet is Proxima Centauri which is 4.24 million light-years away which means to get there in the spring of 2026 we’d have to travel at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second).

Let’s leave the edge of our own little galaxy, the Milky Way (950,000 light years away) or the next closest galaxy, the Andromeda galaxy (2.5 million light years away) off the table for now.

Let’s just stay with the little star across the pond–Proxima Centauri. I bet there’s a good chance that right now some relative of that first human who looked across that first river is looking through a telescope at Proxima Centauri and tinkering with ideas on how to travel at the speed of light.

“Technical civilization is man’s conquest of space. It is a triumph frequently achieved by sacrificing an essential ingredient of existence, namely, time. — The Sabbath (FSG Classics) by Abraham Joshua Heschel

But I wonder…

Were we intentionally created with limitations?

Are limitations a bad thing?

This I know, there are some things so precious and vital that you can’t rush them.

For example, if you’re just looking for an infusion of quick calories, you can down a coke and burger in only a few seconds. But if you are looking for more than just calories (something that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom)…say a meaningful meal with a lover or friend or your family, it’s going to require you to slowwwww down.

Bottom line…

The ONE THING for today: Much of my time is spent trying to encourage and challenge people to grow and explore and be all that they can be. But life is about balance, and sometimes wisdom is knowing your limitations and more importantly, why they are there.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

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