For a couple of years now, there has been a lot of talk about the super rich funding their own space programs in order to boldly go where only those with years of training, teams of scientists backing them, and a nationally sponsored program have been able to go before; space.  Sadly with N.A.S.A. losing a lot of its funding, the best alternative is for our space program to fall into the hands of a few extremely rich geeks and thrill seekers who want to ride their money all the way out into space.

Well, it seems the time is fast approaching where the rich and powerful will soon be able to see what it is like to break away from the earth’s gravitational pull and experience the majesty and awe inspiring infinity that is space…. and then  market it to the rest of us. Last Thursday the V.S.S. Enterprise, yes, it is named after that particular Enterprise, completed its’ maiden test flight with crew. For the complete story look here.

In reality I am of two minds on this particular story, on one hand I’m worried that the future of space exploration and possibly colonization will eventually be in the hands of private companies or worse, private individuals. Maybe it’s the years of repeatedly being told that private companies in space only lead to really really bad decisions; AlienAliensAvatar. Yes, they are only movies, but movies are generally based on repeated archetypes throughout history. So, the concept of large corporations sacrificing anything and anyone to get what they think is theirs is common enough. Add to this the difficult nature of governing and regulating something out in space, could also add to my discomfort. Or maybe it is the sense of elitism that seems to go along with any venture where only the extremely rich are allowed to enjoy the fruits of this particular tree. In any event my concerns are mostly based on a far-reaching future that more than likely I will not be around to see. Still, my concern is valid in my opinion.

Now, as I said, I’m of two minds on this matter, so on the flip side of the situation I’m very excited. Truthfully I was born when the zeal of space exploration was beginning to wane, even with the added boost of our finally reaching Mars with out rovers, space exploration has begun to drop off of the national agenda. The problem I think is that because N.A.S.A. has been doing more of the same for the most part and not getting the funding that might allow them to accelerate their progress, the national populace has grown disenchanted with the Space program as it is. In a very simple, but I feel accurate, assessment of people today, we’ve seen too many advances in Terran technology that we used to think only possible in movies, that we are beginning to demand the same progress in our extra terrestrial endeavours, and with out some real financing, this is not going to happen. This is why I am for these Rich entrepeneurs stepping forward to help the waning drive for space.

True, at first only the super rich will be able to enjoy this particular luxury, at 200,000 a pop these rides will either be for the financial élite, or for someone’s last hurrah before they leave this world… in a permanent sense. However, in time the technology they are developing to ferry the rich to the stars, will be improved and expanded upon and the drive for space will be revitalized. And instead of  our youth of today fighting to get a job at one space program, N.A.S.A., they can apply to different companies and get more chances to help create that next step that will take us out into the next generation of space exploration.

I can only hope that the machinations of the rich and powerful will not get in the way, because as worried as I am about the control of humanities space program falling into a few rich individuals hands, I’m even more worried that this new program will fall before it can truly fly, because of investors, Ceo’s, or politicos trying to stop it in order to get their hands on the reigns of what could be the next big industry.

Yes, I missed the real space race, I was not alive to see man’s first steps on the moon, but I have been alive to see humanities imaginations go wild and weave countless stories of exploration and colonization of space. Mine is a generation of dreamers who want to see the stories of our youths made real around us. Why else do you think the ship in this story is named after the star ship U.S.S. Enterprise from the Star Trek franchise? We want to boldly go where no one has gone before. We want to travel space where we can finally be truly free like Malcolm Reynolds in his Serenity. We want to see new words and new civilizations at the side of an excellent guide like The Doctor. True, while all of these characters and worlds are fictional, they still inspire us, and that is what we need; inspiration, real hope that our dreams shaped by our fiction could be achieved in some form or fashion. So that is why I am glad that the V.S.S. Enterprise had a succesful test flight and I wish it many many more, and that’s how I see it.

© David Carl Dobbs and How Dobbs Sees it, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Carl Dobbs and How Dobbs Sees it with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.