That’s a different and rather unexpected response! When it comes to “the nature of the death of consciousness”, you may be interested in an article I published not long ago.

Your response seems to address the overall viability of the psychology of the human animal, but I must admit I take a rather more mercenary view. Looking back over history, there is one overriding factor almost always present in any nation’s support of and funding for exploration: profit (and, to a lesser extent, expansion of power). There have been many times that humankind’s reason for exploration has been “because it’s there”, but outside certain notable exceptions like that of the space race, state-supported exploration has been about profit.

Note that I keep saying “state-supported”. There have been countless explorations by individuals or small groups to see what’s on the other side of the mountain, or what lies beyond the horizon of the sea. But major expeditions normally cost too much for individuals or groups to afford.

For instance, the expedition of Christopher Columbus was state-funded, and was about profit. So were the voyages around the Cape of Good Hope, and the voyage of Magellan. Look at the expansion of the Mongols in the 1200’s: profit and power. Same goes with the great Chinese treasure fleets of Admiral Zheng He in the 1400’s: profit. So with the Spanish conquistadors who essentially committed genocide in South and Central America; after all, does anyone really think the Spanish would have kept colonizing the region if they couldn’t have extracted the vast profit of gold as they did?

So it goes with exploration into space today. In addition to the plethora of communications satellites that litter Near Earth Orbit, there are even now serious efforts being put together to initiate the age of mining rare-earth minerals on asteroids. If a buck can be made on the exploration of space, someone will try to do it. Elon Musk is (IMO) likely to fail in his intent to colonize Mars, but as time goes on, someone will do so.

That, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that just as command of the skies has been crucial in every war since WWI, command of space will be every bit as crucial in future conflicts.

As long as we don’t destroy ourselves (or ruin our planet’s ability to sustain large-scale human civilization), we will go to space…as long as we can make a buck by doing so.

Written by

Retired Navy. Inveterate contrarian. If I haven’t done it, I’ve usually done something close.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store