Int. Academy of Astronautics Home European Space Agency

I believe that space activities are impacting society through…
.....first, and foremost, their influence on children.

Human spaceflight is the most fascinating of all human activity. I would bet that the large majority of children today worldwide would choose to watch a space launch in person rather than see any sporting event or other attraction. And, they truly can aspire to travel in space.

The children of today will determine the future of society. They will not be denied their destiny to be the first generation with personal access to spaceflight and for their chosen emissaries to personally explore Mars. In addition to these very personal and realistic aspirations of children, we are all on the threshold of mindboggling discoveries of earth-like planets with intelligent life orbiting nearby stars.

At most, these revelations should be no more than a decade or two away when we emplace our super-powerful space telescopes at the Sun-Earth-Lagrange (Libration) Point Number 2 one and one-half million kilometers away from Earth directly opposite the Sun. From this vantage point we will have unobstructed, clear, disturbance-free views into the Universe.

In the meanwhile, the ongoing and future explorations by the Earth’s robotic spacecraft at the planets and throughout our solar system will continue to fascinate us with discovery and getting us closer and closer to answering the most fundamental of all questions: “How did we get here and what will eventually happen to us?” These robotic spacecraft--now principally sent by Europe, the United States, and Japan--give us all the real context of our very humble place in the Universe.

Beyond the knowledge gained and our delightful robotic touring of our neighboring planets, there continues, of course, the very real spins-off’s of space-driven technology into all our earthly pursuits from medical procedures unimaginable just a decade ago to tremendous power amplification of what many call music today.

Dr. William John O'Neil
Galileo Project Mgr
JPL - (retired)

Professional Category: Engineering


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