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Friday, May 25, 2012

A Baby Step Out of the Cradle

Today, the first non-governmental spacecraft, SpaceX's Dragon, arrived at the International Space Station. Dragon thus takes that next small step for a capsule and a giant leap toward humanity becoming an interplanetary species.

Why is this so significant? The reason is that we are seeing a tidal shift from governmental—and thus non-profit-oriented—development of our presence off-Earth toward a true growth-oriented enterprise. Without growth, eventually all activities in space will be subject to the political whims of nations. But, with a profit-orientation, growth can continue into the solar system and beyond 'til the end of the Universe.

Dragon was captured by the ISS robotic arm as it passed over northwestern Australia. As we build civilization out and away from the cradle planet of Earth, these small steps build up our resilience as a species. Over the course of history, more than 99% of all species on Earth have eventually become extinct. At some point in the unknown future, the human race will become extinct as well if we remain confined solely to our cradle planet. This is not a debatable point because nothing lasts forever even when it comes to single planets (or even single stars, for that matter). Thus, becoming an interplanetary species is probably the most important achievement the human race will ever accomplish and we are well on that path to a brighter future right now.