As of today, July 20 has been a special day for humanity for 43 years. It marks, of course, the moment that Apollo 11 landed on the moon. It marks the moment that humanity experienced what it would be like to become a multi-planet species. It marks a moment when human courage and ingenuity showed us what we could do if we worked together toward a transcendent goal.
A Personal Reminiscence
The United States' Apollo 11 made history on July 20, 1969 when it became the first manned mission to land on the Moon. At that time, I was serving as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand. My job was in Community Development, building small dams and bridges in remote villages in Northeast Thailand. My fellow volunteers were stationed in various locations and rarely saw another American, but we were blessed to experience the beautiful Thai village culture before electricity brought the irrevocable changes resulting from the impact of television and other modern amenities. As a result, none of us saw any of the moon landings outside of grainy newspaper photos, although we were very excited about it and had great pride in our nationʼs accomplishment.
Part I: The Vision
Adapted from the book Free Space — Real Alternatives for Reaching Outer Space, Loompanics, 1995
Space exploration and development is exciting! It is easy to become absorbed in the details, the discoveries, the adventure, and forget why we began such a quest in the first place. If we are ever to become a spacefaring civilization, it is imperative to understand the minutiae, the nuts and bolts of how it is done. It is, however, no less important to examine why we human beings want to go, what we intend to accomplish, what our hopes and dreams are upon achieving our goals.
Both NASA and new private space companies argue that they will inspire a new generation of science and engineering students. Since the stated goal of space leaders is the establishment of space settlements, many other skills and disciplines will be needed, requiring new specialties and training for the unique working and living conditions of any space settlement. While both NASA and recent private space companies are encouraging science and engineering students, neither is widening the public or educational call for this entire range of settlement needs. Since shifting educational systems and reviving lost cultural space awareness will take time, bringing the Overview Effect to the public space debate will provide inspiration and imagination for a New Space age to the entire culture.
In 1776, a group of 56 men came together and took a huge risk, pledging their "lives, fortunes, and sacred honor" to a "Declaration of Independence" by the 13 American colonies from Great Britain.
In 2008, a smaller group of 22 men and women came together (virtually, in some instances) in Washington, D.C., and made a commitment to a "Declaration of Interdependence," also known as the Overview Declaration, which established the Overview Institute.