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Project Vision 21

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“Nobody will ever want to go to space anymore!”

I recently shared on social media a story about the beginning of civil and commercial space flights, including flights for tourists, a historic moment for space travel. Almost immediately, someone responded: “But a rocket just exploded. No one will ever want to go into space anymore! "

But is it really so? Just because an experimental SpaceX rocket exploded, is no one going to want to go into space anymore? Obviously, the argument is meaningless. Throughout the history of the so-called "space race" there were numerous explosions and loss of life, including Apollo 1 (1967) and the Challenger (1986) and Columbia (2003) space shuttles.

Despite that, and perhaps precisely because of the lessons learned after those tragedies (and others in both the United States and Russia), space travel continued and will surely continue.

The absurdity of believing that due to an accident people will no longer be interested in a certain mode of transport is evident when one thinks that, despite the fact that from time to time some airplanes crash, airplanes are still flying. And, if it weren't for the pandemic, those planes would still be full of people to many destinations.

At another level, closer to daily life, few are those who believe that we all should stop using cars due to the many car accidents almost anywhere those vehicles are used. In fact, I believe that, in many cases, the problem is the bad drivers, not the cars themselves.

If we refrained from doing something just because someone had a problem trying to do it (including regrettable loss of life), then we would never do anything. For example, countless ships have sunk throughout history and yet even today ships continue to be built and used.

But perhaps the most profound paralyzing effect of a tragedy, of a setback, of a failure is to paralyze us to the point of preventing us from seeing a future different from the present. The world of what we can do is a ridiculously small world. 

In his famous speech on September 12, 1962, President John Kennedy said, "We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."

Precisely when facing difficulties or challenges (real or created by our imagination) we begin to know our own limits and, for that very reason, we learn to overcome them. Suddenly, what seemed impossible ceases to be. The unattainable is now reached. The dream comes true. But not because it is easy.

After all, if it were only for a matter of ease and simplicity, we would never leave childhood (maybe not even the cradle) and we would live our whole lives waiting for someone to feed us, take care of us, and protect us. But that eternal childhood (increasingly common in our days, unfortunately) is not life, but a mere perpetuation of immaturity.

In short, life is not easy, but that doesn’t mean it is not worth living it.

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