Space: The Final Frontier?
by Warwick Lloyd, Form VI
3 min. read — November 16, 2022
Jeff Bezos has broken billionaire history by reaching the edges of space with a self-funded rocket ship in under 12 minutes. Not only did he surpass previous record holder Richard Branson’s 282,000 ft. flight, but he also outpaced tech titan Elon Musk in the billionaire race out of the atmosphere.
While we all sat back and made snide comments about yet another disillusioned billionaire wasting his money on bragging rights, this expedition details a significant achievement for space travel and our futures as a whole. Space is no longer the distant idea we long for as we stare into the stars at night. It has become close, scarily close.
The human race has made more technological advancements in the last century than it has in the rest of the combined scope of human history. Every year, it seems, a new iPhone is out on shelves, offering a new, but fairly insignificant, upgrade for those willing to buy it at its exuberant fees. Within a few years, that brand new iPhone will have already become old news, available at relatively low prices at discount stores across the country. It still functions the exact same, but our own advancements have far exceeded the features it has to offer.
When the first computers came out, they were huge machines: bulky, slow, and extremely expensive. Now you can buy a high functioning laptop in Walmart for a couple hundred dollars. We have hit the beginning of the J-curve for human technological growth, and it doesn't seem like it is going to stop anytime soon. How long until those distant stars stand before our very eyes? Now that may seem to be a little bit of an exaggeration, but if space travel, like almost every other form of technology, becomes more and more accessible, we may see ourselves up at the edge of the atmosphere within the turn of the century.
The next step from there is the Moon, or Mars, or perhaps Europa - some other semi-hospitable planet on which we may make our mark. If we look back at the situation we currently face on Earth, we can see that climate change is a snowball rapidly approaching the point where we can no longer stop it. Right now, if humanity as a whole were to devote time, money, and energy to fixing our current situation, we might begin to make some progress. But the moment the world relives the 1969 craze, the moment the world even momentarily turns its eyes on the stars above, the Earth is doomed. That monumental flight was so insignificant in the grand scheme of things, yet a century from now we may stare back and recognize it as the straw that broke the camel's back. And that is hilarious.
The universe is a huge place, and humanity has only just begun to make its mark on it. What lies to the future only the future will be able to tell. We may look to the past, look to patterns, but the whims of humanity are indifferent to history. Whether we look back upon this orb from above or continue to gaze up at the stars wondering if life will ever reach its final destination; only time will tell.