Friday, July 11, 1997
Why go to Mars?
The fascinating pictures and information coming from the Mars Pathfinder have captivated the imagination of the world for the past week. And yet many people are asking why -- what good is spending all that money to vicariously visit another planet, when there are so many needs here on Earth?
Of what “practical” use is it, to explore new worlds? Will we learn a lot of useful things from Mars? Perhaps. But the most important things we learn, are the things we learn in order to get there in the first place. The primary value of exploration lies in the challenge itself.
The reason people climb mountains is not so they can be at the peak and look down. The reason people climb mountains is for the challenge, the learning, the self-discovery and the discipline involved in getting up to the top. Those things are more valuable than any mountain vista could ever be.
The very nature of exploration is such that we cannot know in advance what it will bring us. We explore because of what it makes us. We seek the challenge that exploration sets before us, and we know that opportunity always comes from conquering challenges.
Why go to Mars? Because it is so hard to get there.
Ralph MarstonNobody's looking Possibility
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