almost every day we see something in the papers about the latest exciting developments in the space race. photographs are regularly flashed to the earth from thousands and even millions of miles away. they are printed in our newspapers and shown on our television screens as a visible proof of man s newest achievements. the photographs neatly sum up the results of these massive efforts to conquer space and at the same time they expose the absurdity of the undertaking. all we can see is an indistinguishable blob which is supposed to represent a planet seen from several thousand miles away. we are going to end up with a little moon-dust and few stones which will be put behind glass in some museum. this is hardly value for money when you think that our own earth can provide countless sights which are infinitely more exciting and spectacular.
the space race is not simply the objective search for knowledge it is often made out to be. it is just an extension of the race for power on earth. only the wealthiest nations can compete and they do so in the name of pure scientific research. but in reality, all they are interested in is power and prestige. they want to impress us, their spectators, with a magnificent show of strength. man has played the power game ever since he appeared on earth. now he is playing it as it has never been played before. the space race is just another aspect of the age-old argument that might is right .we are often told that technological know-how, acquired in attempting to get us into orbit, will be utilized to make life better on earth. but what has the space race done to relieve the suffering of the earth s starving millions? in what way has it raised the standard of living of any one of us? as far as the layman is concerned, the practical results of all this expenditure of money and effort are negligible. thanks to space research, we can now see television pictures transmitted live half-way across the globe and the housewife can use non-stick frying-pans in the kitchen. the whole thing becomes utterly absurd when you think that no matter what problems man overcomes, it is unlikely that he will ever be able to travel even to the nearest star.
poverty, hunger, disease and war are man s greatest enemies and the world would be an infinitely better place if the powerful nations devoted half as much money and effort to these problems as they do to the space race. for the first time in his history, man has the overwhelming technological resources to combat human suffering, yet he squanders them on meaningless pursuits.
if a man deprived himself and his family of food in order to buy and run a car, we would consider him mad. individuals with limited budgets usually get their priorities right: they provide themselves with necessities before trying to obtain luxuries. why can t great nations act in the same sensible way? let us put our house in order first and let space look after itself.