A small step for man ...

Curiosity is as old as humankind. Ever since humans exist, they want to explore the world they are living in. They want to reach the “Edge of the World” to see what’s beyond it, even if it puts their lives in great danger.


Many conquerers and explorers left their harbors and sailed the seas without having an idea where they are going not to mention whether they will survive. Many of them died at sea, but - as we know today - nobody died of falling off the “Edge of the World”.

At some stage it became clear that the world we are living in is a sphere rather than a plate - and soon after, the big conquer of the limited space on this sphere began. Colonialism shaped more than a Century of our history and drove the explorers to every single spot of this world. Every possible species was examined, every territory mapped and every finding studied.

At some stage however, the discovery of the world came to a stall. This must have been around the time, when mapping and navigation was being practiced at such a high sophistication, that the whole world as it looks like could be explained - or at least kind of overviewed.

Needless to say that the fundamentally deep curiosity does not cease at that stage. Something else has to be found. And if it’s not the Earth, surely, it must be Space.

The exploration of space goes back to the times when the first optical telescopes were probably built by the Assyrians with crystal lenses. But exploring space is not like observing space - and thus, as soon as it was possible, research focused on how to leave the planet. This research had been catalyzed by the fact that two competing nations were racing each other for the superiority in space. Not only because of military or strategic interests - but since nobody knew what could be expected out there also for “space colonialism” - or at least to move the research forward in case there should be a point in colonizing space.

During the Cold War, the race for space was in full swing and could only be stopped once the Iron Curtain fell and partly by the Challenger disaster in 1986. Ever since, space exploration had become more steady and the focus shifted from military and explorationary interests to more fundamental research.

But I think, those are not the only reasons why space exploration calmed down a bit. One often underestimated reason is also the discovery of a new space: The “virtual” space called Internet. There is a lot of work ahead for the explorers of the Internet, a truly infinite and timeless n-dimensional space.

PS: The Roundhouse in Camden, London showed an interesting exhibition called “Space Soon - Art and Human Spaceflightwhich I was attending.

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