By: Nicole Willett
I could start this article off with a plethora of statistics and facts about how poorly we are doing in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects in the US. But we all know how poorly our performance has been for several decades. The fault lies with everyone, not one group of people (ex: teachers or parents) or one political party. We must all bear the responsibility for the downfall of the scientific literacy in our country. We have all been let down and we are letting our children down. They have been promised a bright future full of endless possibilities, such as space exploration, humans to Mars, and to the stars.
Our culture values possessions over knowledge. Where has our passion for exploration gone? When did we become satisfied with things instead of educating our children and ourselves to become a better civilization? We are quickly becoming IDIOCRACY instead of INTERSTELLAR. We have the tools for exceptional accomplishments. The ability and the knowledge are available. What is wrong with our culture? We are eating ourselves from the inside out. We are picking political sides as if they were our favorite NFL team. We side with them for their jersey color, not what they really stand for or accomplish. We must stop, think, and seriously ponder about what we are doing to our world. We must disidentify with our “team” and decide what the best course for humanity is. The course we are on has a dismal ending.
Money and possessions are a façade. Civilization is a reality. We are choosing the outcome of our reality by teaching our children to value materialism. Few treasure truly tangible things such as education, inspiration, and exploration. It is imperative that our culture shift gears. We are destroying our planet, and with climate deniers at the helm of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which will put them in charge of climate policy, we are in a bleak state. We may not be meant to stay on Earth, but we are meant to care for her.
I am grateful for those of us who have made it our life’s mission to educate and inspire others to explore. Unfortunately we are too few. When I read the National Geographic article in 1988 titled, Mission to Mars, it changed my life in an instant. We were supposed to have humans on Mars by 1996. It is now 18 years later and we have made little progress. Thanks to incredibly imaginative and entrepreneurial people like Elon Musk, CEO-SpaceX, Dennis Tito, Founder-Inspiration Mars, and Bas Lansdorp, Co-founder-Mars One, we have a chance to send humans to Mars. Please help inspire young people to get back to who we truly are as humans, explorers not consumers.
I long for my children, and yours, to live in a world where the possibilities are endless, where each child has a true chance to grow up and obtain a STEM degree and know that they will truly make a difference in the world and on other worlds in our solar system and others. We must take humanity to Mars as a bridge to the stars.
[Images: The Mars Society, Inspiration Mars, NatGeo]