Earthlings Unite: Space Awaits!

Look Ma. No borders!

Earth: Blue Marble. Credit: NASA

Earth: Blue Marble. Credit: NASA

Can you see a single border in this image of Earth from space?

Our human and robotic space travelers find no evidence from above of lines separating nations. What seems to define who we are — our national identities — means nothing to Mother Earth. She could care less.

Man created borders. Man created national identities. Man created kingdoms and governments, hierarchies and flags.

Man can set borders aside, if we choose. You know how this works. If we think the effort is worthy, humanity comes together to address the problem. “We are the World,” after all.

Truly global issues transcend passports and border crossings. Global poverty requires our attention. Global sustainability requires our attention. Global knowledge about what’s outside our friendly atmosphere? That requires global cooperation as well. (I know, many of you don’t agree that space is worth our while, or our pocketbooks. Please allow that some of us believe it is.)

No single country can afford to foot the bill required for bold new human excursions beyond low Earth orbit — as we’ve seen here in the U.S. as NASA’s budget is debated in Congress and living rooms and social media. Most NASA missions already include international cooperation to reach success. Look at the International Space Station. 15 countries came together to build this amazing engineering marvel over the last decade — piece by piece IN space.

Space Station demonstrated humanity’s ability to peacefully bridge political, cultural, and technical divides — against all odds.

International Space Station over Earth. Credit:NASA

Space Station over Earth. Credit:NASA

Space brought together former political enemies into peaceful partnership.

Maybe it’s time we do this again, but on a truly global stage. What if we form an Earth Space Organization — like the European Space Agency, but for all space-faring nations. And why not, I ask you? Look at all the nations with a hand in “space” from across our planet.

Algeria Argentina Austria Australia Azerbaijan

Bangladesh Belgium Bhutan Brazil Brunei Bulgaria

Canada Cambodia China Colombia Czech Republic

Denmark Ecuador Egypt Finland France Germany

Greece Hungary India Indonesia Iran Ireland Israel

Italy Japan Kazakhstan Laos Luxembourg Malaysia

Mexico Mongolia Morocco Myanmar Nepal Netherlands

New Zealand Nigeria North Korea Norway Pakistan Peru

Poland Portugal Republic of China (Taiwan) Romania Russia

Saudi Arabia Singapore South Korea Spain Sri Lanka (2010)

Sweden Switzerland Thailand Tunisia Turkey Ukraine

United Kingdom United States Uruguay Venezuela Vietnam

Don’t quote me on this list. I wiki-ed it. I know South Africa is missing. (I didn’t have a tiny flag to add them.) Could be others. You can go to the United Nations United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space for a list of members willing to cooperate. My point:

With so many nations involved with space endeavors, why not pool our resources and work together — as Citizens of Planet Earth.

"The Public Face of Space" ISU symposium.I spoke at the “Public Face of Space” Symposium at the International Space University in Strasbourg, France. In answering a question, I speculated that our planet would form a world space organization within the next ten years. Those in the audience — eager young international students with a passion for space — will be the ones to make this happen, if it happens (which I truly believe it will). The rest of us are comfy with our national space agency badges.

Change WILL happen. We just have to be hungry enough to render the status quo unacceptable.

So here’s how I see it working: each country coming into the Planet Earth Space Enterprise (P.E.S.E…pronounced peace) would bring their national assets to the table. Based on the value of the hardware assets and intellectual property contributions, their membership gets a weighted vote. The more the member country contributes, the more influence the member country wields. (I already see the negotiations over how assets are valued. Another problem for another day.)

I keep hearing the Beatles singing “Come Together” as I write this. And so we should — come together. If we all brought our assets to the table and worked as true partners (no exchange of funds), it wouldn’t matter who had what heavy-lift capability, would it? (Though it might matter to commercial entities wanting a piece of the pie.)

You know, of course, none of this is up to me.

I’m not in a position to make any of this happen. I’m merely dreaming out loud, sprinkling my dream-dust into the cosmos where all other ideas sparkle and glitter and light up the night sky. Who knows, maybe this little idea will get a real name someday.

Earthlings unite! Space awaits.

Sun glints off Space Station solar arrays. Credit:NASA

Sun glints off Space Station solar arrays. Credit:NASA

1 Comment

Filed under culture, Earth, federal government, leadership, NASA, space

One response to “Earthlings Unite: Space Awaits!

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