• Lauren Napier

What Does ‘Spacefaring Civilization’ Mean To Me?

My name is Lauren and I am the Communication Coordinator at the Centre for a Spacefaring Civilization and I am passionate about space or I would not be writing this. You are passionate about space or you would not be reading this. 

Space is a curious environment. It is mystical, unique, and foreboding. If it wasn’t we probably would not have such an extreme fascination with it. For me space has always been a place of potential exploration for answer-seeking and further awareness of who we are and why we are here. It is with awe and wonder that I think of space and what we have achieved in so little time. Space is a place of wonder, dreams and ambition. Instead of looking down at life, we are looking up and out. But back to the main point of why I am writing... let’s take a look at the term ‘spacefaring civilization’.  I hope that many of us feel the way that I do about space. It is probably because so many people do have a sense of wonderment about space that we explore and utilize space in the first place. Yes I know there was a sense of urgency for a power grab of space during the Cold War, a need for prestige, security and control. However, I really believe there is a deeper (and more pleasant) reason for nations and humanity to want to go into space. Deep down we love the thrill of the unknown – we love adventure and exploration. This can be seen with the exploration of the Americas, the Wild West, the high seas, the Antarctic, and the highest peaks. As a student of international relations I know that there is always a political or economic angle to exploration, but there is also this sense of wonderment of the unknown. To me this is what makes a ‘spacefaring civilization’ -- the collection of reasons to explore and utilize the unknown. To be a ‘spacefaring civilization’ doesn’t just mean humanity is flying to (or landing on) an asteroid, Pluto, or again to the Moon or Mars but also to take what space has to offer as an environment and use it to help us here back on Earth. 

It is a hard fact that not every human being will go into space, settle on the Moon, Mars or any other celestial body. So being a ‘spacefaring civilization’ doesn’t just mean civilizing space. It can also mean that we are of an age where being a spacefaring group of people means we are in the epoch of civilization where spacefaring is just as natural as seafaring or journeying over land. We are finding ways to make Earth more civilized than the last generation. And the generation after us will do the same. Space has a plethora of ways it can help civilization back on Earth which adds to the reasons why being a ‘spacefaring civilization’ can be key now and in the future. With satellites today we can provide tele-medicine to people in remote places, track weather and support society during natural disasters with disaster management, and support environmental issues such as sustainability or deforestation with satellite data … just to name a few. 

Overall we are really only at the dawn of the spacefaring age. The future is teeming with technologies, inventions, science and ideas that will only enable us to push forward on more extensive space exploration activities and utilizations. Though today we are just starting out, tomorrow we will truly become a full-blown “spacefaring civilization’ that means not just exploration but settlement on celestial bodies, utilization of space resources, and support for the sustainability of life back on our first home – Earth. 

The opinions expressed in these blogs posts are those of the author and do not represent the views of the Centre for a Spacefaring Civilization or anyone else.

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