The Great Debt, Space Exploration, and Climate Action in 2019

Re-published in series with “RICE UNIVERSITY 1962…”

In the next two decades, humanity will come to a crossroads.  If we take Buzz Aldrin’s advise and “Get our Asses To Mars” AND end humanity’s contributions to Climate Change we have a slim chance.

Or, we perish on Earth.

But in the excitement for Mars settlement; space exploration; and reducing our personal or national carbon footprint we cannot forget what I call, The Great Debt.

Others just call it,  ‘Whitey On The Moon’

Some debts are visible, written traditionally in RED INK . These can easily be counted in dollars and cents.  Some debts are not so visible, but still are important.

In some ways, more important than the visible debt.

If every attempt is not made to pay them back, our future plans for both climate change and space exploration will not happen.

  • The debts I am talking about are those exposed partially in the spoken word and songs of Gil Scott-Heron, who died, impoverished, at the young age of 62 in May, 2011.  Since it is spoken word, the best way to understand this particular debt is not to read it, but to hear it…
  • The debts I am talking about are those exposed partially in the novels and stories about human computers and the film, “Hidden Figures.”
  • The debts I am talking about are those we owe to ourselves, as humans.

The only resolution is for the greatest democracies who must lead us to space, now must also lead us in being human. No easy task.

Black Lives Matter. Don’t believe it?  Need proof?  Wait until to you try landing a space probe autonomously on Mars called InSight and you need to communicate with it in real-time?  You will and already did rely on a young woman of colour from French-Canada.   Perhaps unbeknownst to you…

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 3.39.04 PMMarCO were the twin cubesats launched pre-deployment of InSight that successfully communicated in real-time during the autonomous landing.

Let me end here.  Perhaps you recognize the debts we owe?

I want to thank the Coast Salish Peoples and Musqueam Indian Band for the fine unceded Endowment Lands at the UBC.

I want to thank the generations of African-Americans whose debt is yet to be paid for those years that our country excelled in space exploration and reaching for the stars, but landed only half way there, on the Moon.

I want to thank those generations of women who labored in silences and not-so-silently,  as human computers during World War II (like my Mum), and as human computers with NASA.



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