The Great Debt

Space Exploration and Climate Action

A reprint from 2 years ago

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 here on Earth.

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

Others 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 action 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 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 into space, now must also lead us in being human. No easy task.

Black Lives Matter.

Don’t believe it? Need proof? On landing a probe autonomously on Mars, NASA sought out the best engineering possible. They needed communication in real-time. They relied on a young woman of colour from French-Canada, Farah Alibay. MarCO 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 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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