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|Quotations about space
There's a fundamental difference, if you look into the future, between a humanity that is a space-faring civilization, that's out there exploring the stars, compared with one where we are forever confined to Earth until some eventual extinction event.
In the visible world, the Milky Way is a tiny fragment; within this fragment, the solar system is an infinitesimal speck, and of this speck our planet is a microscopic dot.
The first principles of the universe are atoms and empty space. The atoms are unlimited in size and number, and they are borne along in the whole universe in a vortex, and thereby generate all composite things -- fire, water, air, earth. For even these are conglomerations of given atoms.
By convention there is color, by convention sweetness, by convention bitterness, but in reality there are atoms and space.
Apart from an understanding of the solar system as a whole, it is becoming clear that information about any planet or satellite illuminates our knowledge of the others. In particular, if we are to understand the Earth, we must have a comprehensive knowledge of the other planets.
In the beginning there was an explosion. Not an explosion like those familiar on earth, starting from a definite center and spreading out to engulf more and more of the circurmambient air, but an explosion which occurred simultaneously everywhere, filling all space from the beginning, with every particle of matter rushing apart from every other particle.
It is difficult beyond description to conceive that space can have no end; but it is more difficult to conceive an end. It is difficult beyond the power of man to conceive an eternal duration of what we call time; but it is more impossible to conceive a time when there shall be no time.
And I want to say something to the school children of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's take-off. I know it's hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them.
If this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything, it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space.
Space. . .is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly hugely mindbogglingly big it is. I mean you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space.
I think we are in a little bit of a moon race even if no one admits it publicly. China has met good on every one of their promises when they said, "We're going to put an astronaut, a taikonaut into orbit." They did that. They're going to build a space station, they're doing that. And so they want to say, declare they want to go to the moon, we should really take them seriously. If we feel threatened by that in any way, this is the kind of response that that triggers. That's why we went to the moon in the first place. Our cleansed memory of that period is, "Oh we're Americans and we're explorers." Well, we were in the middle of a Cold War, and we got scared when Russia, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, and we had to respond in some way for our own dignity, for our own place in the world. So a lot of things drive space exploration beyond just scientific motives.
President Reagan suddenly said to me, 'What would you do if the United States were suddenly attacked by someone from outer space? Would you help us?' I said, 'No doubt about it.'
To our knowledge, life exists on only one planet, Earth. If something bad happens, it's gone. I think we should establish life on another planet -- Mars in particular -- but we're not making very good progress. SpaceX is intended to make that happen.
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