One of the reasons science fiction has appealed to us as much as it has is that it’s almost always been set in the future and usually involved at least one trip to or a prolonged stay on a planet or planets other than Earth. And because it’s been far enough in the future, we haven’t really had to worry about dealing with it.
The obstacles humankind (other species hardly ever came into the picture) had to overcome and the technology it had to create to deliver itself to those planets were seldom mentioned because, at the time the books were being written and the motion pictures filmed, the technology and knowhow didn’t exist. Significantly, authors were able to develop their storylines quite comfortably without them.
How far into the future the stories were set was also seldom if ever mentioned: probably several hundred years, if not more. Three notable exceptions are Star Trek (the TV series, the books and the movies), the Star Wars saga—“a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”— and 2001: A Space Odyssey. You can find a discussion of a hypothetical Star Wars timeline by clicking here.
That’s all about to change.
If everything goes according to Hoyle, and if the people in charge of the Mars One mission know what they’re about, the hypothetical will give way to the historical, psychological, anthropological and sociological sometime in 2024 when science fiction becomes science fact and very down-to-Earth—or Mars—as the case may be.
2024 will mark the beginning of the first one-way colonization mission to the Red Planet and sci-fi authors and film-makers everywhere will be pressing their big red Reset buttons. 2024 is 10 years from today. Training for the mission starts next year. The reporting and images won’t look, feel or sound like 2001: A Space Odyssey, but they will be real. So will the changes in our educational, social and business landscape. And you, dear PDD follower, will likely experience many of them.
If this seems a little abrupt and far-fetched, rest assured that humankind has been in the space business for some time. To develop a sense of what it’s been up to, you’ll find reassurance in the Space Launch Report, Space Launch Report Forecast for 2014, and Space.com. Sierra Nevada Corporation, SpaceX and Boeing are bidding to replace NASA’s retired shuttle fleet.
Up until crews started rotating through the International Space Station (a really worthwhile assignment for Google Search), the impetus to be “up there” was more a push than a pull. The Mars One mission will make the pull stronger than the push, permanently.
At some point, assembly of the crewed and un-crewed spacecraft that will travel to Mars—and elsewhere—will take place on or in orbit around the Moon. You don’t need to be an astrophysicist to appreciate what that’s going to mean to employment opportunities and to the need to be educated for that employment. Canada is a serious player in the space business, and it’s only one of several. You’ll see just how serious when you Google “Canadian companies in the space industry”.
This isn’t a free-time advertisement for space exploration and colonization. It’s a message that warrants serious thought: We’ve caught up with the future, and you can prove it for yourself.
This “catching up with the future” phenomenon isn’t unique to space exploration. Change is exploding all around us but most of us are unaware of it. Some of us are fighting it. Don’t expect it to come looking for you because it probably won’t. People who’ve followed the links and done the Google exercises you just read about were blown away by how much they didn’t know about what they didn’t know. And in this day and age, there’s no excuse for being left behind.
When I founded the Personal Due Diligence Project, it was with the intention of helping as many people as possible avoid being left behind. The Mars One countdown clock reads “T minus 10 years and counting”. Inevitably, that clock will reach T minus zero and we will have engine ignition and lift-off. As of that moment, things will never be quite the same again.
If you want us to help you prepare, we’re here.