To Space and Beyond

To Space and Beyond

Carl Sagan once said : “The universe is a pretty big place. If it’s just us, seems like an awful waste of space.”. In this vast desert of nothingness, hides some of the most mysterious and beautiful creations human kind ever has or will ever witness.

Our ancestors have always looked up into the night sky and dreamed about space. From simple naked eye observation of the sky to learning about the existence of diamond planets, we came a long way from simply observing the sky by naked eye to now redefining the concepts of time, space and matter. This lead us to bring some partial answers to some of humanity’s sempiternal questions, wondering about the existing of an extraterrestrial form of life, about the finite or infinite nature as well as the origin of the universe.

A person looking upwards towards the sky

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Curiosity, a crucial component for space exploration

Now acknowledging we acquired great amount of knowledge concerning outer space thanks to our curiosity to answer the previous questions, one may wonder what actually drives our curiosity.

Going back to the Cambridge’s dictionary definition of curiosity, it is defined as an eager wish to know or learn about something. But what drives this “eager wish” ?

I believe that this desire is driven by the reward of escaping the unpleasant feeling of uncertainty, which was triggered by an acknowledgment of ones lack of knowledge, in order to find a correct or at least a less wrong answer to the initial question.

Now, if we want space discovery to advance at a much higher pace, more people should get aware of the reward that is awaiting them after the effort of answering the question. But this is not an easy task, since the unpleasant feeling of uncertainty can easily overcome the pleasant feeling of the reward, thus leading people to escape from answering the questions and rather ignore their own ignorance.

After all, the task is specifically hard for space discovery since finding the correct answers requires following rigorous methods on a long term scale.

Open Source initiatives for space discovery

Luckily, there exists some open source initiatives that make the initiation task easier, specifically for the younger ones to enjoy the beauty of outer space.

One of the most beautiful tools to explore space is an initiative of the Open Space Project called OpenSpace, a visualization tool of the entire known universe. It is an incredible way to visualize the environment of other planets such as Earth, Mars and Jupiter.

An illustration of the execution of the OpenSpace program

In order to enjoy a smooth experience of the simulation, assuming a minimum 30 frames per second execution, you need to have a powerful enough GPU. For that, you can check the Github repository for more information.

There also exists a foundation that aims make outer space available for open source creations called Libre Space Foundation. It conducts an open source project for building a network of satellite ground stations which are used to communicate with satellites, spaceships and space stations. It also supports the UPSat project which aspires to be the first completely open source satellite ever launched.

Furthermore, I do believe that the efforts made by these open source initiatives contributes to the advancement of the human specie in space. By getting more interested into space exploration, we have the opportunity to upgrade our civilization’s technological level, moving further up on the Kardashev scale, and maybe become a multi-planetary specie. Maybe one day we will build a Dyson sphere around the sun, encompassing it and capturing a large part of the energy emission, thus providing an energy resource that exceeds any one found on earth and opening up a whole new world of possibilities.

Conclusion

All in all, it is sure that our outer environment hasn’t stopped amazing us, we are only a tiny dot swimming in a universe of gems.

If you this short article made you curious about the outer space, you can check Kurzgesagt’s videos which discuss interesting topics ranging from the origin of the universe to the strangest stars in a beautiful and concise manner.