Mission to Mars?
Have you ever wanted to space travel? My childhood years were filled with too much TV. Some of my favorite programs/movies were Star Wars, Star Trek, Buck Rogers and Doctor Who to name a few. As a result, my young mind was pumped with never-ending tales of galactic adventures. I so wanted to visit other planets, travel at warp speed, get beamed up, use the force, and of course, ride the Tardis.
I recall my first visit to the NASA visitor’s center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. I was sold. I came out knowing I would be an astronaut some day. The reality of the danger of space flight only hit me after seeing the Challenger disaster in 1986. I was in the 7th grade, and along with the entire nation, watched the screen in disbelief. For those of you who were around in ’86, I’m sure you remember this well. The launch looked normal…then, a cloud of smoke. At first, we couldn’t tell if the smoke was routine or if something terrible had occurred. Then, the devastating news–the unthinkable had occurred and they were all gone! It was a sobering moment for us all.
I can’t say this deterred my interest in space; but, for one reason or another, my career did not head in that direction. Apparently, the Lord had other plans. Nevertheless, my heart still skips a beat when I read or watch news clips on space travel advancements. I was disappointed at the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011 but curious on the next generation–especially how the private sector would affect the future of space exploration. It’s been an exciting journey watching companies such as SpaceX and Orbital battle for space supremacy.
I do have to admit, I did not expect to see a revival of the old space capsules. From that perspective, I’ve been a bit disillusioned. The future I envisioned revolved around the great vehicles of hollywood films. Notwithstanding the lack of creativity, lol, it’s been exciting to see so many involved in innovation. I’ve been especially intrigued by SpaceX’s quest to create a reusable rocket. Their previous failed attempts to land on a custom-built ocean platform have kept me on the edge of my seat. Then, this week, they accomplished the nearly impossible. Yes, I know. Blue Origin did something similar just recently. However, all seem to agree that SpaceX’s accomplishments were much more technical and earth shattering.
Over the past couple of days, I’ve read several articles regarding SpaceX’s breakthrough. I’ve also been able to enjoy video content of this special moment. I smiled at the revelry in the control room when they all realized it was a success. I further chuckled at the competitive tweets between Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. But at the end of the day, what caught my attention most were statements about Musk’s hopes for the future.
Like others, Musk desires to push the boundaries of space exploration. This weeks revolutionary deed places mankind one step closer to colonizing Mars. According to one article I read, Musk said that “Without [reusable rockets], it would be unaffordable – it dramatically improves my confidence that a city on Mars is possible, it’s what all this is about.”¹ In an unrelated article this week, I read that the Mars rover Curiosity had found more evidence of past water on Mars. But, not just water, evidence of organics were also present in the samples they’ve examined. According to the article I read, organics are the building blocks for life.
All of this Mars talk raises several thoughts in my mind. First, I’m astounded at the lengths that we will go to find our origins (or should I say, to prove that our origins are not as the Bible has presented). Secondly, the staggering efforts to reach the worlds beyond our reach is mind-blowing. What is it we wish to find? What are we aiming to accomplish? Finally, it’s unfortunate that many don’t understand (or want to believe) that “all these things shall be added to you” (Mat. 6:33). How much money and resources have been poured into an attempt to reach or contact what will soon be inherited by all believers in Jesus Christ. How much better if those resources had been poured into proclaiming the everlasting gospel to the entire world. Now, I’m not trying to be negative. I applaud the accomplishments, and as I mentioned, am delighted to see the progress.
Notwithstanding, during this Christmas holiday season, know that scripture indicates Christ’s second advent is around the corner. When He comes, He will take His people to be where He is (Jn. 14:3). At that point, my dreams of space travel will be realized; I will be a true astronaut along with all the numberless throngs of saints (1 Thess. 4:17). God will make us kings and priests (Rev. 5:10) and we will inherit the kingdom (Mat. 25:34). In the new kingdom, you will be able to explore Mars and the entire universe. In the meantime, there’s work to be done. We live on a planet where countless go to Christless graves daily. Let’s take Paul’s advise to heart “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! . . .” (2 Tim. 4:1-2).
¹Rogers, James. “SpaceX CEO Elon Musk eyes city on Mars after successful rocket landing.” Fox News. December 22, 2015. Accessed December 23, 2015. http://www.foxnews.com/science/2015/12/22/spacex-ceo-elon-musk-eyes-city....