Today’s question comes from Ava Pike, from Sweet Potato Township, South Carolina. Ava asks, “Is space still the final frontier?”
Ava, there seem to be so many frontiers these days, it’s hard to know for sure whether or not space is still the last one. Perhaps William Shatner’s authoritative voiceover, in which he stated, “Space. The final frontier,” at the beginning of Star Trek’s first episode in 1966 is still true 47 years later. And yet, we’ve made great strides since the days the Starship Enterprise first took flight, when an illegal alien such as Scotty, was relegated to the boiler room and paid not with money, but with brief, two to three minute periods throughout the day in which he was granted permission to complain bitterly about one thing or another.
Since 1966, astronomers have discovered black holes, new planets and other galaxies, NASA scientists and engineers sent a man to the moon, successfully landed a rover on Mars, even launched an international space station. And the privately held company, Sirus XM, spent millions and millions of dollars to launch a satellite into orbit so all the world would have the opportunity to hear the hysterical musings and mangled chicken fried bon mots of Larry the Cable Guy.
While we know so much about space, there is still so much we don’t know. Kind of like marriage — perhaps that the final frontier, Ava. Ha ha.
Of course, there are some scientists and medical professionals who believe the human brain is the final frontier, others like director and explorer, James Cameron, who believe the ocean is the final frontier and then there are people like myself who are convinced after watching a woman shout a fast food order into an ATM machine at one in the morning, that we’ve barely scratched the surface in terms of understanding our own potential for sheer stupidity. While not a scientist, my own theory is that our own stupidity is what’s causing the universe to expand so rapidly. It’s doing that just to keep up.
Ava, the answer is that we have multiple frontiers in which to prod, ponder and pick at for many, many years to come. Space is just one of them. So is the brain. So is the ocean. There is still so much more to explore and ask questions about here on Earth and beyond. Perhaps Scotty said it best when he asked Captain Kirk, “How come there’s no human resources person on this ship?”
© 2013 The Monkey Bellhop and John Hartnett