On Tuesday February 6th of 2018, I watched SpaceX launch Falcon Heavy and successfully land two of its boosters. This launch was inspiring to many people because it was the first rocket launched capable of reaching Mars. The fact that Musk choose to launch his personal Tesla Roadster as a deadweight payload was a truly remarkable sight. The world was shown video footage of an already revolutionary electric car soaring above the atmosphere on a rocket developed by a wildly successful private space company.

However, this was very touching to me for a different reason. The last time the world experienced this level of competition over space exploration was the cold war. This race granted us a variety of technological innovations that helped the quality of life of citizens all over the globe including braces, smoke detectors, freeze dried food, and water purifiers just to name a few. These are great products but it is saddening to know that they were only possible due to a huge conflict between world superpowers where disputes between politicians put millions of innocent lives at risk.

The world we live in is full of conflict and competition. Tensions are high between the citizens of our nation and it is easy to feel like the world is very divided. I want to see a generation that focuses on bringing people together and fighting to improve everybody’s quality of life rather than focusing on distances and widening cultural divides.

Seeing a dummy in an electric car soaring through the atmosphere instead of a nuclear warhead hit me with a wave of emotion. The blue sphere in the background was mesmerizing- you cannot see borders, buildings, populations, or the small parts of life we become accustomed to. The only sight is the entirety of our world. Just a small orb containing every human, every home, every life on earth together. Space exploration not only allocated money toward research and science rather than war and hate, but it brings the human race together in a way that nothing else can do.

I truly feel like my life has changed since seeing this. Whether I am driving around or standing in line among strangers I feel more care and respect for those around me. I know that I am a very insignificant part of our entire world and I feel more connected to those around me rather than living life looking for differences. Some may argue that we should focus on problems here on Earth but I think that space exploration brings us the innovations we did not know we needed here in the first place. In addition to that, I have never felt as connected to the rest of the world as I do now after seeing the February 6th launch. I think it is time we focus less on being citizens of our divided nations and put more effort into becoming citizens of this planet we share.

– George (Student)