In the wake of the Virgin Galactic tragedy, Tenzin Cohen questions our ongoing quest to conquer the heavens and whether the ends justify the means…


Our Earth is filled to the brim with the bustling and shoving of mankind.

In the midst of our life lives, chaos.

From Gaza to North Korea to Iraq, chaos is impossible to ignore.

While humanitarians fight to survive and keep our Earth, scientists search for an alternative. In the future we will be faced with an ultimatum – die with our Earth or leave and possibly die somewhere else.

So at the moment scientists are spending billions of dollars on trying to improve our knowledge of the universe.

The MESSENGER (a scientific investigation – by spacecraft – of the planet Mercury) mission cost $280 million, which, surprisingly, isn’t actually a lot for a space mission. The launch of a space shuttle costs $450 million and there have been about 130 of them. The International Space Station has, over the years of its existence, cost approximately $142 billion and that’s not including the large amount of smaller space missions, other space agencies and other expenses involved in space exploration.

It is perhaps an even bigger waste of money when space endeavours go wrong. Recent and tragic events have shown that trials for space can not only be costly but also dangerous. The crash of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo in sunny California, proved to not only to be a fail, but also a killer. Out of the smoky remains came a dead co-pilot and a severely-injured pilot. Owner of Virgin Galactic Sir Richard Branson defended his pride and joy by stating that his company “would continue to persevere with its ambition for space tourism despite the crash.” Trial and error is the way of most space exploration companies. However, how big of an error is too big? Is the exploration of the unknown worth it? It’s expensive, demanding and dangerous, much like a spoilt child.

The crash of the Virgin Galactic isn’t only the crash of a rocket, it’s the crash of billions of dollars and the end of a life.

All the while, the first thing on many children’s wish lists would be clean water.

Some may question that if money was not spent on space exploration then what would it be spent on? Military expenditure, political advertising, gambling? Perhaps not all the money used on space exploration is waste?

Space exploration might provide benefits, such as challenging scientists to push the boundaries of their knowledge and providing a source of hope and optimism for humankind. Space programs that involve many nations can also be a good cause for peace between those nations, a cause in which they can all contribute. The motivation behind space exploration might not only be to discover a new planet, but to also discover new life.

Just something to think about.

Disclaimer, when I say scientists I don’t mean all of them. Much like your average joe-blow, scientists can come in all shapes and sizes. Ranging from scientists dedicated to improving water, growth, farming to scientists dedicated to working on space exploration. We are faced with a choice, fight or flight, and as readers and Earth contributors you can do either.

Lucky for us, we won’t have to deal with this steaming mess. I feel a lot of sympathy for the future generations. Not only will they have to move from our world, they will also have to clean up this massive mess we’ve created.

Yet, like many others, my sympathy isn’t quite enough for me to stop driving and polluting in order to save the planet. Hang on, what if we hadn’t made a mess of our world? What if we weren’t using up all our Earth’s supplies? Wouldn’t that mean we could live here in perfect harmony with nature and the scientists wouldn’t have to spend anything on finding us a new planet? Much like the animal kingdom, humanity is very fragile. You take something away and you have so many more problems branching off from that one glitch in the structure.

Well, if ifs and buts were candies and nuts we’d all have a merry Christmas.

Jokes aside, if you wish to help, there’s a website I found most helpful on the small ways we can preserve and keep our world.

If we all contribute than maybe the next generation won’t have a steaming pile of crap to deal with.


To celebrate being a year old, we want you, the readers, to help us decide the articles you loved best during our first year and to encourage you to participate, we are giving away three prizes!

All you have to do is look through our archives of content and email us your favourite article and also if you want, the one you weren’t so up with. From the submissions, we will assess the most-loved content from our first year and republish it at the end of our birthday month.

Both writers and readers are encouraged to enter (No, Paris, you cannot nominate your own articles…#justsaying), so please email us at by 30th November to enter! Please include your name, address and mobile number.

And the prizes are…(did we mention there are prizes…?)

First prize: A brilliant acting course based in Sydney and hosted by Darlo Drama worth $550!

Second prize:  A gift pack from our friends at Booktopia

Third prize: Four movie passes

(Plus watch out for a couple of of other competitions during our birthday month!)


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