We are trapped on Earth. It’s something I felt keenly as a kid, which is why the destruction of Challenger, and then Columbia, hit me so hard. Hell, I still tear up just thinking about January 28, 1986, but neither tragedy changed my mind about the importance of space exploration and colonization.
I will admit, however, that the urgency I felt has faded. The 17 year old who went to Space Camp is now the 42 year old who has to juggle his job, family, and personal life, and has too little time left to rage against the societal chains holding us to this planet. I do make sure to take in those glimmers of hope — the commercial successes (and yes, failures) of Scaled Composites and SpaceX, the release of the film Intersteller, and the slow progression of the Orion exploration vehicle from idea to functional prototype.
I can now add Wanderers to that list. It’s a short film by Erik Wernquist that’s been popping up in my social media feeds for the last few weeks. Unlike the countless “What flavor are you?” polls, this one was actually worth watching.
It’s a speculative fiction film that imagines our near future in space. With a voice over by the legendary Carl Sagan, the video depicts the exploration of the outer planets, the colonization of Mars, the creation of self-sustaining asteroid colonies. The images are inspired by actual space imagery, and the results are stunning … and hopeful.
I don’t know if I’ll live to see the wonders captured here, but it did make me feel — if only for a few minutes — that humanity had pried loose the trap seizing it’s collective legs and reclaimed our destiny as explorers.
Watch it. You won’t regret it. Then go re-up with the Planetary Society; you won’t regret that either.
Now where’s my copy of 2010: A Space Odyssey Two?