New PDF release: A case for humans in space : the European astronauts

By Barbara Warmbein; European Space Agency

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Philosopher Immanuel Kant wrote: “Nothing fills me with more, ever increasing awe than the stars above me and the moral law within me”*. After all, we are born from stardust. The elements constituting our bodies did not exist when our Universe was created some ten billion years ago. According to our current understanding of the Universe everything heavier than hydrogen or helium was created inside the stars and released into the Universe in countless violent explosions, thus generating the prerequisites for life and, eventually, us human beings on planet Earth.

Only the nations with the potential and vision to play a major role in shaping the future of our Earth – and even more of mankind – undertake the effort to push their capabilities and influence beyond current borders. By doing so, they gain new knowledge, technical possibilities and, most importantly, personal inspiration for their people. Spaceflight in general is one of the most visible and obvious frontiers to all people on Earth. Seeing and understanding that this endeavour is undertaken by the international community puts the various goals and motivations of individual humans and organisations into broader perspective.

29 BR-221_EuroAstro 9/10/04 1:46 PM Page 30 Spaceship Earth and Beyond Hans Schlegel Member of the European Astronaut Corps ESA / EAC, Cologne, Germany Earth, to find what exists out there and to develop the technology necessary to leave the Earth and have access to our planets and moons. In the long run, the knowledge and capabilities gained will benefit all humans. The decision to send humans into space is purely a cultural and political one. Only the nations with the potential and vision to play a major role in shaping the future of our Earth – and even more of mankind – undertake the effort to push their capabilities and influence beyond current borders.

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A case for humans in space : the European astronauts by Barbara Warmbein; European Space Agency


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