Gen-X Rallying Cry? To Mars! Gen-X Needs a Cause, and that Cause Should Be
George T. Whitesides
Gen-X is the first generation in history with the chance to send one of its own to Mars. For our own sakes, as well as for the sake of humanity, we cannot let that chance pass unfulfilled.
We are a curious generation, both lucky and adrift. Blessed with prosperity, peace, and education, we are on the verge of inheriting the strongest country in the world, at one of its greatest moments. In just a few years, we will hold an unparalleled opportunity to do something great for mankind, to make a deep and lasting mark on history.
There is only one problem: as a generation, we have no grand aspiration for our future. If is true that some of us care deeply about issues like the environment or service, but is there a goal out there that we seek together, that unifies and inspires us? Corner one of us, look us in the eye, and you’ll see that the answer is no.
This much-publicized ennui has its roots in the happy condition of our land. Living in a world without advancing evil, we have had the luxury of turning inward. Raised in a country in which the great injustices have been at least legally remedied, we have been left to work out the details of battle fought before our time.
With some hesitation, we admit that we wish we did not live in such uninteresting times. Privately, we yearn for a cause of our own, a grand public effort that would take us beyond the video-game society in which we have been raised.
What we have not realized is that there is a cause out there for us, one that is everything that we secretly hope for.
It is space exploration in general, and Mars in particular.
Making space our cause, and Mars our goal, would bring us together under a grand, peaceful endeavor. It would teach us about our universe in ways that we can barely imagine, and it would spur technology to greater heights. It would be a great gift to our children, bot for their education and their future. To send some of our own to Mars would transform us from a generation that history will forget into a generation that history will revere.
Space is the next frontier of humanity, and we are the next generation. Mars, an uninhabited planet whose environment is closest to our own, waits, empty, for our arrival. If ever there was a match made in heaven, this is it.