I firmly believe that we who are alive and can think today-in the closing years of the 20th century-have a commitment to our species to make sure that the flicker of movement we have thus managed in space stays sufficiently kindled so that the people of the 21st century can build upon and extend the human abode from Earth to the cosmos beyond.
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If two or three hundred years from now an earthbound civilization is dying ... and they look back at the opportunity that we have here at the close of the twentieth century to move out into space and they see that we didn't do anything with it ... I don't want history to judge us on having blown this opportunity, and I think history will judge us on this more than on any other issue.
We of course have our problems, to say the least, in comportment towards ourselves and our environment, but admittance to the cosmos and the spatial infinity and temporal immortality it provides may well be just the remedy for these age-old problems. Access to the boundless resources of the universe may once and for all puncture the pressure of population and politics of scarcity which have generated war, oppression, and plagued our species from the start.
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Now, more than ever, we need people in space... The events of September 11 show us how vulnerable we and our civilization are down here on Earth... So let us use our strength, our awareness of mortality as a civilization, to do something truly lasting and earth-shaking for humanity. Let us join with the peoples and cultures of this planet, the diversities of its perspectives and religions and science, so we can leave it-not behind, but as a springboard to something better.
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