When I read “The Right Stuff” by Tom Wolfe, I had a mix of emotions, some part of me was in awe of the brave humans who were willing to risk their lives for something they didn’t even know if it might work or no. The other part of me wished the selection of these individuals were done beyond test pilots. But those days were pretty different than what it takes to become an astronaut today. They all had a military background and were mainly test pilots as they were already physically fit and had what it takes to withstand the physical and psychological pressure of space exploration. Along with that, they knew the risks of it all and yet took it even after all of them were family men.
That itself is a lot of pressure to handle.
We, as humans, have always been explorers and pioneers, right from the first person in Antarctica to climbing mount, Everest. Pioneering is never without risks. The first humans through the wall always get a little bloody. Apollo 1 was the first crewed mission of the United States Apollo program, the undertaking to land the first man on the Moon. The cabin fire during a launch rehearsal test at Cape Kennedy Air Force Station Launch Complex 34 on January 27 killed all three crew members- Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger B. Chaffee. There are always sacrifices to be made for human endeavor. To push our boundaries, we wouldn’t be what we are today as human species to begin with if it weren’t for all the sacrifices made by numerous humans that paved the path to our current future.
It can also be argued that it is a small price to pay for a better future. And although I 99% agree with it, the 1% of me worries that we are careful that we don’t lose our humanity while trying to make a point for the next generations. That would leave us no different than any other ruthless animal in the wild.
I will end with this wrt the word sacrifice – No one attempts the impossible without belief in something greater than themselves.