I have written an entire page on “Why Astronaut?” This is an extended, deep version of what fuels me every day. I waited to write this because it’s hard to put some things down in actual words many times. You can think of something, but when you say it, something entirely different can come out.
Our planet is divided by race, color, gender, orientation, class, education, religion, country, etc. The very thing that should get us all together is the thing that divides us. Whenever I walk into remote parts of the country, I still get weird stares, knowing it is due to my dusky skin. I wish I could change it, but I can’t. I have to live with it. Is some part of me is ashamed? Maybe. But what can I do? Nothing.
Space always brings people together. Always. Right from the first Mercury missions to the current ongoing missions to the ISS, millions of people worldwide stop and watch humans reach high into space. But there is one thing in human history that made the entire world stop and watch. It was Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon in 1969. For those 30 minutes of television, the world as a whole stopped, left aside everything, and watched him.
The next stop for humans is Mars. So, in a society divided by everything, it would be worth it if I could somehow get them to set aside their differences for 5 minutes and watch people walk on Mars. And it makes no difference to me whether it takes me another nine years to train as an astronaut. My life would be worth it if I could only get them together for that 5 minutes. It’s a tiny price to pay for the smiles, tears, and cheers of the humans on planet earth. I am well aware that the first generation will never return safetly or at all. But what’s life without risks? Still, a very small price to pay to get people together.
Many have asked me (Including my father), Why not work for a public service organization? Army / Navy / Air Force? Irony as it is, while I’m writing this, I’m wearing a t-shirt from US Air Force.
When you associate yourself with a military organization, you are working for a particular set of people under orders and have to follow them regardless you like them or not. In times of war, there are no winners, just widows. Both sides of the conflict think they are right; hence they fight for what they believe is right, and losses are faced on both sides. I think it’s time we see way past just a region of where we belong but think about how our work can benefit the human species and earth as a whole. And that work can be accomplished as an astronaut. Make no mistake; I am not against any public service organizations; every country needs them for its reasons. The work you do as an astronaut will help all humans as a whole than a particular set of people in an area. We grow and learn how we came into being, progress further, and bring helpful change to better our lives and other species we share the planet with. Astronauts’ work benefits life through space exploration.
Being an astronaut is the highest privilege any human can receive, but also comes a tremendous amount of responsibility and stature.
Live by chance, love by choice, passion for science as a profession.