I want to be an astronaut, to fly through the Milky Way, to visit Jupiter and its moons, to check if Hawking was really right when he said I could escape a black hole and possibly travel to another dimension, to play with water on a zero-gravity environment and check the effects of radiation on my bones, to become the legendary space traveller that almost reached the infinite.
I really want that.
Astronauts go to space for a reason, when they are there they are fixing the International Space Station, fuelling engines, building machines, programming computers. It’s like when you have to go on a business trip on a beautiful city. You are there to do some work, not to sunbath, but you will for sure find some hours of your time to appreciate the landscape.
Being an astronaut seems to be the perfect job. You will be famous and venerated by the entire scientific community, you will probably have a great salary and benefits, not counting the massive insurance your family might earn for the insalubrious job you are doing.
But how far from Earth an astronaut go nowadays? 400 kilometers. That’s it: 400 kilometers. That’s the altitude the ISS is from sea level. It’s less than the distance from London to Dublin but towards the sky. It’s not that much when you think the small dot this distance represents when considering the size of Earth.
Of course, they will be experiencing a weightlessness environment, which is cool, they will be travelling at 26,000 km/h, which is also cool, but it’s not a big deal, really.
The astronaut I wanted to be was the one going at least to the Moon, I remember being a small kid imagining a worm hole being opened in front of me and that I could see the other side, I could see a different shaped galaxy with much more lights, colours, civilizations, a much more dense galaxy.
This is not happening. At least not to me, nor to my son, maybe to my grandson.
We are still on the beginning of the process, we are really far from becoming a stable civilization which would give us time to prioritize advanced scientific researches to discover how to build a spaceship that is capable to travel such long distances and communicate with our universal peers.
We are a really tiny dot in this universe, we are nothing.
One thing I noticed is that this dream of being an astronaut come across almost all programmers. Why? Why all these massive-nerds want in the space? It’s pretty dangerous out there. Radiation, space debris, the launch, the re-entry and if you are travelling at super high speeds you will be affected by the relativity theory, you might lose your kids entire lives in just one hour – anyway most of the programmers don’t have kids.
My assumption is that we all share the same feeling of curiosity. A programmer needs to be curious, we are always trying to find solutions, looking for a comma on a sea of words. There are no limitations on our work, we can do wherever we want, nothing is impossible. Programming is like playing with Lego, you have small generic pieces and you build something big. It’s like role-playing God.
Builders, programmers and astronauts have a lot in common.
Builders were the ones that helped to manually create our world as it is now, they created buildings, houses, amazing bridges and constructions. They are still quite important on the recent society but not as important as they were centuries ago.
Programmers are the new builders, we can work in any company in any sector in any place in the world, we “build” systems, websites, processes. Without programmers this world would stop, every single aspect of your life will be online soon, on systems built by programmers.
Astronauts will be the next ones, our planet won’t be enough for our society, so we will need to move on, discover more planets to extract resources, establish bases in another planets, find new ways to live. Being an astronaut will be something normal.
They will build new ways of living on different platforms.
I should have lived on a different era.