We are all tired of being stuck on this cosmical speck with its monotonous ocean, leaden sky, and single moon that is half useless. Its possibilities are exhausted, and just as Greece became too small forthe civilization of the Greeks, so it seems to me that the future glory of the human race lies in the exploration of at least the solar system!
— John Jacob Astor, Journey in Other Worlds: A Romance of the Future, 1894.
Life, for ever dying to be born afresh, for ever young and eager, will presently stand upon this earth as upon a footstool, and stretch out its realm amidst the stars.
— H. G. Wells, The Outline of History, 1920.
Earth is just too small and fragile a basket for mankind to keep all its eggs in.
— attributed to Robert A. Heinlein
A manuscript I wrote on January 14, 1918 . . . and deposited in a friend's safe . . . speculated as to the last migration of the human race, as consisting of a number of expeditions sent out into the regions of thickly distributed stars, taking in a condensed form all the knowledge of the race, using either atomic energy or hydrogen, oxygen and solar energy. . . . [It] was contained in an inner envelope which suggested that the writing inside should be read only by an optimist.
— Robert Goddard, Material for an Autobiography, 1927.
Man must at all costs overcome the Earth's gravity and have, in reserve, the space at least of the Solar System. All kinds of danger wait for him on the Earth. . . . We have said a great deal about the advantages of migration into space, but not all can be said or even imagined.
— Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, The Aims of Astronautics, 1929.
On earth, even if we should use all the solar energy which we receive, we should still be wasting all but one two-billionths of the energy the sun gives out. Consequently, when we have learnt to live on this solar energy and also to emancipate ourselves from the earth's surface, the possibilities of the spread of humanity will be multiplied accordingly. . . . There will, from desire or necessity, come the idea of building a permanent home for men in space. . . . At first space navigators, and then scientists whose observations would be best conducted outside the earth, and then finally those who for any reason were dissatisfied with earthly conditions would come to inhabit these bases and found permanent spatial colonies.
— J. D. Bernal, The World, the Flesh and the Devil, 1929.
There is no way back into the past; the choice, as Wells once said, is the universe—or nothing. Though men and civilizations may yearn for rest, for the dream of the lotus-eaters, that is a desire that merges imperceptibly into death. The challenge of the great spaces between the worlds is a stupendous one; but if we fail to meet it, the story of our race will be drawing to its close.
— Arthur C. Clarke, Interplanetary Flight, 1950.
These are the missing practical arguments: safeguarding
the Earth from otherwise inevitable catastrophic impacts and hedging our
bets on the many other threats, known and unknown, to the environment
that sustains us. Without these arguments, a compelling case for sending
humans to Mars and elsewhere might be lacking, But with them—and
the buttressing arguments involving science, education, perspective, and
hope—I think a strong case can be made. If our long-term survival is at stake, we have a basic
responsibility to our species to venture to other worlds.
— Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, 1994.
Unless we are willing to settle down into a world that is our prison, we must be ready to move beyond Earth. . . . People who view industrialization as a source of the Earth's troubles, its pollution, and the desecration of its surface, can only advocate that we give it up. This is something that we can't do; we have the tiger by the tail. We have 4.5 billion people on Earth. We can't support that many unless we're industrialized and technologically advanced. So, the idea is not to get rid of industrialization but to move it somewhere else. If we can move it a few thousand miles into space, we still have it, but not on Earth. Earth can then become a world of parks, farms, and wilderness without giving up the benefits of industrialization.
— Isaac Asimov, 'Our Future in the Cosmos—Space,' lecture given at the College of William and Mary, full transcript online, 1983.
Despite the campaign rhetoric, the bureaucracies—big business and big government—are here to stay. The centralization effort cannot be checked. but it can be rationally directed towards our species goal: Space Migration, which in turn offers the only way to re-attain individual freedom of space-time and the small-group social structures which obviously best suit our nervous systems. It is another paradox of neuro-genetics that only in space habitats can humanity return to the village life and pastoral style for which we all long.
— Timothy Leary, Neuropolitics: The Sociobiology of Human Metamorphosis, 1977.
No matter how vast, how total, the failure of man here on earth, the work of man will be resumed elsewhere. War leaders talk of resuming operations on this front and that, but man's front embraces the whole universe.
— Henry Miller, Sunday after the War, 1944.
Sooner or later for good or ill, a united mankind, equipped with science and power, will probably turn its attention to the other planets, not only for economic exploitation, but also as possible homes for man. . . . The goal for the solar system would seem to be that it should become an interplanetary community of very diverse worlds . . . . Through the pooling of this wealth of experience, through this 'commonwealth of worlds,' new levels of mental and spiritual development should become possible, levels at present quite inconceivable to man.
— Olaf Stapledon, address to the British Interplanetary Society, 1948.
This is the goal: To make available for life every place where life is possible. To make inhabitable all worlds as yet uninhabitable, and all life purposeful.
— Hermann Oberth, Man Into Space, 1957.
It is in the long run essential to the growth of any new and high civilization that small groups of men can escape from their neighbors and from their government, to go and live as they please in the wilderness. A truly isolated, small, and creative society will never again be possible on this planet.
— Freeman J. Dyson, A Space-Traveler's Manifesto, 1958.
There are so many benefits to be derived from space exploration and exploitation; why not take what seems to me the only chance of escaping what is otherwise the sure destruction of all that humanity has struggled to achieve for 50,000 years?
— Isaac Asimov, 'Our Future in the Cosmos—Space,' lecture given at the College of William and Mary, full transcript online, 1983
In the long run, a single-planet species will not survive.
— Michael Griffin, NASA administrator, Rolling Stone magazine, 23 February 2006
For at least 2,000,000 years men have been reproducing and multiplying on a little automated spaceship called earth.
— Buckminster Fuller, 'The Prospect for Humanity,' Saturday Review, 29 August 1964.
I am a passenger on the Spaceship Earth.
— Buckminster Fuller, Operating Manual for the Spaceship Earth, 1969.
Mankind is destined to step beyond his earthly bonds just as his ancestors once crawled out of the seas. Colonizing new worlds . . . the race will survive.
— Charles Sheldon, National Goals in Space, 1964.
Until now in world's history, whenever we've had a dark age, its been temporary and local. And other parts of the world have been doing fine. And eventually, they help you get out of the dark age. We are now facing a possible dark age which is going to be world-wide and permanent! That's not fun. That's a different thing. But once we have established many worlds, we can do whatever we want as long as we do it one world at a time.
— Isaac Asimov, speech at Newark College of Engineering, 8 November 1974.
There are three reasons, . . . apart from scientific considerations, mankind needs to travel in space. The first . . . is garbage disposal; we need to transfer industrial processes into space so that the earth may remain a green and pleasant place for our grandchildren to live in. The second . . . to escape material impoverishment: the resources of this planet are finite, and we shall not forego forever the abundance of solar energy and minerals and living space that are spread out all around us. The third . . . our spiritual need for an open frontier.
— Freeman J. Dyson, Disturbing the Universe, 1979.
But does Man have any 'right' to spread through the universe? Man is what he is, a wild animal with the will to survive, and (so far) the ability, against all competition. Unless one accepts that, anything one says about morals, war, politics, you name it, is nonsense. Correct morals arise from knowing what man is, not what do-gooders and well-meaning old Aunt Nellies would like him to be. The Universe will let us know—later—whether or not Man has any 'right' to expand through it.
— Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers, 1959.
But space travel can't ease the pressure on a planet grown too crowded not even with today's ships and probably not with any future ships—because stupid people won't leave the slopes of their home volcano even when it starts to smoke and rumble. What space travel does do is drain off the best brains: those smart enough to see a catastrophe before it happens, and with the guts to pay the price—abandon home, wealth, friends, relatives, everything—and go. That's a tiny fraction of one percent. But that's enough.
— Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love, 1973.
Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit and I hope we never forget that.
— Frank Borman, Apollo 8 astronaut, speech to joint session of Congress, 09 January 1969.
A new space race has begun, and most Americans are not even aware of it. This race is not [about] political prestige or military power. This new race involves the whole human species in a contest against time.
— Ben Bova, The High Road, 1981.
Beyond a critical point within a finite space, freedom diminishes as numbers increase. This is as true of humans in the finite space of a planetary ecosystem as it is of gas molecules in a sealed flask. The human question is not how many can possibly survive within the system, but what kind of existence is possible for those who do survive.
— Frank Herbert, Appendix I: The Ecology of Dune, by Pardot Kynes, first planetologist of Arrakis, Dune, 1965.
We . . . see our civilization at a crossroads . . . . down one path is a future of limits to growth, environmental degradation and ultimately extinction. down the other path lie limitless growth, an environmentally pristine earth and an open and free frontier in space.
— Rick Tumlinson, Preface—Welcome to the Revolution (Message of the Frontier Files), 1995.
If humanity persists and endures, in time we will come face to face with the evolution of our sun. In a few billion years its slow brightening will speed up as it swells into a red giant. Earth will then be uninhabitable, as will the inner regions of the Solar System. Yet there will be other more clement stars to which our descendents may wish to migrate. Certainly a society that has developed space flight and space colonization will have the advantage of never thereafter having to stand hostage to fortune.
— T. A. Heppenheimer, Toward Distant Suns, 1979.
The large-scale homogeneity of the universe makes it very difficult to believe that the structure of the universe is determined by anything so peripheral as some complicated molecular structure on a minor planet orbiting a very average star in the outer suburbs of a fairly typical galaxy.
— Stephen Hawking, Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays, 1993.
Now is the watershed of Cosmic history. We stand at the threshold of
the New Millennium. Behind us yawn the chasms of the primordial past,
when this universe was a dead and silent place; before us rise the broad
sunlit uplands of a living cosmos. In the next few galactic seconds, the
fate of the universe will be decided. Life — the ultimate experiment —
will either explode into space and engulf the star-clouds in a fire
storm of children, trees, and butterfly wings; or Life will fail,
fizzle, and gutter out, leaving the universe shrouded forever in
impenetrable blankness, devoid of hope.
— Marshall T. Savage, The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps, 1994.
If the human species, or indeed any part of the biosphere, is to continue to survive, it must eventually leave the Earth and colonize space. For the simple fact of the matter is, the planet Earth is doomed... Let us follow many environmentalists and regard the Earth as Gaia, the mother of all life (which indeed she is). Gaia, like all mothers, is not immortal. She is going to die. But her line of descent might be immortal. . . . Gaia's children might never die out--provided they move into space. The Earth should be regarded as the womb of life—but one cannot remain in the womb forever.
— Frank J. Tipler, The Physics of Immortality: Modern Cosmology, God and the Resurrection of the Dead, 1994.
One of the most fundamental aspects of life is its relentless pursuit of new environmental niches to colonize. It seems inevitable that, sooner or later, living things will spread off the planet--if not us, then perhaps whatever comes after us. Seen this way, a space station need not be a tin can. It can be like the reptile's egg, the bold evolutionary innovation that contained the water and the salts of the oceans and brought them safely onto land.
— Corey Powell, 'MIR vs. Pathfinder,' LA Times newspaper, 1997.
Earth has provided a stable platform for the evolution of life over 4 billion years. But that lease is limited; we know for sure that it will expire after a few billion more. . . . If we are wise, we will have furnished our new apartments long before that time.
— Robert Shapiro, Planetary Dreams, 1999.
I would not see our candle blown out in the wind. It is a small thing, this dear gift of life handed us mysteriously out of immensity. I would not have that gift expire... If I seem to be beating a dead horse again and again, I must protest: No! I am beating, again and again, living man to keep him awake and move his limbs and jump his mind... What's the use of looking at Mars through a telescope, sitting on panels, writing books, if it isn't to guarantee, not just the survival of mankind, but mankind surviving forever!
— Ray Bradbury, Mars and the Mind of Man, 1971.
Unless people can see broad vistas of unused resources in front of them, the belief in limited resources tends to follow as a matter of course. And if the idea is accepted that the world's resources are fixed, then each person is ultimately the enemy of every other person, and each race or nation is the enemy of every other race or nation. The extreme result is tyranny, war and even genocide. Only in a universe of unlimited resources can all men be brothers.
— Robert Zubrin, The Case for Mars, 1996.
More important than the material issue . . . the opening of a new, high frontier will challenge the best that is in us . . . the new lands waiting to be built in space will give us new freedom to search for better governments, social systems, and ways of life.
— Gerard K. O'Neill, The High frontier, 1976.
Space colonization appears to offer the promise of near-limitless opportunities for human expansion, yielding new resources and enhancing human wealth.
— Richard D. Johnson and Charles Holbrow, Space Settlements: A Design Study, NASA, 1977.
We are the lucky generation. We first broke our earthly bonds and ventured into space. From our descendants— perches on other planets or distant space cities, they will look back at our achievement with wonder at our courage and audacity and with appreciation at our accomplishments, which assured the future in which they live.
— Walter Cronkite, CBS News anchor, quoted in an Air & Space Magazine article, 1 July 2007.
Knowing what we know now, we are being irresponsible in our failure to make the scientific and technical progress we will need for protecting our newly discovered severely threatened and probably endangered species—us. NASA is not about the —Adventure of Human Space Exploration,— we are in the deadly serious business of saving the species. All Human Exploration—s bottom line is about preserving our species over the long haul.
— John Young, moonwalker, Gemini 3 & 10, Apollo 10 & 15, STS-1 & STS-9, The Big Picture: Ways to Mitigate or Prevent Very Bad Planet Earth Events, written when he was Associate Director (Technical) of the NASA Johnson Space Center.
The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn't have a space program. And if we become extinct because we don't have a space program, it'll serve us right!
— Larry Niven, quoted by Arthur C. Clarke in an interview online at space.com, 2001.
If man survives for as long as the least successful of the dinosaurs—those creatures whom we often deride as nature's failures—then we may be certain of this: for all but a vanishingly brief instant near the dawn of history, the word 'ship' will mean— 'spaceship.'
— Arthur C. Clarke, quoted by Hugh Downs, Ad Astra, Fall 2008.
If we get a second toehold in the solar system in the next 100 years, we will have gone a long ways toward ensuring the long-term viability of the human species.
— Charles Chafer, interview at space.com, 14 July 2003.
I don't think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I'm an optimist. We will reach out to the stars.
— Stephen Hawking, interview in The Daily Telegraph, 16 October 2001.
The long-term survival of the human race is at risk as long as it is confined to a single planet. Sooner or later, disasters such as an asteroid collision or nuclear war could wipe us all out. But once we spread out into space and establish independent colonies, our future should be safe. There isn't anywhere like the Earth in the solar system, so we would have to go to another star. If we used chemical fuel rockets like the Apollo mission to the moon, the journey to the nearest star would take 50,000 years. This is obviously far too long to be practical, so science fiction has developed the idea of warp drive, which takes you instantly to your destination. Unfortunately, this would violate the scientific law which says that nothing can travel faster than light. However, we can still within the law, by using matter/antimatter annihilation, at least reach just below the speed of light. With that, it would be possible to reach the next star in about six years, though it wouldn't seem so long for those on board.
— Stephen Hawking, accepting the Royal Society's Copley Medal, 1 December 2006.
If humans one day become extinct from a catastrophic collision, there would be no greater tragedy in the history of life in the universe. Not because we lacked the brain power to protect ourselves but because we lacked the foresight. The dominant species that replaces us in post-apocalyptic Earth just might wonder, as they gaze upon our mounted skeletons in their natural history museums, why large headed Homo sapiens fared no better than the proverbially peabrained dinosaurs.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson, Death By Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries, 2007.
The purpose of the space program is not to maintain superiority in space but to build a bridge to the stars before the sun dies. Homo loquaz (man speaking) or Homo sapiens (rational man) is the only thoughtful creature in the universe, so far as we know. If he doesn't build himself that bridge to escape across, all is lost.
— Tom Wolfe, Popular Mechanics magazine, September 2007.
This brief century of ours is arguably the most significant one in the history of our universe. We'll have the technology either to self-destruct, or [to] seed our cosmos with life. The situation is so unstable that I doubt we can dwell at this fork in the road for more than another hundred years. But if we end up going the life route instead of the death route, then in a distant future our cosmos will be teaming with life, all of which can be traced back to what we do—here and now. I don't know how we'll be thought of, but I'm sure that we won't be remembered as insignificant.
— Max Tegmark, MIT professor, quoted in Ad Astra, Fall 2008.
I am sorry to say that there is too much point to the wisecrack that is extinct on other planets because their scientists were more advanced than ours.
— John F Kennedy, speech, 11 December 1959.
We hope someday, having solved the problems we face, to join a community of galactic civilizations.
— President Jimmy Carter, part of the English language message on the 'golden record' attached to Voyager 1, the first man-made machine to leave the Solar System, 1977
The question that will decide our destiny is not whether we shall expand into space. It is: shall we be one species or a million? A million species will not exhaust the ecological niches that are awaiting the arrival of intelligence.
— Freeman J. Dyson, Disturbing the Universe, 1979.
No matter how vast, how total, the failure of man here on earth, the work of man will be resumed elsewhere. War leaders talk of resuming operations on this front and that, but man's front embraces the whole universe.
— Henry Miller, 'Reunion in Brooklyn,' in Sunday After The War, 1944.
It's really incumbent upon us as life's agents to extend life to another planet. I think that being a multi-planet species will significantly increase the richness and scope of the human experience.
— Elon Musk, founder of XpaceX, interview in Ad Astra, Summer 2006.
To our knowledge, life exists on only one planet, Earth. If something bad happens, it's gone. I think we should establish life on another planet—Mars in particular—but we 're not making very good progress. SpaceX is intended to make that happen.
— Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, Time magazine, 5 March 2007
Let me end with an explanation of why I believe the move into space to be a human imperative. It seems to me obvious in too many ways to need listing that we cannot much longer depend upon our planet's relatively fragile ecosystem to handle the realities of the human tomorrow. Unless we turn human growth and energy toward the challenges and promises of space, our only other choice may be the awful risk, currently demonstrable, of stumbling into a cycle of fratricide and regression which could end all chances of our evolving further or of even surviving.
— Gene Roddenberry, 'Hailing Frequencies Open!' The Planetary Report Vol. 1, April/May 1981.
Today the human race is a single twig on the tree of life, a single species on a single planet. Our condition can thus only be described as extremely fragile, endangered by forces of nature currently beyond our control, our own mistakes, and other branches of the wildly blossoming tree itself. Looked at this way, we can then pose the question of the future of humanity on Earth, in the solar system, and in the galaxy from the standpoint of both evolutionary biology and human nature. The conclusion is straightforward: Our choice is to grow, branch, spread and develop, or stagnate and die.
— Robert Zubrin, Entering Space, 1999.
It is marvelous indeed to watch on television the rings of Saturn close; and to speculate on what we may yet find at galaxy's edge. But in the process, we have lost the human element; not to mention the high hope of those quaint days when flight would create "one world." Instead of one world, we have "star wars," and a future in which dumb dented human toys will drift mindlessly about the cosmos long after our small planet's dead.
— Gore Vidal, Armageddon, 1987.
When the history of our galaxy is written, and for all any of us know it may already have been, if Earth gets mentioned at all it won't be because its inhabitants visited their own Moon. That first step, like a newborn's cry, would be automatically assumed. What would be worth recording is what kind of civilization we earthlings created and whether or not we ventured out to other parts of the galaxy.
— Michael Collins, Liftoff, 1988
A few million years ago there were no humans. Who will be here a few million years hence? In all the 4.6-billion-year history of our planet, nothing much ever left it. But now, tiny unmanned exploratory spacecraft from Earth are moving, glistening and elegant, through the solar system. We have made a preliminary reconnaissance of twenty worlds, among them all of the planets visible to the naked eye, all those wandering nocturnal lights that stirred our ancestors toward understanding and ecstasy. If we survive, our time will be famous for two reasons: that at this dangerous moment of technological adolescence we managed to avoid self-destruction; and because this is the epoch in which we began our journey to the stars.
— Carl Sagan. Cosmos, 1980.
Once the threshold is crossed when there is a self-sustaining level of life in space, then life's long-range future will be secure irrespective of any of the risks on Earth. . . . Will this happen before our technological civilization disintegrates, leaving this as a might-have-been? Will the self-sustaining space communities be established before a catastrophe sets back the prospect of any such enterprise, perhaps foreclosing it forever? We live at what could be a defining moment for the cosmos.
— Martin Rees, England's Astronomer Royal, Our Final Hour, 2003.
The question to ask is whether the risk of traveling to space is worth the benefit. The answer is an unequivocal yes, but not only for the reasons that are usually touted by the space community: the need to explore, the scientific return, and the possibility of commercial profit. The most compelling reason, a very long-term one, is the necessity of using space to protect Earth and guarantee the survival of humanity.
— William E. Burrows, the Wall Street Journal, 2003
As long as we are a single-planet species, we are vulnerable to extinction by a planetwide catastrophe, natural or self-induced. Once we become a multiplanet species, our chances to live long and prosper will take a huge leap skyward.
— David Grinspoon, Slate online magazine, 7 January 2004.
In time, [a Martian] colony would grow to the point of being self- sustaining. When this stage was reached, humanity would have a precious insurance policy against catastrophe at home. During the next millennium there is a significant chance that civilization on Earth will be destroyed by an asteroid, a killer plague or a global war. A Martian colony could keep the flame of civilization and culture alive until Earth could be reverse-colonized from Mars.
— Paul Davies, ASU physicist, cosmologist and astrobiologist, the New York Times, 15 January 2004
For me the single overarching goal of human space flight is the human settlement of the solar system, and eventually beyond. I can think of no lesser purpose sufficient to justify the difficulty of the enterprise, and no greater purpose is possible.
— Michael D. Griffin, NASA administrator, testimony to the Hearing on the Future of Human Space Flight Committee, US Congress, 16 Oct 2003.
The ultimate goal of human exploration is to chart a path for human expansion into the solar system.
— Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee, Seeking a Human Speaceflight Program Worthy of a Great Nation, better known as the Augustine Report, October 2009.
Many say exploration is part of our destiny, but it's actually our duty to future generations and their quest to ensure the survival of the human species.
— Buzz Aldrin (born Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Jr), on the 37th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Landing, July 2006
The extension of life beyond Earth is the most important thing we can do as a species.
— Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, Ad Astra, Summer 2008.
The quality of a civilization is measured not by what it has to do, but by what it wants to do.
— Bruce Murray, research scientist, Exploring Space, 1991.
The single overarching goal of human space flight is the human settlement of the solar system, and eventually beyond. I can think of no lesser purpose sufficient to justify the difficulty of the enterprise, and no greater purpose is possible. . . . Does the survival of human kind depend upon it? I think so.
— Michael Griffin, NASA Administrator, interview with news agency AFP, 25 September 2008.
It's important that we attempt to extend life beyond Earth now. It is the first time in the four billion-year history of Earth that it's been possible and that window could be open for a long time—hopefully it is—or it could be open for a short time. We should err on the side of caution and do something now."
If you want to have a program for moving out into the universe, you have to think in centuries not in decades.
— Freeman Dyson, Raw Science interview, 26 November 2014.
If we can avoid disaster for the next two centuries, our species should be safe as we spread into space. If we are the only intellegent beings in the galaxy we should make sure we survive and continue. . . . Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain inward looking on planet Earth but to spread out into space. We have made remarkable progress in the last hundred years. But if we want to continue beyond the next hundred years, our future is in space.
— Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist, intervew with Andrew Dermont of website Big Think, 6 August 2010.
Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain lurking on planet Earth, but to spread out into space.< >
— Stephen Hawking, interview in the Winnipeg Free Press, 19 November 2011.
Remember this: once the human race is established on more than one planet and especially, in more than one solar system, there is no way now imaginable to kill off the human race.
— Robert Heinlein, speech at the XIXth World Science Fiction Convention, Seattle, 1961. Published in Requiem: Collected Works and Tributes to the Grand Master (2008).
We are beholden to give back to the Universe. . . . If we make landfall on another star system, we become immortal.
— Ray Bradbury, speech to the National School Board Association, 1995.
Perchance, coming generations will not abide the dissolution of the globe, but, availing themselves of future inventions in aerial locomotion, and the navigation of space, the entire race may migrate from the earth, to settle some vacant and more western planet.... It took but little art, a simple application of natural laws, a canoe, a paddle, and a sail of matting, to people the isles of the Pacific, and a little more will people the shining isles of space. Do we not see in the firmament the lights carried along the shore by night, as Columbus did? Let us not despair or mutiny.
— Henry David Thoreau, Paradise (to be) Regained, 1843.
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