Moving to outer space: are we ready for lift off?
This year, Babel has entered space in a big way. I am of course speaking metaphorically (not ‘meteorphorically’!). Conversations about space have dominated the office recently during our very successful PR campaign with an in-orbit servicing client, and so I thought it was about time to put word to screen on the subject.
Space itself has always fascinated me. The inaccessibility of it, combined with the possibility of the unknown, allows for creative geniuses to speculate upon ‘what is out there.’ Popular culture has tried to provide answers and some of the biggest names in TV and film have been made through space-inspired fiction, from E.T., Star Wars and Star Trek, to Gravity, Elysium and Avatar.
The space industry recently came to the fore for the public as media consciousness was awoken to Elon Musk, the man behind PayPal, Tesla and Space X, launching the most powerful rocket currently in operation: the Falcon Heavy. Musk’s knack for captivating the public delivered: he launched his own red Tesla Roadster into space to the soundtrack of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, playing on repeat; a well-thought out PR stunt.
But it’s not just Elon Musk who has put space on the map. Last week we sadly lost one of the most inspiring figures of his generation, Stephen Hawking. Despite having the life-altering motor neurone disease, Hawking became the world’s most recognisable scientist, unlocking the secrets of space and the mysteries of gravity.
It is a combination of the above that inspired me to write this blog. The media is quick to instil fear about humans over-populating the planet, and it may have good reason: even Hawking believed we only had around 100 years to make the move to space or risk extinction. Elysium, the aforementioned film, depicts a world in which the rich start new lives aboard a man-made planet, and in another example of media reflecting reality, tech billionaire Musk has plans to colonise Mars in order to preserve our species.
So just how close are we to merging science fiction with reality?
I believe we’re closer than we think. It wasn’t too long ago that driverless cars were only a figment of our imagination, and now we’re staring a robot-infested reality in the face as we hear AI and connected car updates on a daily basis.
When it comes to space, personally I prefer my feet on the ground and the smell of fresh air (questionable at times being based in London, I know). Besides, all that space gear and breathing apparatus you’d have to wear looks cumbersome. Yet Babel’s further exploration into the space industry – a sector which includes some of the most forward-thinking people in the world – means I can’t help but be fascinated. After all, Stephen Hawking famously said: “remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet”.
However, while Babel hasn’t got any plans to open a new office on Mars anytime soon, if the stars align and Space X approaches us with a one-way ticket, who knows? Watch this space!