Perhaps it is our imagination that sets us apart from all the other animals on the planet. By looking up at the stars, we created creatures and fables.

We made stories that answered those unanswerable questions. Later on, we would have wars over whose fables were correct.

As civilizations advanced, we gained better tools to gather data and learned how better to analyze that data. We grew.

We may have not found the answers to all our questions, but that still doesn’t stop us from pursuing them. We are seekers. It is in our nature. We need to keep struggling to find answers. We need to keep exploring.

Of all the cultures and civilizations we represent here in Hawaii, there isn’t one that does not have a history of exploration. To stop exploring would be spiritual suicide.

We are about to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the landing of human beings on another celestial body. The dream of mankind to walk on its satellite was realized July 20, 1969. It was the culmination of the work of thousands of engineers, scientists and technicians to design, test, build and subsequently launch a giant rocket into space, carrying three astronauts, two of whom would be the first to walk on the moon.

Fifty years have passed since that remarkable achievement. One can only wonder what kind of world we would be living in had we continued our quest to better understand our universe and increase our knowledge base.

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin in a photo taken by Neil Armstrong in 1969.

Flickr: NASA

We stopped. Money, politics, social questions and perhaps a war and social upheaval caused its demise.

But I would remind us all that it was a young World War II veteran who set goals for the United States and challenged us to get to the moon in less than a decade. Sadly, he did not live to witness the successful completion of his challenge.

What has been sadly missing in our space program and in the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope is leadership. As a nation, we have no goals. As a people and society, we seem to have lost the desire to learn. To maintain the status quo condemns future generations.

Mauna Kea was here long before the first Polynesians arrived, and wasn’t it humans who made it sacred? And why is that particular place more sacred than the rest of Hawaii? Shouldn’t we be respecting all of the land and not just this particular spot?

Wasn’t it Polynesian leadership that made these islands inhabited? Wouldn’t it be great to have our leaders set the kind of goals that John Kennedy did in 1961?

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About the Author

  • Victor Craft
    Victor Craft is a retired aerospace worker having functioned as an FAA certificated Airframe and Powerplants Technician, Logistician and Quality Assurance director working on several major weapons systems. Vic also served tours of duty with the armed forces in Vietnam, Kenya and the United Kingdom.