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IMAGE: ISS Science Officer Don Pettit
ISS Science Officer Don Pettit works inside the Destiny Laboratory.
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Don Pettit Space Chronicles

Expedition Six
Space Chronicles #11

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By: ISS Science Officer Don Pettit

The Roots of Exploration

And why do we go off into places far away like space and leave our families behind? It is fundamentally about exploration, about finding new places to live and having new resources to use. We make discoveries; we advance science, by going to places that offer opportunities that we do not find at home. Nature's imagination is far more creative than man's and we will only discover what nature has in store by seeking it ourselves. Sometimes theseopportunities are tangible, like the weightlessness of orbit, sometimes they are intangible, like creative ideas spawned from observing our planet from a new perspective. Both plant seeds for future revolutions. Scientific efforts legitimize the exploration; without that, you are simply wandering around. We venture off, leaving our loved ones behind, to contribute in our own small way to the chain of events that will ensure that our babies and our grand babies will have a future. However, there seems to be something else deep-rooted in exploration, something more than just places to live and resources to use. Exploration is instinctively about survival of the human species. If the dinosaurs had explored space, if they had colonized other planets, they would still be alive today.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 05/13/2003
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