From This Green Earth: Essays on Looking Outward

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Synopsis

Much has been said about the positive effect of the photos of Earth obtained by Apollo 8, which for the first time showed our planet as a globe, a fragile refuge amid barren surroundings, and thereby launched the environmental movement. The negative impact--the subconscious apprehension resulting from realization that space is an actual place containing little that’s familiar to us and perhaps much that we’d rather not meet—is not spoken of. But it may be no less significant. Could this be one of the reasons why widespread interest in space died so soon after the first moon landing?

For the past fifty years space advocates have been puzzled and frustrated by the slowness of progress in space and the failure of the public to grasp its importance not only to the future of humankind, but to the preservation of Earth's environment. But is it really cause for discouragement? In this book Sylvia Engdahl argues that in the light of history, it's not surprising that acceptance of a new outlook on the universe is slow. All past human advances have been made by visionary minorities without the support of their contemporaries, and our transformation into a spacefaring species will be no exception.

This book also includes all of Engdahl's earlier essays about space, such as "Space and Human Survival," which has been popular on the Web for nearly twenty years, plus new ones about the priority of Mars and the question of whether we'll ever meet hostile aliens. In addition, an Appendix contains the quotations from her Web page "Space Quotes to Ponder" about why a presence in space is vital to humankind.

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