I was reading an issue of Popular Science, the other day and it included an article about a daring caver and exploration specialist, named Bill Stone. He has a company named Stone Aerospace and has been something of an anachronism for years: that rare combination of reckless egomaniac and prophetic seer that produces men and women who actually change "the world as we know it". I could write all day about the fellow but a simple talk he gave recently says a lot more about him than my words could convey. What I am more interested in is the future of this type of thinking and the benefits of going much more boldly, where man has never gone before, than our current government-dominated thinking allows.
You'll see from Bill's company website that he has put his money where his mouth is, so to speak. You'll also see that he has experienced some success, which in turn, garnered him OPM (other people's money), an essential element for anyone's vision. He has even convinced NASA of spending some government money to fund a few of his more adventurous projects. He is convinced, however, that it is private entrepreneurship which holds the most hope for extraterrestrial exploration. While NASA is stuck on slow, stodgily safe and incrementally planned missions, funded by the government, Stone and his counterparts (like Bert Rutan and Richard Branson) see the necessity to take bold chances to get where we need to be in time for the successes to fuel further explorations. And, yes, it is just as likely that failures will further the process as successes. Bold action is required, though and that is most assuredly not NASA's M.O.
Here's to adventuresome explorers who blaze the trails that produce a future that will ensure, not only the continued flourishing of human endeavors but our very survival!