In the same way that we looked for someone to blame for recent astronauts deaths, the first tourist or settler to die in space could trigger a societal retraction that will doom any belief in our manifest destiny to explore the universe.

Entering the wilderness kills people.

Of course, so does cooking, bathing, diving, driving, bicycling, smoking, even sex kills people. But does that mean we don’t go there? Science suggests that risk can be averted, and in many cases prevented. But not in the wilderness.

We survive by overcoming the boundaries, by paying the price for progress with human lives. It is the way of our nature. To reach out beyond the first family caves killed many before knowledge was gained to understand the threats. To cross the rivers, killed people until tools, and methods were discovered that made the traverse possible. Many ships and men’s lives were lost in the effort to cross the English Channel, the Atlantic Ocean, and yes the American continent.

Entering the wilderness kills people.

We are on the brink of again entering the wilderness of space. On the other side of that dark sea lies opportunities for us to grow, evolve, learn, and adapt to new environments, new lands, new worlds, upon which we will leave our children and grandchildren. To shy away from the loss of life indicative of such often fatal experiments, is to die in our own filth when the earth becomes so depleted and polluted that we doom ourselves to extinction.

Entering the wilderness kills people.

If we are to cross the dark seas of space to conquer the lands that await us there, we must accept the necessary price of human lives in the course of such an effort. Those who willingly put their lives in jeapordy are heroes, pioneers, and pathfinders, for in their deaths, we will take that next important step of learning what went wrong. We use that knowledge to move one step closer toward the expansion of human kind.

Yes, entering the wilderness kills people, but we press on, and win out in the end. And in that winning we rediscover what it is to be human, to have heroes that show us our honorable qualities; and to have the villians who show us the despicable qualities, all that make us who we are. We discover the heroes who lead us onward, the villians we despise and overcome, and the humanity in us all that works to press on no matter what the cost, because we know, that the world we make will be better for our children, and their children, and their children’s children, forever. Because we are human, we remember, and we, go on.