OPINION

Space has a way of bringing us all together

Entrepreneur Elon Musk finally lands a rocket on Mars and begins building his human city. However, no sooner has he poured his first slab of concrete when millions of martians come out of the ground pointing advanced laser guns at him.

Elon Musk falls to his knees and screams "Oh Lord! I'm finished!"

However, a voice booms from outer space: "No you're not! Take the laser gun from the small martian and fire it at the martian leader."

Musk grabs the laser gun and fires it at the martian leader, who in seconds melts into the red Mars dust.

The voice from outer space booms again: "Now, you are finished!"

I was going to tell you about the pub that Neil Armstrong opened on the moon, but it failed. No atmosphere.

Earlier this week, it wasn't exactly huge news in Australia when a joint project between the European Space Agency and Russia's national space corporation, Roscosmos, failed its second test for landing a spacecraft on Mars.

I don't think we make much of a big deal about space travel here in Australia, even though one of the three tracking stations in the world capable of still communicating with Earth's farthest spacecraft, the Voyager 1 satellite (more than 21 billion kilometres from Earth) is in Canberra.

By its very nature, advances in technology create advances in technology. But rarely do we recognise that the spike in technology over the last 50 years is heavily in debt to space travel.

Add to this that the radio telescope in Parkes, better known as The Dish, was one of only a few antennae used to receive live television images of humanity's first moon landing and you realise that Australia has contributed significantly to the world's space exploration.

However, space exploration doesn't seem to pass the pub test, at least at the country pub.

Many people I've spoken to, especially in regional Australia, seem to think space exploration is all a bit of a waste of time, money and resources.

In spite of the advantage that we in the country have over those in the city when it comes to stargazing, due to the reduced levels of night lights and pollution, many in regional Australia think spending money on the poor or the environment is the better option.

By its very nature, advances in technology create advances in technology. But rarely do we recognise that the spike in technology over the last 50 years is heavily in debt to space travel.

The computer mouse, laptop, nutritional baby formula, shock absorption and artificial limbs, freeze-dried food, wireless headphones, dust busters, cordless drills, water purifiers, Nike Air trainers, land mine removal, Cochlear implants, insulin pumps, the miniature cameras in one third of all smartphones and scratch-resistant lenses were all invented as a direct result of space travel research.

During the launch of his Falcon 1 rocket, Elon Musk admitted that he prayed for its success. Which, I think he would agree, was somewhat of a miracle.

But perhaps the greatest thing to come out of space exploration has been the effect it has had on countries with ideologies that are worlds apart.

Through space exploration, they have worked together on a common goal.

It was not just for the sake of performing a pleasantry that, in 1969, US astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin - as the first-ever humans on the moon, left behind a plaque that read "WE CAME IN PEACE FOR ALL MANKIND".

The Cold War between the Soviet Union and the US was nowhere near over and the closest of shaves with full-scale nuclear war via the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 was still fresh in the minds of all.

The space race had the Soviets and US trying to blast their own to infinity and beyond, which was so much better than trying to blast each other and the rest of us out of existence.

Today, the International Space Station continues to advance Russian-US relations up in the heavens, 400km above Earth.

Perhaps there are people you struggle with, but they're in your world, your place of employment or even in your home.

Think of ways and things you can work on together. You will make many discoveries and you will find peace.

Twitter: @fatherbrendanelee