This article originally appeared in Bob Deutsch’s column on the Huffington Post.
It was only a little more than a decade ago that Mars passed close to Earth, just a stones throw, relatively speaking. Many people looked up. Many more people said, “so what?” Just as Brian De Palma’s 2000 film, Mission to Mars, had an astronaut making contact with his own humanity as he reached out to alien life forms, and just as Ridley Scott’s new movie, The Martian, about a left-behind Matt Damon who brings out the best in all concerned in an effort to bring him home, so too for America. America needs a renewed space program just as Abbott needed Costello: To fully realize itself, to become who it is.
America is on a treadmill. Moving in a simple and recurrent two-dimensional space, burning calories, but going nowhere fast. What is required for physical and spiritual health is a balanced complexity of motion that allows one to be “here” and “out there” — to be simultaneously in your own personal space and in the space beyond yourself — such that a new higher-functioning individual with greater authenticity of expression is possible.