Steve Fossett and GlobalFlyer set Flight Record

Steve Fossett piloting the Globalflyer has become the first person to complete a solo airplane flight around the world.

Mr Fossett’s flight was backed by billionaire Richard Branson. The airplane GlobalFlyer was designed and built by Burt Rutan who also designed SpaceShipOne which won the Anasari X Prize last year.

Many people wonder why things like this are important, and how people, corporations or governments can spend huge amounts of money on projects like this during times social strife, global unrest, and even war. Shouldn’t we solve all of those problems, before we “waste” money on frivolous things like adventure and discovery? Well I can confidently say HELL NO! As a society we are never going to be satisfied with the status quo, and if we waited until everyone was, we’d never get anything done. I’ll even go as far as to say, right now, we pander to much to special interest and splinter groups, instead of focusing on core beliefs and goals.

The second part of the problem is the government is too focused on governing, and not on leading. Yes the government is a “big business” and needs a lot of assets and resources to keep it running smoothly. However most politicians are concerned with reading the poll numbers and playing it safe. Well here’s the conflict, nobody ever invented or discovered anything by being safe. Columbus setting sail to discover a new trade route to India wasn’t safe, Magellan circumnavigating the earth wasn’t safe, and President Kennedy daring to put a man on the moon wasn’t safe.

When we challenge ourselves to step out of our comfort zone is when we grow. The computers used to send the men to the moon were less powerful than those your PDA or iPod, and it’s because of those challenges that computers have progressed to their current levels, and we are able to do the amazing things we do now. It’s just not computers, it materials science, electronics, and even botany. The batteries that power your dustbuster, cordless drill and cell phone are descendants of space exploration technology. Plants that can grow vertically instead of horizontally, with less water and soil, arose out the needs of space exploration. These new discoveries trickle down and benefit everyone.

So while it is important to be concerned with current events and problems, let’s not let the short term goals be mutually exclusive of long term ones. Let’s challenge ourselves and our leaders to grow, and discover and innovate. And lets recognize and reward the people with the courage to do so.

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