Earlier today I sat down with another thirty million other people and watched a remarkable event on screen. It wasn’t televised – at least not here in Ireland – and I wasn’t even in the same country as most of the other viewers. I was all alone in front of the laptop watching the launch (or attempted launch) or the Orion shuttle to Mars on the NASA Live Stream. For those not familiar with Orion (I’m going to assume everyone has at least heard of NASA), it is the test flight to Mars which will hopefully make way for the first manned flight to the red planet. Depending on speed this little fuel tank on steroids can get to Mars in about 300 days. All of this fascinates me. Not because I would like to go, nor that there are people I would particularly like to see go (well not entirely), but because it says something really astounding about what we are able to do. We know that we can get off our planet. Think about that for a moment – getting off our planet. In time we may even be able to populate other planets in the solar system. As a species – as a crowd – we alone, on this planet at any rate, have achieved this, and we will do much more in the future. What we have to think about, together, is what we can do for people living on this planet if we are prepared to actually do something.

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