Act of God

Author: Divyang

 

As he looked down, he saw millions of people come together to pray. Not for themselves, not for their families, but for the victims of the horrendous crime called rape. It touched him. Acts of humanity from humans were rare.
Today, however, their support and sympathy was purely selfless, and selfless deeds that do not have a grain of benefit for the doer are the holiest.
He decided he had to intervene. He had let the humans run the world for long enough and they had failed. Miserably. Maybe this will send a message.
It was time, as they say, for a miracle.
****
It had been as if all his limbs had been drained of energy.
He had seen the slutty girl he had been following.  Alone. Seeing his chance, he had pounced. She had been asking for it, really. He had been sure she would give in.
The last woman he had raped had. She had struggled but had finally given up and laid down like a corpse with silent tears flowing down her face.
But as soon as he had grabbed her from the back, he had felt powerless, and the girl had pulled out a knife and a spray from her purse.
As she ran away, a voice pierced his ears. It made his ears bleed, but he could sense that it was divine. It seemed to be all around him, and yet it was only for his ears. The voice was singing something.
By some crazy birth right,
you had assumed it to be okay
okay to rip a woman of her integrity
and to forge them into claws.
Claws that hold her fast,
as she gets beaten down
into something more than a soul
but certainly not human.
For even now she wails
all through the night.
She wails, at the white blank walls,
when she sees the claws
somehow penetrate them
like they had done with her clothes
and crawl up the bed sheet
which she holds tight, up to her chin
like a kid, afraid of monsters under her bed.
For her, the monsters are only too real.
She wails and howls, at the blank walls
from which she is sure the monsters shall emerge.
These are the same walls that cage her,
the same she is not allowed to go out of,
in case she gets ripped again.
By some crazy logic,
you thought it was perfectly fine
to grab her dress and yank it off her.
And to make them into curtains
curtains she is even now afraid to part
in case one of you is standing outside her house
eyeing her like she was your own property.
But very soon, mark my words
those eyes will be scratched out
of their despicable heads.
And that dupatta you tore off,
while she struggled to keep it
in some horrible game of tug of war
shall be used to tie a noose,
and between its folds,
will not be her neck.
But this time, you will not get to take a peek
because hanging from it
will be your head.
In her panic, she had left a cut on his arm. A cut that wouldn’t stop bleeding even after an hour. The water and medicines that he tried to put on it seemed to be repelled, as if they were aware of the misdoings behind the gash.
It had been happening a lot lately. No one seemed to be able to lay hands on a girl these days. A friend of his who tried to get another girl had said that he had felt a searing pain and had gone blind for a few seconds, as the girl ran away. It had seemed ridiculous at that time, but now…
The scar couldn’t heal, and so could not the shame. It was all he felt now, as it dawned on him that he had been the recipient of god’s verdict.
****

Religion

Author: Divyang

 

Surviving through the ages,
we excluded it from the clutches of time.
But why should we,
as we leave old stuff behind,
and step ripe, into this modern age?

In the name of religion,
people are no more people, but animals
and cutthroats. It is a tool,
to make people drive trishuls through live guts.
Communities turned onto prey and predators,
all in the name of God.
This makes me wonder,
if religion needs to go.

In the name of religion,
these ‘secular’ politicians buy,
half the crowd with words,
and the other half with money.
This makes me wonder,
if religion needs to go.

The same people who worship the khans,
did not remember their favourite stars,
when they lighted fire,
to a crying Muslim child.
The terror of a baby,
fails to horrify them.
This makes me wonder,
if religion needs to go.

The same people who worship,
the ‘nine devis’, did not flinch,
while molesting ninety devis.
This makes me wonder,
if religion needs to go.

Religion today is a hoax,
and its followers blinded.
It cooks nothing but,
the dish of enmity,
with the stench of death.
This brings me to the cruel reality,
that perhaps,
religion needs to go.

THE HYDERABAD ENCOUNTERS- JUSTICE SERVED? AT WHAT COST?

Author: Rahul Srinivas

 

We know that the number of rapes keep increasing in the country and we, the citizens are more aware and enraged about it, now more than ever. Thanks to social media. The cycle of women being raped and the guilty getting away with it, while we stood and watched this injustice happen kept repeating until the 6th of this month.

The Hyderabad rape case consisted of a woman veterinarian of age twenty-five, who was brutally gang raped and murdered, and her body burnt. This inhuman act enraged the whole nation. The four suspects in this case were Arif, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen Kumar and Chintakunta Chenna Keshavulu. These four people were arrested to be interrogated. There was no concrete proof that all four had a part in this unspeakable act, and so they were taken for interrogation.

But, on December 6th, the alleged rapists were shot to death by the Hyderabad police. All the four suspects were encountered by the police. The police claimed that the suspects tried to flee and were armed, and hence they had no other option other than to shoot them for self-defense. This does sound a bit far fetched and cinematic.

But the effect these encounters had on our citizens was different. On that day, the citizens who were enraged of the injustice, the families of the victims who were mourning their loss and the millions of helpless souls that prayed for the ones who passed; everyone got an answer. Everyone stood united against the injustice. Everyone felt at peace for a while on knowing the fact that finally, someone did something.

But let us look at the facts for a minute here. These four alleged rapists were after all, alleged. There wasn’t any concrete proof to prove them guilty. And fortunately, or unfortunately, our system says ‘Innocent until proven guilty’. And in front of the eyes of the law, they were not guilty. In front of the eyes of the nation, they were not innocent.

There was a lot of controversy surrounding this encounter. A lot of politicians and celebrities like Akhilesh Yadav and Vivek Anand Oberoi, tweeted supporting the encounter while some stood against it as that is just not how the system works. But our laws allow encounters for self-defense. But is that what actually happened is still a mystery. Shooting and the killing the suspects at the same spot they allegedly killed the victim seems to be a bit much to be a coincidence though.

On one hand, the system does not allow this. But on the other hand, I feel that our system on itself is flawed. It takes a lot of time for concrete proof and to prove that the suspects are guilty. For instance, seven years have passed since the brutal rape and murder of the Delhi medical student Nirbhaya. The four accused are yet to be hanged even after getting the death sentence. A system that takes seven years to hang criminals who are proven guilty, is neither a fast nor an effective system.

Another flaw in our system is that the suspects can not be held in custody for that long as it is really easy to get a bail in our country. And is animals like these get bail this easily, they will continue to do these brutal acts again. So, basically the system would have allowed these suspects into the country to roam free and commit crimes while it should have already punished them for their crimes. The recent UP Unnao rape victim’s situation clearly saw the full extent of this flaw.

The victim was raped by two men, who were granted bail. A few days ago, when she was asked to appear on court for the hearing, she was abducted by five men- the 2 accused, their fathers and another male. They took her to a field, poured kerosene on her and burned her. She called the police and ran for almost a kilo metre by herself, in that condition. She was then admitted and sadly, passed away in the hospital.

Her final words said that she wanted to see those who did this to her be hanged. She died without her last words coming true.

So now you decide. Was the encounter of alleged rapists and going against the system for justice wrong? Or is a system that doesn’t punish the guilty and allows these animals to roam free wrong?

Cavemen

Author: Divyang Arora

From the day we are born, everything’s fuzzy. It’s like we are surrounded by a layer of haziness and nothing is clear. We are told to live the same life that millions before us lived and billions after us will continue to, and most of us don’t question that. There’s a phase where we all think of rebelling, to go against the norms and challenge something that has stood its ground for years.

In the last few years I have met a lot of people who had a fire in their eyes as they told me that they won’t submit to the society’s expectations, that they would carve their own little niche in the mountain, separate from the cave everybody else has been sitting in. Slowly they all grow tired of carving it and you can see the fire die as they submit to what they sometimes call their pre-written destiny. When there’s already a well-made cave to live in, they say, why should we do all this effort when everybody else is comfortably settling down? Some of those who get close to carving it realise that they would be alone in it and that thought scares them. Maybe people will follow their example and bring their axes to expand that small hole and make another cave, but maybe they wouldn’t. If they don’t, well, nobody’s ready to take that risk. Maybe they realise they can’t build a fire in their hole because it’s too small and doesn’t have enough air for the fire to burn for long. They aren’t ready to stay cold till their hole is big enough. That struggle is more than they can handle and less than what others expect of them.

It’s tough to open your eyes in this cave. Sometimes your eyes are open but you can never be too sure. Is it dark because your eyes are closed or is it because your eyes are open but there’s no light in the cave? Sometimes you are too frightened to open your eyes because God knows what horrible sights wait for you. So you live in your illusions. You refuse to open your eyes and just feel other blind people around you and go wherever they are going because the feeling that you’re not alone gives you comfort. You touch the walls and walk alongside them, failing to acknowledge the idea that there can be paths in other directions.

You walk the tried and tested path, which has led everybody to not exactly a happy, but not horrible either, place. In retrospect they tell you that it’s been a fine journey, forgetting all the sleepless nights and the hopeless ends, because no one remembers bad times when they are gone, and you believe them. You trust their experience and refuse to hover over the idea that maybe what the majority says could be wrong. You live in your cave. You refuse to progress. There will be times when you will try to blame the other blind people that you held onto for the path you followed, but there will be no one to blame because you didn’t see their faces. Maybe then you’ll blame yourself for trusting the wrong person. In the end, though, you’re going to sit around that fire in your cozy cave, telling the newcomers with a sigh what a satisfactory walk it has been, hiding that you wish it had been something more than satisfactory, and they will listen to you, because somethings never change. Because no matter how far we reach, in some ways, we will always be cavemen.

Fault Lines

Author: Aditi Chandrasekar

We’ve all been witness to at least one or two cases of artists going mainstream, by giving into whatever will please the dominant society, their success measured by the absolute measure of their popularity-rampant in the entertainment industry. There has always been a constant battle between art and its commercial production, and there always will be. It is an effect of a larger issue-the “herd mentality”, which would take pages and pages to fully delve into, but here I would just like to highlight its negative impact on traditional artists. An illustration of this would be the life and death of an exceptionally talented artist named Jangharh Singh Shyam. In July 2001, his untimely death, caused by suicide, in the Mithila museum in Japan was widely reported about. Soon after the shock of the incident wore off, theories surrounding his motive started cropping up, from mainland cities to the most far-flung regions. People wanted answers, and were good at formulating them too. The most accepted one was that he committed suicide due to the pressure put on him by the museum to continuously produce paintings. He reportedly wrote letters filled with frustration to his wife back home, asking her to arrange for his return. A report in The Hindu said his passport had allegedly been withheld by the director of Mithila Museum and his stay extended beyond what was initially agreed upon. This caused wide-spread rage and the museum came under fire. They denied their involvement and refused to pay any compensation which was obviously frowned down upon by everyone. But this brought to the forefront a larger, looming issue- the degradation of art by demand, its corruption by society. Before the unfortunate progression of events that led to his demise, Jangarh Singh Shyam was a genius of sorts. In his birth village of Patangarh in Madhya Pradesh, he was a ‘pardhan’-someone responsible for orally transmitting the Gond way of life. Soon after being discovered by Jagdish Swaminathan, his aptitude for painting became evident. His first solo exhibition at Dhoomimal Gallery in 1984, was poorly attended. However, success soon came to him-that is, if we refer to his popularity as the only measure. His battle against the fault lines between art and dominant society had only just begun. In 1988 he was told at an art gallery that his usual attire of shirt and pants wouldn’t “seem authentic” and was directed to wear a loincloth and turban to more closely resemble the public’s idea of what a tribal would look like. He was frequently seen merely through the lens of his cultural background, and continues to be even after his death. In Jangarh’s life and death, lie several unanswered questions about the wicked, but common, practice of exploiting art for commercial gratification.

tangit inanis

Author: Saumyaa Sinha

 

A door creeks open

It’s open now

Go

Don’t stagger on your bare numb feet

Don’t think twice

Don’t blink

For it isn’t to be missed

You look so empty

I can barely hold your eyes

Neither can I sympathise

You look so distant

Almost as if….

As if you don’t exist

But you do

Because my heart goes out for you

You’re enervating

You make my knees weak, week by week

You do, because when I see your slumping stature

I quiver

You do, because you’re after all an epiphany

You’re me

You’re an aberration

You

With lipstick replaced by blood bitten lips

And your cold smitten heart drips

Of awe

Of a comfort so divine

Like sweet melody

Of a hollow chime

You

Fingernails beat the keypad

Staccato of sweet outbursts

You

No care in the world of your dust strewn hair

A wreck across your harsh face

A face

Massacred by…

By what?

I can’t place my shaky finger on

And arid eyes

Your uncanny ability to never cry

You shuffle along, lonely paper balls rustle

Expressions lie on the floor

Ephemeral

They remind me of fireflies

Lights abate

Lives abate

All at once, and several

It spins

My head, your defences

Cold prison cell bars give me support

I’m sorry

But, welcome home

Come here

The door has creaked open

My mind, body, heart and soul

It’s open now

Go

Don’t stagger on your bare numb feet

Don’t think twice

Don’t blink

  

Just walk right in

Reborn

Author: Janani Ramachandran


Dewdrops slid down her body
As the snow began to thaw
Uncovering her buried form
That lost its way in the expanse of the perfect white
The sunlight reflecting in her ebony irises for the first time in a long time

One could say she was lifeless
But one look closer
One could feel the slight ministrations of her uncertain breath
Slight yet steady
Like the stream opening to a mighty river
Her ebony irises
Like the inky starless night sky
That conceals a million behind its inky curtains

Her pale arms scratched with blood red scars
Her soft flesh pierced by rough wood and dirt
The fair mixed with the brown
Giving rise to a new hue
The colour of her cocoon
That would give rise to the new her

Her colourless lips encrusted with dried blood
New Ebony hair peeking out from a mass of lifeless strands
Her fat eaten by the ice
Stripping her to her bones
Yet she looked full
In complete harmony with the ice complementing her starved form

They called her a miracle
When they felt a slight twitch in her cold wrist
They had thought that she would’ve snapped
Like the great trees amputated by winter
They’re great arms twisted by the unforgiving cold
Yet there she lay
A subtle pulse in her lifeless form

It should’ve frozen her heart
Crushed her bones
Sucked the life out of her lungs
Iced her blood to bed her in a coffin of ice
There was an endless list of what should have happened
But nothing of what had happened was found in the pieces of parchment

She was alive
Her blood gushing into her veins
Stronger than ever
Her breath like the beginning of a hurricane
The colour returning to her pallid body
Gasps of awe as they watched her arms twitch
Yet what almost everyone missed
Was the drops of liquid lining her closed eyes

Dawn had arrived
The first beam of sunlight hit her heart
A reminder that the wait was over
As her eyes opened
There was a certain light in them
Like a falling star in the inky night sky
That commanded attention and respect
But most importantly fulfilled a wish
It fulfilled hers
She had been reborn

Too many mouths

Author – Vignesh

‘So, while I’m here being confessional, I guess I have a sudden urge to say something that I’ve never really been able to air in public. So, a declaration that I’m really nervous about…..Loud and proud, right? So, I’m going to need your support on this….’ It was 2013 Golden Globes awards. A famous Hollywood actor standing on the stage along with fellow actor Robert Downey Jr. as a hall full of famous figures sit and watch her fidgeting ‘I..am…’ she holds the mike as well as her breathing, as the crowd leans to the edge of their seats expectantly. ‘single’ she says and the hall erupts in laughter. This was Jodie Foster trying to explain that she indeed was homosexual, yet shying away from even uttering the word ‘gay’. Today we know that the USA and the rest of the world which includes India has come so far.

TEDx Talks releases a video on Youtube on November 16, 2016, named Homosexuality: It’s about survival-not sex. The speaker: Dr James O’Keefe MD tries to justify that same-sex marriage and being gay was only nature’s response to the overpopulation of humans. He says ‘You all have gay genes in you!’ as the crowd gets really uncomfortable. He goes on to say that homosexuality is not against nature but rather a part of natural selection. A loving couple that doesn’t reproduce but takes care of its herd is exactly what an overpopulated planet like ours needs and that nature knows it.

On 15th March 2019, Brenton Tarrant, the 28-year-old Australian who the media describes as a white supremacist walks into a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand and guns down 51 Muslims. Minutes before his attack, he posted a 74-page declaration text that serves as a “justification” for his act whose details were disturbing and bizarre. He details that all the environmental problems that we face including global warming were a consequence of overpopulation and the world is in a desperate need of population control. The reason why chose a mosque was because, in his own belief, Muslims were the ‘highly fertile’ group. So why is a well thought out and a profound doctor and a terrorist worry about the same thing? Overpopulation is a recent concern that is brought up by endless pop culture releases in different media, from the books like Dan Brown’s The inferno to the movies like Kingsman and of course, Avengers: Infinity war but is it really a problem?

population bomb.jpg

The whole argument that too many mouths to feed equals a problem hinges on the fact that we have limited food. Any resource is professed to be a zero-sum which is the concept that anything that is gained on the consumer’s side is lost by the other side: the source, that is the planet that provides us with the resources. It’s not wrong to think that way. After all, with the water crisis that our country is facing right now and we are told that there is only a constant volume of water existing on our planet and we are running out of it.

It still begs the question: have we really understood the problem though?  Yes, there’s no denying that an increase in demand at a short period of time calls for attention but is population control really the solution? Well, no.

There is another resource that we are running out of. Fossil fuel. We have fuel rates increasing and the government to put the blame on. After all the cold wars and the fight against terrorism paraded by the USA in order to obtain control over oil for years. Now, all that has settled down a bit and now the talk is shifted towards making Electric Vehicles and how to pioneer a way to be oil – independent. Statements that water will be the resource that the countries would be fighting each other for in World War 3, not oil have gained attraction. It is intriguing to think that both oil and water are limited. Yet, the fight for oil has settled down a bit. How did that happen? That is because, while in a technical sense resources are limited, they are really not.

We used lamp oils derived from seeds of canola, sunflower and in extreme cases, by killing whales from the oceans to light our homes. We had our existing populations do the heavy lifting such as moving wheels and machinery, that mined coal which in turn powers up printing machines that would imprint news texts on papers made out of uprooted trees to pass information. Did that lead to an inevitable doom? Did the trees and whales go extinct as the population exploded? The truth is, what we call resources is only limited by our very own imagination. Anything has value only we value them. If we just start to think differently, we may never run out of resources.

In the year 1879, Thomas A. Edison takes credit for inventing the bulb which turns electric energy into that of light. Transistors are invented by American physicists Bardeen, Brattain and Shockley right after World War 2. Now, we have the unlimited source of electromagnetic waves that power up industries and offices letting people work 24/7 through electricity and the transistors revolutionising the same industry with computer electronics and automated machines as well as of course, the smartphones we use to share information. We didn’t stick to the papers or the oil lamps. We innovated. We developed. More population doesn’t mean just more mouths to feed, it also means more minds to think and more hands to work. The real solution to the problem of overpopulation is not genocide or homosexuality, it is, after all, education. Enabling the existing population to think or work is enough to find new resources as we go.

Have you ever heard of the meme that everything in the world is invented by Indians? The invention of diodes followed by that of transistors was by Jagadeesh Chandra Bose. The invention of ‘zero’ of course is credited to Aryabhata. Endless new areas on mathematics unexplored to this day were claimed by Srinivasa Ramanujan. Even the advances in optical fibre technology, on which the today’s internet run on owes the fundamental optics starting scattering effect of light, a phenomenon that was first discovered by Sir C V Raman. Why is it that all the groundbreaking ideas originate from the land that is the second most populated? Countries around the world are making new efforts to eradicate carbon-emitting businesses. India is pushing its automobile industries to make electric vehicles as it is seen to be the future. A future that is independent of oil. Engineers are looking for new ways to produce fresh water every day in labs through researches. The future is not dark. Apocalypse is not nigh as long as there are researches, universities, labs and funds. It’s us, the students who think, create new ideas and innovate!

ALL STRINGS DETACHED

Author: Nikita Suryawanshi

 

“You only lose what you cling to”-Buddha

While maturing from children to adults, there are many people that we interact with; many things and experiences we come across. A connection to many of these ensues and hence we bind them to ourselves through strings- emotional or mental strings. These attachments are the ones that we carry forward as memories. Some of these strings push you to become a better person but some of them hold you back, not letting you discover your entire potential. However we do not easily let go of them. Call it irrational or melodramatic thinking, all of us have something or someone that is very close to us. Be it that toy from your childhood that you don’t play with any longer, the article of clothing that doesn’t fit you anymore or the friendship which never ended on a good note.

But there is a very unique bliss in the art of detaching the strings. Letting go is a very difficult task, I agree. Yet there is a surreal feeling that follows when you are aloof. I am not saying that we should cut all the baggage that we carry around. No; that’s never going to be possible. But maybe, once in a while, we deserve to give ourselves a break. Why drain the energy out of our minds and bodies for something that may not even be worth it? We have the right to insulate ourselves from things and relationships that are toxic and only bring us distress. 

By letting go, we are freeing ourselves from emotional bondage. We learn to detach from others choices, understanding that their life lessons are not ours to manipulate. Detachment allows us to be in the world but not of it. True detachment is not a separation from life, but the absolute freedom within you to explore living with joy and ease.

Putting it simply: unwind, relax, take that trip you have been planning, complete your bucket list and enjoy doing it. Let your mind be at peace with itself.  When you have loosened the strings pulling you back, you give yourself the liberty of being who you are. You start treating yourself with love and respect, regardless of all expectations and judgments. The only expectations that matter are those that you have from thyself and thy life. When we learn to set intentions with detachment, magical things begin to happen for us. If something still does not work out, then close that door with acceptance and move on into another open door. 

Detachment from this world does not mean that we should own nothing, but that nothing should own us. We give away our power and freedom when we become attached to things, emotions, situations, and people. This does not mean detaching from a person we care about, but from the pain of negative involvement. Detachment gives us wings of freedom to choose our experiences, yet allows us to be present enough to feel deeply and to truly experience living. 

A look at space exploration’s evolution- and its challenges

Author: Akshat Kashyap

 

“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”, the famous words uttered on July 19th, 1969 by Neil Armstrong when he became the first man ever to step on moon. This year marks the 50th anniversary since the historic event, and the progress made in space exploration has been unprecedented.

What began as a show of one-upmanship during the cold war culminated with Apollo 11’s landing on the moon, which inspired and paved the way for a spurt of human space exploration and advancement. From the competition to establish power among other countries, it graduated into a competition to find the best answers to go beyond the moon.

In the early 1960’s, Soviet Union had the upper hand in the quest to dominate space, as evident by several successful missions, such as the launching of first artificial satellite – Sputnik I, in the lower orbit of Earth, followed by a series of unmanned lunar missions as well as a successful attempt of sending a man, Yuri Gagarin, into space for the first time in human history. However, through all these celestial achievements, the US was preparing for something extraordinary, a manned lunar mission that would go on to be a watershed moment in the history of international space sector.

50 years later, not only the US and Soviet Union, but several dozen countries have made huge strides to satisfy the curiosity of what lies beyond the skies. 72 countries have formed government space agencies, of which 14 agencies have launch capabilities. Six government space agencies of the US, Russia, Japan, India, China and Europe have full launch capabilities. The achievements of India’s ISRO have been lauded worldwide with several missions, such as launching a record breaking 104 satellites from a single rocket, its Chandrayan mission which was able to discover traces of water on the moon, and the success of Mars Orbiter Mission, in which India was able to send a space probe to Mars on its maiden attempt. Several space agencies, by teaming up together, have been successful in creating a habitable artificial satellite- International Space Station-  where the astronauts live and explore more about the living and working in space.

But what truly shows the possibilities and opportunities in this sector is the enthusiastic participation of private entrepreneurs, including the three most recognizable billionaires on the planet- Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Richard Branson. Bezos established Blue Origin in 2000, Musk setup SpaceX in 2002 and Branson established Virgin Galactic in 2004. Iain Boyd, a space exploration expert and professor of engineering at the University of Michigan, says while the three billionaires are each very different, they were likely inspired by a similar frustration.  He says in the years and decades after the Apollo missions, with the limited success of the space shuttle programme and fewer funds being awarded to Nasa, there was a sense of an opportunity being wasted. As a result, it was natural that the entrepreneurs such as Musk, Bezos and Branson would seek to fill the gap.

The ambition of these entrepreneurs is grand.  Branson’s current project seeks to send six passengers and two crew to the edge of space, about 100km above the earth, by means of a two aircraft. Bezos’s current plan involves using reusable rockets to send a crew in a capsule to an altitude of 307,000 feet. The rocket returns to its launch pad, and the crew capsule separates and descends by use of parachutes.

In many ways, Musk’s plans are the most ambitious. While his SpaceX rockets are already restocking the international space station, again with reusable rockets, the South African-born entrepreneur also wants to send people to Mars. He has said his project could be ready to send people to the Red Planet – a vast undertaking that many scientists are skeptical about – as soon as 2026.

However, such projects, private and government, throw up new challenges, not just for technology and science but areas such as law. Right now, there are no rules governing space travel. Also, the Outer Space Treaty, a UN resolution first adopted in 1967 that prohibits the placing of nuclear weapons in space, is similarly lacking in detail.

There are also questions as to what impact the rush to reach other planets will have on our own. Some have said that by suggesting humanity can reach places such as Mars, there will be less incentive to address the pressing crisis posed by climate change.

But, no matter what consequences we face, there are still a lot of possibilities that have to be explored if the human population is to survive beyond Earth, as Konstantin Tsiolkovsky said, “Earth is the cradle of humanity, but mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever”.