During a chaotic month, British astronaut Tim Peake’s return opens our minds to the possibility of a brighter future. No matter what happens to Britain after the 23rd, space is the place.
June has given us a lot to dishearten us and give us the impression that the future will be a backwards place ruled by intolerance, xenophobia and ignorance.
But while the world down below has been gripped in the madness surrounding gun violence, a world-changing referendum and outright political murder, astronauts aboard the ISS have been rekindling hope for the space-based future imagined in our youth.
Tim Peake returns to Earth on the 18th June, and it’s unknown what he’ll make of the Britain he comes back to. He’s the first Brit aboard the International Space Station and the first to go on a spacewalk; according to the European Space Agency he worked well beyond what was asked and even used himself as a guinea pig.
The experiments conducted on Peake’s own body will help us figure out how to protect the body against the dangers of space travel, bringing us closer to the reality of Mars missions and space tourism.
His mission has even inspired calls for more investment in the UK’s own space industry, with plans to build a spaceport in Newquay and make Cornwall the centre of the universe.
No matter what happens after 23rd June, we need to keep dreaming of space and thinking beyond the gravity well. Only then can we keep hoping for the future, rather than fearing it.