Cosmozation

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As if grasping all the nuances of globalization was not enough, President George W. Bush's call for a return to space has inspired at least one journalist to ponder the possible ramifications of cosmozation.

Andrew Lam, writing January 23, 2004, for AlterNet in an article entitled "The Cosmic Age" addresses Bush's "plans [announced] this week to send manned missions to the moon and Mars - with the cooperation of Japan and Europe - and establish a permanent station on the moon. And China hopes to have a manned station orbiting the moon."

Lam says that, "While thinkers and writers still haven't come to terms with the full impacts of the forces of globalization, another age is already upon us. Call it cosmozation. ... The word doesn't exist in the dictionary, but then, two decades ago, neither did globalization. Soon, Webster will have to add cosmozation, or something like it, in order to address man's intensifying relationship with the cosmos."

He cites social scientist Roland Robertson, who "defines globalization as 'The compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a whole.'" In a shrinking world, he says, "geographical constraints are overcome, while identities become multilayered, complex. As a species, we may not always get along with each other, but these days, thanks to an integrated economy and unprecedented mass movement across the various borders, and modern technology - satellites, cell phones, jet planes, the internet, and so on - we are, like it or not, constantly aware of each other's existence. We are, in fact, interacting and influencing one another on an unprecedented scale and intensity, regardless of the distances."

Likewise, taking "Robertson's definition a step further," he writes, "it seems inevitable that the universe too, shrinks and compresses as we explore and measure it, and infer profound implications from our discoveries. Cosmozation is the process in which man's awareness expands beyond the globe: He grows cognizant that he exists on intimate levels with the rest of the universe, that he is interacting with it, and, increasingly, having an effect upon it."

Lest this assessment appear "New Age" or a bit fanciful, there are very real world implications for cosmozation. The "space race" of an earlier era is already "on".

Lam points out that "NASA's 'Spirit', .... the space probe currenting roving on Mars, is sending back ... mesmerizing ... images of an orange rock-strewn plain ... Meanwhile, 'Stardust', another space probe, is on its way back to earth - as if in a fairy tale - with comet dust captured in its net. In a week, a second NASA rover will land on the opposite side of Mars to study rock sediments and signs of life. Adding to it all, another space probe, 'Cassini', will begin orbiting Titan, a planet-size moon on Saturn, later this year."

Our awareness of our planet's role in the universe is evident, as Lam points out, in "NASA's decision in September to crash the spacecraft Galileo on Jupiter rather on Europa, one of Jupiter's 39 satellites. Europa has an ocean under its ice and active volcanoes to boot. It just might be supporting alien life. Jupiter, on the other hand, is very hot and gaseous and deemed incapable of life. ... Crashing Galileo on Europa would have risked contaminating it with microbes from earth."

Lam also point out that "there is such a thing as self fulfilling prophecy: If Earth didn't receive DNA for a start up way back when, we are now actively sending out DNA through space with our space craft and satellites and shuttles. We know meteors constantly bombard Earth when we look up into the night sky and spot shooting stars.

"But more astounding," he says, "is what astronomer Lou Frank speculated about a decade ago and found new evidence for only recently. Using the Hubble Telescope to study Earth's atmosphere, Frank proved that Earth is constantly hit by snowballs from space. The implications are enormous: if snowballs from outer space hit Earth regularly, it is 'snowing' onto other planets, too, providing much-needed water for the primordial soup. We are slowly discovering that ours is not just a lonely blue planet amid the heavens but, in fact, it exists as part of an open and intricately complex system. Distant planets and alien civilizations, if once the stuff of science fiction, are beginning to be seriously considered by scientists."

However, there is another aspect to the concept of cosmozation, and that is the weaponization of space.

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