While the World Worried

For the past two weeks the financial world has been worrying about falling share prices, and rising interest rates. But is it really all so gloomy out there? Let’s take a look at what has been going on in the real world, outside the share market echo chamber, over the past couple of weeks.

We’ll start with the big news. SpaceX, the company led by billionaire/entrepreneur/Iron Man inspiration, Elon Musk, successfully launched the most powerful rocket in the world. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favour and watch the launch video:

This launch was a test flight. Instead of taking the typical boring route of launching a block of concrete into orbit, Musk, in his usual style, launched a brand new Tesla Roadster. The image of a spaceman chilling in a shiny new electric car as he coolly circles the earth is what got the press’ attention. And that’s amazing in itself, hopefully doing it’s part to inspire a new generation of kids to imagine their place in the stars. But that wasn’t the most epic image of the broadcast; instead, it was this one:

To be clear, that’s not a picture of two rockets taking off. That’s two rocket boosters simultaneously landing back on their launchpads, after they have just launched a payload into space, and on the way to Mars.

It’s hard to underscore how much of a game-changer this technology is in terms of lowering the cost of space travel. Musk sums it up by asking us to imagine how expensive air travel would be if we built a brand new Boeing 777 every time we wanted to take a flight, then blew it up over our destination and parachuted down to the arrivals hall. The ability to land and re-use the entire rocket means the cost of space travel becomes just the cost of the propellant. What cost tens of billions of dollars to do in 1969, now cost just tens of millions today, and possibly, just a couple of hundred thousand tomorrow.

If you have children, there is now a very realistic possibility that they will grow up in a world where space tourism isn’t science fiction but science fact. #TravelGoals.

Even better? This is just the beginning. SpaceX have already announced that all their energy will now be focused on producing a new much larger rocket design (BFR) that will have the capability to put the first humans on Mars within a decade. Not a typo, Mars!

It’s up there as one of humanity’s greatest ever achievements. But it was far from the only step in the tireless march of human progress that occurred over the past few weeks.

Scientists at Stanford University in the U.S. have developed an anti-cancer jab that is about to start human trials. The injection promises to not only kill the original cancer, but also trigger a bodywide reaction that destroys cancer cells in unrelated areas.

As news.com.au reported: “Scientists in Scotland have produced the first fully-developed human eggs grown in a laboratory from the earliest stages in ovarian tissue all the way to full maturity”. This is a breakthrough that could significantly improve fertility treatment, and open the door to new regenerative medicines.

Researchers from the University of College London, unveiled a new memory test that can be used to detect Alzheimers up to seven years before symptoms first appear.

The NZ Herald reports that “A breakthrough discovery by New Zealand scientists could point the way to better treatment options for sufferers of allergies and asthma.”

And for the follicly-challenged among us, Japanese scientists have developed a way to rapidly re-grow hair.

The Takeaway

Whenever the news cycle gets too negative, take a moment to pause, and look around at the wondrous would we live in. The torch of human progress has never been extinguished. And if we keep our heads about us, it never will.


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