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My journey into space As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

quotes (French Pilot, Writer and Author of 'The Little Prince', 1900-1944)

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. Eleanor Roosevelt quotes

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. is what it read on top of the arched doorway of the ARC-1 as we walked through it. The year is 2020 and us humans have managed to upset mother nature to such extents that she now denies us sanctum in her lap. Post the withdrawal of Russia and China from the Kyoto Protocol which instructed all developed countries to limit their carbon footprint , World War III was at our doorstep . Even though world leaders had managed to avert a war just the fear of one had started an arms race that had a devastating impact on the environment. Weapons were being produced in large numbers and all industries had let go of the pollution norms that had earlier regulated the emission of harmful toxins in to the atmosphere in order to maximize their production. As a result of this the ozone hole that previously had just been present over Antartica had now spread over most of the Northern Hemisphere thus exposing a large number of people to the harmful ultra violet rays of the sun. The scientist at NASA had termed this phenomenon as IROL or the Ireversible Regression of the Ozone Layer. Though India tried to maintain a neutral stand towards the arms race between America , China and Russia it still fell victim to IROL. All super-powers that had earlier dedicated all their attention to the arms race now had realized that the human race was heading down the road to extinction. NASA , ISRO and other space organizations launched a refugee program that was going to transport all forms of life from earth to earth-like planets that had now been discovered orbiting Mars. Uninhabitable My family and I were part of the third pilgrimage to these earth-like planets which were now being called ne`os (new)Asia , ne`os America , ne'os Europe and ne'os Africa as each planet was only big enough to incorporate the population of each major continent respectively. My family and I had boarded the Asian Refugee Carrier (ARC-1) which was scheduled to take off from the ISRO headquarters in India. As we buckled ourselves in I glanced around to look for any familiar faces but couldnt find any, though I did notice the mixed reactions on everyone's face. Some were thrilled while most had their eyes closed in prayer to the all mighty . The countdown had begun for take-off and as the clock on the big screen struck zero we were all rattled to the core with the roar of the spaceship's engine. For the first couple of minutes we couldnt move ourselves as if our backs were glued to the seat but as the minutes passed our bodies returned to their normal state. As soon as I could move myself my first reaction was to look out the space ship's window . The image that followed was breath taking , one could see an ocean of never-ending darkness but from somewhere around the edges of this pitch black ocean emitted a blue light. After a few minutes the source of this mysterious blue light came into focus , it was none other than the blue planet that we had just left behind. One cannot fathom the beauty of the earth by being on the planet like one can viewing it from the heavens. It was truly a spectacle fit only for the gods but on this day we too were given this honor. But gradually that blue gem we once called home zoomed out of focus as we began to exit from the earth's orbit. We all got an absurd sinking feeling as the earth completely blurred out of vision but this feeling was soon overcome by surprise as beams of different colors burst out of the dark corners of space. These beams were the result of a solar storm that our ship was caught in, though it was an extremely dangerous situation to be stuck in the scene was almost surreal. If one was to describe it then it would resemble that of being lost inside a rainbow. The storm was making the ship shake like it had a fever and then came nearly blinding

flashes of light through the windows caused by the colliding electrons of the storm. Most people who previously were trying their best to remain calm were now praying out loud and everyone had firmly grasped the hand of their neighbor. The trembling soon came to a stop and then there was silence. This silence of uncertainty was soon shattered by an announcement that instructed us to look outside the window, as we all turned our heads and peered outside the window a red hue filled our eyes .We were now orbiting the big red planet Mars, and the planet we had only seen in movies and images was even more beautiful than one could have imagined . The trembling that was still there from being trapped in the storm was slowly beginning to fade away as the crimson hue had filled us with warmth and a feeling of safety. We felt like the planet was calling to us and as if we were gradually being pulled towards it , but soon this feeling turned into reality as we were actually being pulled towards the planet due to its gravitational field. We had almost completed half a revolution around Mars when at a distance four tiny spherical bodies had started to come into focus. There was another announcement which instructed us to return to our seats and prepare ourselves for landing. All aboard the ship were startled as we realized that we had lost any and all track of time , the journey which was going to take us four days to complete was already coming to an end. As we returned to our seats and buckled ourselves in our main focus still remained on the four spherical bodies that had now started to resemble four miniature versions of the earth. All planets were almost ironically placed at the four corners of an imaginary square , it was ironic to me as we were at the beginning of an era where we would again have four corners of the world. As we approached what we presumed to be Neo's Asia I could only imagine what mixed feelings everyone present on the ship must be having regarding the new shoes they were all going to step in but the thought in my mind was clear. We have a chance at redemption and we must make the most of it.