*** This story was written as an inspiration for the Robex-Exhibition at Haus der Wissenschaft Bremen in 2015 ***
When the early humans began their way to discover what lies behind Africa, they set out for an uncertain future. They travelled lands they had never seen before, not knowing where their journey would lead them and what they would encounter. Leaving old paths and familiar environments behind, they had to learn to adjust to different, often extreme circumstances, fight new dangers and find out about poisonous plants and deathly traps the hard way. But despite all risks, despite all uncertainty, our ancestors continued their journey. Where did this urge come from? What motivation turned them, turned us into explorers? Are we insane?
Within 50 000 years, our human species spread out across the whole planet. No other mammal has shown such a strong urge to explore before, a permanent curiosity, strong enough to cope with all challenges ahead. Scientists say part of this restless behavior might be tied to our genes. However, curiosity alone doesn’t make an explorer – you also need the right tools. For the early human, these tools were the long legs, skilled hands and the smart brain. During the journey of mankind, this toolkit improved and expanded: Boats were built, better equipment was crafted and even our body evolved.
Today, it seems, we have mastered our planet. We domesticated animals, cultivated plants, filled billions of books with knowledge and take the life we lead amongst advanced technologies and intelligent devices for granted. The adventure, it seems, is gone. However, our curiosity lies in our nature – and while we don’t have to worry about our daily survival anymore, it raises all those big questions in our mind. Where did we come from? Where will the future lead us? Will we ever find out? We invent, we research and we dream, about distant places, big adventures or sensational discoveries.
Despite the ongoing urge to find out more about our universe, adventure and discovery seem far away. We live our daily life, fulfill the tasks we were assigned to and try to enjoy some spare time. Too complicated and expensive is the technology for the individual to easily contribute to further exploration, to abstract are the details and terms to understand what is going on without much effort. Today, we need experts to lead the way. We need engineers that use their knowhow to develop an advanced and complex toolkit and we need scientists that dedicate their life to finding and interpreting abstract information.
This is where ROBEX comes into play. At ROBEX, experts of both outer space and deep sea combine their knowledge to approach their goals more efficiently than ever before. They are the ones who can show us what lies behind earth and below the sea. They have the tools and the skills to make real discovery and adventure happen. And one day, they may be the ones who can answer our big questions of life and who can bring us to distant planets. But first, they need a stage to show the world what they are capable of and why they should be supported. We can contribute to this first goal by addressing the curiosity of the potential visitor of the exhibition and allowing them to truly understand and feel what it is all about.
We want to get further. We want to know more. About hidden corners of our planet, about myths, truths and forgotten stories, about the infinity of the universe and the secrets of other galaxies. It might be insane – but it is worth it.