Human kind is poised on the launch pad of the most exciting, transformational age of space exploration since the orbiting of Sputnik started it all, back in 1957. Despite the forces that are unleashing a race to the stars unlike any we have seen, the subject of space exploration and utilization has been conspicuously absent from the U.S. presidential campaigns.
We fret unduly about small risks -- air crashes, carcinogens in food, low radiation doses, etc. But we're in denial about some newly emergent threats, which may seem improbable but whose consequences could be globally devastating. Some of these are environmental, others are the potential downsides of novel technologies. We mustn't forget an important maxim: the unfamiliar is not the same as the improbable.