Who is the most famous person ever to have been born? This is a question that has likely been pondered more in our modern day society than it was a hundred years ago. With the advent of advertising, television, social media and the modern day Q score, popularity is something we measure weekly if not tweet by tweet.
Notwithstanding the popularity of popularity, the question I ask is a much more philosophical one. What makes a person famous? Not this year or this decade but over millennia? Typically it is been a world leader such as Genghis Khan or a spiritual founder such as Jesus, Mohammed, the Buddha, or others we may conjure in our minds.
My assertion is that the most famous person in the world, a person that will remain famous long after the Rocky Mountains have been pulverized into dust, has yet to be born. Despite the fact that they have not yet been born, I can already tell you what it is they will have accomplished and I am nearly certain they will be born in our lifetimes. How can that be you may be wondering?
The most famous person in the world, yet to be born, will be the first person born off planet Earth. How can I say this with such certainty? Because transporting our DNA and replicating it off our terrestrial orb will be the single biggest achievement our species has ever accomplished. It will represent more than any particular space mission or moon landing or asteroid deflection. It will be the beginning of our species as citizens of the universe rather than citizens of earth.
Put in this context, it perhaps becomes even clearer how the priorities of our societies remain at such an unconscious level. How can we over value forms of infamy that couldn’t possibly stand the test of time? Space and its exploration is not just cool or novel but it is the destiny of our species. It is the single biggest opportunity to change the frame by which we evaluate what is truly important for the future of humankind. Working to make this a reality is a noble cause, a cause that will endure the long arch of our future’s history.