I think Sri Lankans should seriously consider venturing into the space, and in particular to Mars. Their history shows that they are capable of going to undiscovered lands.
Take Prince Vijaya and his comrades, for example. Leaving their native Bengal, crossing the sea, and settling in an unknown island was not less difficult and ambitious endeavour in their time than going to another planet in our century.
There were no international flights 2500 years ago. There was neither Internet nor guidebooks from where they could get information before their journey. They travelled towards the unknown, ready to face any dragons on their way.
And they did it! They didn’t turn back. They reached their destination and established a new kingdom. In our time we should do the same. We should explore Mars.
I envisage the first Sri Lankan space mission called “Vijaya” and the first Sri Lankan station on Mars called “New Thambaparni”.
Sri Lankans haven’t lost their passion for exploring faraway destinations even in our time.
I often hear news about illegal migrants from Sri Lanka heading for Australia. They cross the ocean on tiny boats, facing storms, rocks, reefs, starvation and lack of fresh water.
I think they are brave people but, unfortunately, they have a wrong goal.
Being misinformed about what a “paradise” Australia is, they go there and end up living as second class citizens, often underemployed, suffering from discrimination and low self-esteem.
Many of them would be happy to return but they either cannot afford it or are afraid of being perceived as losers by their communities.
If their energy is turned into the right direction, the whole humanity would benefit from it.
Sri Lankans should teach their children from the very early age that going to Mars is better than going to Australia.
In Australia they will sell snacks, clean street and toilets. On Mars they will be pioneers, explorers of the planet, scientists and engineers whose names will be remembered by future generations of Martians. They will be new Vijayas.
And I believe that after terraforming, the climate on Mars will be more comfortable than in Australia. Can you expect anything good from the Australian climate after a few decades of global warming and the expansion of the Antarctic ozone hole?
There is another reason why Sri Lanka should start a space program.
I noticed from the news reports about captured boats with illegal Sri Lankan migrants that the people found on those boats are from all ethnic backgrounds.
When it comes to discovering new lands, all Sri Lankans — Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims and others — forget their differences and go together in the same boat.
I believe that extraterrestrial goals will create new inter-cultural bonds — such bonds that no power on earth can presently build.
Sending missions to Mars will unite all Sri Lankans.