Ich kann das nicht umformulieren.

Since the beginning of manned space travel, astronauts have been sending messages with what they bring or don’t bring to space. The first American moon visitors read from a Bible they brought with them, while the first human in space, Soviet Russian Yuri Gagarin, is said to have claimed that he didn’t find God in the sky.

Afterwards, the symbolism has become very run-down, for example, stuffed animals were often wrapped. But today, as space tourism gains momentum, it seems that grand gestures are becoming popular again: During the third tourist flight of the company Virgin Galactic on September 8th, one of the three guests on board, British and South African citizen Timothy Nash, brought two fossils of human ancestors. He is a researcher in this field. One fossil is an Australopithecus sediba, from the genus of great apes (hominids), which also includes the orangutan, two million years old; the other is a Homo naledi, 250,000 years old and therefore a contemporary of the first humans, who have existed for about 300,000 years and differ from him in terms of their much smaller cranial capacity. The former already started walking on two legs, „although probably very unsteadily,“ as it is said, but was primarily a good climber. The latter also enjoyed climbing but was already able to cover long distances on foot.

Kann die Erde verlassen werden – ist es ein lang gehegter Traum der Menschheit?

Nash states that he is „humbled and honored to represent South Africa and humanity as a whole by taking these precious representations of our collective ancestors on this first journey of our ancient relatives into space.“ And what is the meaning? From Matthew Berger, who discovered the first fossil, we hear that it was one of the early „individuals“ who probably looked up at the stars in wonder, just like us. This explains the reason for taking it along: even this ancestor would have liked to engage in space travel, but could not do so at the time! We have long heard from ourselves, Homo sapiens, that traveling to space is an „ancient human dream.“ Therefore, as we witness our Earth burning, it seems that it does not need to be saved, at least that is not happening. Instead, humanity is fulfilling that dream by soon leaving Earth and moving elsewhere. This is increasingly suggested to us, not only in Yuval Harari’s books. Those with money, like those tourists, are treating themselves to a preview. Such a flight, which lasts a few minutes, is now said to cost half a million dollars.

It is nice to watch such things in movies: how primates „look up at the stars in wonder“ and even climb a tree to try and catch the moon with their hand (2001 – A Space Odyssey). But what should they have been wondering about? Plato is probably more right when he says that wonder is the beginning of philosophy – which hasn’t been around for long. And it requires more brain capacity than that of Homo naledi. Even during the time of myth formation, the sky was indeed a central theme, but not a mystery, rather a projection surface: the sky is to the earth as female is to male or vice versa, Claude Lévi-Strauss formulated the basic law of all myths. Eichendorff hasn’t forgotten it: „It was as if the sky had kissed the earth in silence.“

Es erinnert einen an Karl Marx.

In Christianity, it is indeed salvation to go to heaven after death, if sins have been forgiven. The secularization of this idea has apparently left traces in current space tourism. Wealthy people today unconsciously believe that they can take their salvation into their own hands through ascension. And how merciful that they not only think of themselves, but also of humanity, yes, even the primates! Even the Australopithecus is allowed to rise again, which he has been waiting for so long! One is reminded of Karl Marx, who said that religion is the opium of the people: dreaming of heaven prevents tackling earthly problems. However, we still do not know if the people will forgive the rich.