VII Congress of the Association of Space Explorers
Berlin, Germany
September 30-October 5, 1991

General Statement

The Seventh Congress of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) was held in Berlin from 30 September to 5 October, 1991. The Congress theme, "Space Has No Boundaries,"expressed our vision of the future - a future of potentially limitless promise, uninhibited expansion of knowledge, boundless excitement of our youth, and ever increasing international cooperation.

In conjunction with our theme, ASE invited speakers from the United States, the Soviet Union, and other European countries to discuss the greatest of future space activities - human journeys to other parts of the solar system - which, as part of a balanced effort with robotic missions, promise to unite the Earth's people in peaceful and productive enterprises that will benefit all of humankind.

Human exploration of the solar system is a challenging and inspiring initiative that can promote global understanding, peaceful cooperation, scientific progress, technology development, and educational excellence. This massive effort will clearly include opportunities for participation by many countries. It will provide a focus for space science and technology programs in all of the spacefaring nations and enhance new initiatives in emerging nations.

In addition, human space exploration will do much to improve life on Earth. We Space Explorers have learned from our flights that the Earth is a fragile and endangered planet. One of our highest priorities is to educate the public on the dangers to, and to take actions that protect, the home planet for future generations. Space technology enables us to monitor the conditions on Earth. It can also contribute directly to limit environmental damage. Human exploration technologies have created a new awareness and knowledge of the global nature of environmental issues and contributed to new methods of power generation, environmental control, recycling, and other applications that lead to a cleaner, healthier planet. In addition to ecological benefits, space technologies have contributed significantly to new pharmaceutical, electronics, communications and energy advances that have improved the quality of life on Earth during the past thirty years.

The Earth will always be the home planet, but it will not forever remain our only outpost in the universe. Humankind has already taken the inevitable step of leaving this planet to explore other worlds. It has been thirty years since the first bold flights into space. In 1961, Yuri Gagarin, Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, and Gherman Titov established the path followed by more than 250 men and women from twenty-one nations. Space stations have provided semi-permanent homes in space and individuals have continuously lived there for more than a year. Twenty-four humans have traveled to the Moon and twelve have walked on its surface. We are now capable of leaving Earth, living in space, and visiting other parts of the solar system. We have already done all of these things.

While much more remains to be done and learned, there are only three basic questions. What are our future destinations? When shall we travel to them? How will we plan and conduct future missions while maximizing benefits to humanity? ASE endorses a program that leads to a permanent human presence on the Moon. However,the ultimate destination is Mars. If we begin now, the first human mission to Mars can take place as early as the first decade of the next century. We believe that the necessary political, economic, and technical support can be obtained only with broadly based, and fully integrated, international development of the human mission to Mars and its precursor robotic missions. The great missions of space exploration should represent the best of humankind's talents and imagination from all the nations of Earth.

We believe that international space exploration is a fundamental part of a vision of the future in which humankind, both people and nations, learn to live in harmony with each other and with technology; using space technology to protect the home planet, to improve the quality of life for everyone on Earth, and to make other planets livable for humans. This twentieth century vision, that will drive the scientific discoveries and technology developments in the 21st century, should receive special attention during 1992, the United Nations International Space Year.

Therefore, we urge the legislators of all nations to endorse space exploration initiatives, to allocate full funding of essential technology developments and studies, and to remove barriers to full international cooperation. We urge all space agencies of the spacefaring nations to continue their efforts, to place higher priority on exploration initiatives, and to fully integrate potential international contributions into existing and future systems architectures and mission studies. We urge all citizens, and particularly those of spacefaring nations to actively support exploration initiatives - peaceful activities that can improve the life of every citizen of the Earth.



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