Humanity entering the 21st century recognizes its place in the universe. For centuries, we devoted our time and energy into exploring our world and charting its territories. Eventually, there were no more new horizons to explore, no more new lands to discover. Then, in the early half of the 20th century, we realized that we exist in an enormous cosmos, filled with other galaxies and populated with billions of other stars. The advent of space exploration allowed us to explore the planets of our solar system in great depth, and probe their secrets and mysteries far greater than ever before. Our science, though always evolving, is now on the verge of asking and answering questions about the deepest and most complex levels of existence. As it stands now, though, it can provide a solid understanding and explanation to how we got here.

We, the humans living in the early 21st century, possess far greater knowledge about and a thus much deeper understanding of our universe than ever before. Yet there is so much still left to be discovered. We know very little about the mysteries of our oceans, which we have hardly begun to study in truly great detail. Though we have begun the exploration of our solar system, we still have so much still to learn. Every planet and every moon still holds deep secrets, and for a number of these worlds we have not yet devoted much time and effort to a complex, complete study. Indeed, it will not be until 2015 that Pluto has been visited and explored for the first time. Our scientific understanding of the universe still has far to go, as well. Our theories are constantly shifting and changing, and as we begin to unlock the secrets of the smallest and most complex levels of our universe, we will perhaps need to drastically rethink how we view the its workings. Fields such as quantum physics are still in their early infancy, and will provide us will great insights as we further work with them.

The coming centuries will be a time of great exploration and discovery. We stand poised for the greatest exploratory undertaking that has ever occurred in humanity’s history. As our species teeters at the cusp of becoming a space-faring civilization, we will more easily and more readily devote our energy and time to studying, exploring, and trying to understand the planets and solar system. There will come a time in the next few centuries when humans will land on, explore, and colonize the planet Mars and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. They will be able to carry out experiments and conduct research that the scientists of today can only dream about. They will produce results which provide answers that we today can only hypothesize and theorize about. Eventually, we will be sufficiently advanced enough to begin to send probe into deep space, and begin our exploration of the stars. As we build more advanced and powerful particle accelerators and have access to more complex technology, we will be able to probe the secrets of our universe more accurately and more completely. Science is a story of constant improvement. The scientists of the future, and of the far future, will have a far greater foundation of knowledge to work with than we, and will produce much deeper insights.

I wonder what great discoveries will be had in my lifetime. The 21st century will be one of far greater knowledge, and far greater exploration, than any other in humanity’s history. New technologies and the great new frontier of space beckons us to explore and discover, and I know that we will take up its calling. As we continue to investigate our world and our universe from on the Earth, and as we begin to develop and explore it from above in space, who knows what we will discover?