Anousheh Ansari Space Blog

September 14, 2006

Price of a Dream

Filed under: Space Explorer — by Anousheh @ 7:55 pm

How do you put a price on your Dream? Is it worth one month’s salary? Is it worth one year’s salary? Is it worth your child’s college savings account? Is it worth all your retirement money? Is it worth losing a limb? Is it worth dying for? What is the right price for a dream?

I don’t have an answer for it. But I believe it is different for every person. For me, I was ready, and still am, to give my life for my dream. Someone once asked me, “Would you go, knowing all the dangers?”

I said I would go even if I knew with certainty that it would be a one-way ticket. Russian Space Agency might not be interested in my life, but they are interested in my money ;-)

Where did my money come from… From hard work, an incredible amount of risk, and many sacrifices that my family and I had to make. Do we have the right to decide what to do with this hard-earned money? I would think so! Does this mean that I’m selfish and do not care about all the suffering that goes on in the world? Well, I must say that you need to get to know me better and decide for yourself.

However, I would like to share a few thoughts with you. How do you decide how to spend your money or effort when it comes down to making a change? A Big Change!

Let’s say you want to cure cancer. Do you go buy medicine for the cancer patients? Do you create support centers for the patients? Do you give it to a university doing research? Do you create a prize for cancer research? Do you create scholarship funds for medical students who will do specific research on cancer? Do you go find the biggest cause of cancer and try to lobby to destroy the cause?

As you can see there are many ways to tackle a problem. What you choose is up to you. The impact could be local and small and help a few in the short term — or it could be cause for a long-term epidemic change in cancer cases and prevention.

Personally, I almost always focus on long-term fundamental activities that address the root causes of a problem. I may not feed hungry children, not because I don’t care, but because feeding 100, or 1000, or 100,000 does not solve the problem. Many of the hunger problems occur because of drought and bad farming practices. Did you know that space research helps figure out changes in soil conditions and environment and ways of preventing crop damage?

Space scientists may be microbiologists, engineers, nutritionists, chemists, plant pathologists or other field specialists who work together to find ways of growing better crops here on Earth and in orbit, to produce renewable raw material for industries here on Earth as well as for use in remote moons and planets, and to find ways to save and protect our environment. I’m hoping I will inspire more and more people to go to these fields to find ways to keep crops from getting destroyed and better ways to grow crops so people will not go hungry.

You may also argue that hunger happens because of war. I would agree with that. I also think many people go hungry not because there is a lack of food or help from other countries but because of the lack of honest and effective systems to get the food in the hands of those hungry children. The only way we can change this is through education of our youth to become free thinkers. To be people of high moral standards in their own consciousness not based on standards set by others, and to use their imagination to bring about radical change when they see that change is needed. This is also a message that I’m trying to send to the world.

I support organizations like X Prize and Ashoka Foundation because they are not about making a difference in a small community. These organizations are about Changing the World and making it a better place to live for everyone.

What is the price of a dream…? For me, it is putting my life and my money where my mouth is.

A quick note

Filed under: Space Explorer — by Anousheh @ 7:17 pm

… responding to these comments on “Training in Backup”

2. hi dear Anousheh , my name is Anousheh too ! and i am from IRAN too! one years ago , i found your site in google and i am very happy that your name in ANOUSHEH! because in IRAN ,this name is very limited,now.
i hope that your tour will well and i am very happy that knowing you.
if you like email for me and you know i will happy so much …so much and so much..
TAKE CARE ,AND WITH THE BEST WISHES..
Anousheh M Majlesi

Comment by anousheh — September 13, 2006 @ 5:57 pm

Hi Anousheh,

I’m happy to know another Anousheh as well. Our name is indeed rare in Iran, or anywhere else for that matter. But I have to say everyone likes our name when they hear it. Especially here in Russia, our name has been a big hit. They have a similar name and to them it sounds very sweet and endearing. Do you know what Anousheh means :-)?

35. I was there during the two milestone runs in the Mojave, when Burt Rutan set the marker for the rest to take heed. I remember Burt’s speech afterwards, in particular his clever word-play on NASA (the Nay Sayers!). It was all encapsulated so perfectly. As I sat there, fluttering through my cue cards, I was reminded of a great story that was poignant then, and still resonates in light of Ms. Ansari’s choice today:

When Christopher Columbus neared the West Indies, his ships were well within eyesight for many days. Meanwhile, the natives on land would fish in the same ocean, swim and bathe, never taking into their reality that the ships were looming closer, just at the horizon line. How could they? They had never SEEN a ship before. The concept of such a thing was SO remote in their minds that they literally could not SEE it in their scope of the world.

But there was one native who was beginning to feel a stir in the air. He couldn’t quite focus on it, but his innate connection to his surroundings compelled him to take a sabatical to the shoreline. There he sat, and meditated, all the while searching in his soul for the thing he felt but could not see. And on the third day, he opened his eyes, and woke the village with it.

The medicine man turned to a fisherman, and he asked him: “Do you see that? Those vessels coming our way?”

The fisherman was confused, but would not dare dispute the medicine man’s vision. “Maybe. I don’t know. Wait. What are those crosses in the water?”. And it swelled like a brushfire. By the end of the afternoon, everyone in the village could SEE the ships. Suddenly, the massive ships that rowed forward with each passing wave, ignored by the natives who had no previous knowledge of them, came to form. Their spectrum of possibility was broadened that day, and the world would never be the same…

I don’t know if how I’m relating this story makes any sense, only that it took ONE PERSON to see, for everyone to acknowledge. In short, we don’t recognize what we don’t know. So when I see someone, a human being just like any other, walking along that seemingly impossible path, it suddenly makes it plausible to me. Why not space? It begins with that first step.

Anousheh, you’re taking that first step for yourself, while leaving behind a path for us to someday follow. I’m exhilarated with the possibilities that will be discovered, and the new world that your dreams have opened for us.

Humanity should be so grateful.

Comment by Ray Izad-Mehr — September 14, 2006 @ 4:47 am

I must say your analogy was beautiful… Thank you… It made me think of one my favorite books: “The Tipping Point.” I hope with the help of all you bloggers we would bring about the tipping point for a new world where dreams can come true, where people live together with understanding and peace, and where Space Travel is an everyday commute :-)

p.s., you may enjoy one of my favorite quotes: “Space isn’t that far – it’s only an hour’s drive if your car could go straight up.” — Sir Fred Hoyle

Inspire, Be the Change, Imagine

Filed under: Personal Spaceflight — by X PRIZE @ 3:35 pm

Anousheh designed the mission patch for her space expedition — a beautiful expression of her goals for the voyage.

Anousheh Mission Patch c

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