Anousheh Ansari Space Blog

Price of a Dream

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.