Why Space Exploration is Worth It

Why Explore?

We are pioneers, explorers and adventurers. Champions of discovery and unravelers of mystery. It’s in our nature to question, to wonder whats past that hill, or whats past that sea, or whats past that sky? And we may even be the only ones out there questioning, but we’ll never know for sure without space exploration. Space literally is the final frontier, the final place unknown. George Mallory, one of the first mountaineers to to reach the peak of mount Everest [1], was once asked why climb it? His answer “because its there.” [1] This sentiment personifies space exploration, we want to push the boundaries of what is possible, achieve the un-achieved, and venture to new heights. George Mallory died on his way down from the summit of Everest [1], but was it worth it? was it worth the resources, or his life? These are the same questions we grapple with today in the terms of space exploration. George Mallory gave his life to push humanity to a new level of discovery, and to see a day when we as a collective have pushed further then what was once thought possible. And today we have the same opportunity.

pillars of creation

Awe inspiring image of the pillars of creation in the eagle nebula. an image only achievable via space exploration (image citation [2])


New Technologies

  • calculators
  • cell phones
  • digital wristwatches
  • GPS finders
  • infrared cameras
  • laser surgery
  • materials used in running shoes
  • pace maker batteries
  • personal computers
  • radiation-blocking sunglasses
  • satellite TV
  • Teflon
  • ultrasound
  • Velcro
  • water-purification systems

We have space exploration to thank for all of these previously unknown technologies, all of which were invented or developed for the space program. [3] When asking the questions of space travel, we are forced to find answers to previously un-asked questions. and as a result we make incredible discoveries. and the discoveries don’t stop there. Space exploration is expected to improve our knowledge of cryogenics, robotics, and solar power energy in the coming years. [3] These advancements offer great changes in how we heal the sick, how we power our homes, and how we protect our planet. [3]  Space travel indirectly solves practical problems, and the technological reimbursement of space exploration comes out as astronomical.


Advancement of Our Understanding

How did the universe begin, how did we get here, is there life beyond earth, are there other civilizations, can we find a new world to support us if ours no longer can? The solutions to all of these questions can only be solved by space exploration.  Learning about what’s out there and better understanding the universe itself is something we must strive for! Take the Hubble space telescope for instance, this high powered telescope launched into orbit in 1990, [4] has solved some many questions we had about the universe around us. Dark matter, which makes up 23% of the universe is now better understood and mapped, [4] we now know the universe is 13,800,000,000 years old, [4] we also confirmed the universe is expanding, and its only growing faster! [4] These incredible discoveries don’t directly make life on earth better, but they do give answers. They help us understand what our place in the universe is, and fill in the gaps of what we can see from earth. growing our knowledge of the universe is inherently good!

The Hubble Space Telescope

NASA,. The Hubble Space Telescope. 2010. Web. 15 June 2015.


The People on the Ground

Another key advantage of space exploration is job creation. In 2012, NASA employed 7000 scientists and engineers in the field of space exploration. [5] However, Space Explorations touch the lives of us on earth in other ways as well. One of NASA’s to priorities is education, [5] and to encourage the masses to pursue STEM careers (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), [5] jobs we desperately need. Space exploration also births inspiration. Many of today’s greatest scientists were inspired by Space exploration initiatives such as the Apollo program. [5]


Conclusion

Space Exploration has a plethora of benefits for us, in the small picture and the large. It fulfills our fundamental desire for exploration, it brings us great technological advancements, it is the solution to the fundamental questions of our universe, and it inspires the next generation of innovators. Currently, Canada spends less then a third of a percent of its budget on space exploration, [6] more needs to be done to push the boundaries of what we know, and to unravel the mysteries of the universe.

 

Do you agree with my sentiment? Why or Why not?

How do you think your life has been effected by past space exploration?

 

For more information on Space exploration: See my past post: Space Colonization: Mars and Venus or Cameron’s post on extremophiles.


 

Citation

[1] Milton, Giles. ‘A CORPSE ON EVEREST: THE DEADLY FINAL HOURS OF GEORGE MALLORY.’. SURVIVING HISTORY 2015. Web. 15 June 2015.

[2] NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)/J. Hester, P. Scowen (Arizona State U.) 2014. Web. 15 June 2015.

[3] Cliffsnotes.com,. ‘Why Is Space Exploration Important?’. N.p., 2015. Web. 15 June 2015.

[4] Cbsnews.com,. ‘Top 5 Discoveries From The Hubble Space Telescope’. N.p., 2015. Web. 15 June 2015.

[5] Howell, Elizabeth. ‘What Are The Benefits Of Space Exploration?’. Universe Today 2015. Web. 15 June 2015.

[6] Boucher, Marc. ‘Would A Liberal Government Reform The Canadian Space Program? – Spaceref Canada’. Spaceref.ca. N.p., 2015. Web. 15 June 2015.

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