Why drown millions of dollars into space research? This is a question that a lot of people keep asking. Launching a space ship does take a considerable amount of money to be spent and these aren’t small figures but at the same time people also don’t see the bigger picture. The cost of running NASA for example is just 0.5% of the total Federal Budget in the US which is close to 18.4 billion dollars. So, even though the costs seem pretty high, in reality they are only a minuscule fraction of what a country spends. These expenditures don’t just get lost in thin air, there is an actual benefit to space research. So, let’s discuss the importance of space exploration.
Helping us understand the world better:
Space research has made us understand earth a lot better. The confirmed existence of other planets and the knowledge of how the earth functions and stands in the solar system all help in understanding the earth better. Seeing the world from above brings in a perspective like none other, it humbles you to know how tiny we are and how massively big the universe is. This understanding is what helps us move forward and not become stale. Humans are curious creatures and rightfully so. This curiosity is what has made us the civilized beings we are today and exploring the reaches of space is the next step in our thirst for understanding and gaining knowledge. You can’t put a price on something like that.
Innovation that trickles down into everyday use:
If you think that money spent on the research and development of technologies for space exploration only applies and is limited to space exploration, you are wrong. A lot of technology that we use on the day to day has its roots in space research. Everything from LED’s, MRI Scanners, shoe insoles, smoke detectors, portable vacuum cleaners and many more such technologies have been results of space research that has been adapted for large scale use. When you factor in the breakthroughs of such innovations and technologies, the costs of running space programs don’t seem to be too much, do they?
In the 1960’s sending satellites to space was seen as a stupid endeavor. It was seen as valuable money that could be used for something more fruitful. But, look at the world we live in now. We use satellites for a ton of different things. We predict the weather, use them to look out for any natural disasters that might occur, we have mapped the world better, we use them for surveillance, we use them for GPS enabled navigation and the most important of all Broadcast and Communication. You’re reading this article because of a satellite out there somewhere floating around orbiting the earth. TV broadcasts wouldn’t be possible without satellites, the internet infrastructure we have now would be limited without satellites.
We also rely on satellites to study the environment. It might seem that burning millions of pounds of rocket fuel isn’t helping the environment much. But, we need these satellites to research everything from air quality, the state of the polar ice caps and so on. Satellites also help us look out for threats from the other side. There are Asteroids that could cause large scale damage if they entered earth’s atmosphere and crashed into our ball of blue. But, because of satellites we now have a warning system in place that can tell us what is coming and when its coming, which gives us time to react to such events when previously we couldn’t.
The future of humanity relies on space exploration, the earth as we know it might not hold up to our exploitative practices. We are using up the natural resources that we have very fast and there is also the problem of an ever-increasing population. All this combined could leave us either with no resources to sustain life or even worse, it could leave us with a planet that is uninhabitable. Space research paves way for humans becoming an interplanetary species or making us capable of extracting resources from space.
There are entire planets out there that have resources that are waiting to be mined and used and as far as we know, those planets don’t have life to sustain. Space exploration paves the way for humans to survive in the long run, humans tend to never change until there is a very urgent need to do so, this has left earth in a state of despair and it doesn’t seem to be changing either. Its only gotten worse, unless we somehow turn this around and make life on earth more sustainable, leaving earth in the future is the most viable option.