Space Exploration and the Importance of Star Stuff
There are many issues that the world should focus on. There’s poverty, socioeconomic inequality, deforestation, and the illegal drug trade, to name a few. But despite these, why are both public and private entities still intent on space exploration? Find out below.
Technological Innovation and Space Research
There are many useful products that today that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for people studying space. For example, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in NASA contributed to the invention of CAT scanners and radiography — both of which are essential in the field of medicine.
Even footwear is a product of space research. Specifically, the idea behind the Nike Air trainer shoes came from a former NASA engineer. The lightweight ear thermometer also came in part from NASA. Space research has contributions to the invention of smoke detectors and wireless headphones.
Furthermore, the satellites floating in space are necessary for accurate weather predictions, navigation via the global positioning system (GPS), and telecommunications such as radio and TV. The technology involved in ensuring that space missions succeed already benefits society in a variety of ways. Further exploration will lead to more useful inventions.
Protection from Space Threats
Everyone knows that a huge asteroid led to the extinction of dinosaurs. And while civilization has been around for some time now, one cannot be certain that no massive asteroid will hit Earth in the near future. Space agencies must not only study space but also help develop defense mechanisms against dangerous celestial bodies.
Back in 2016, Dr. Joseph Nuth of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center commented on how unprepared humanity is for asteroids and comets. The agency now has the Planetary Defense Coordination Office, but there is much more to do. They need to identify every near-Earth object they find and develop measures for intercepting space threats and evacuating affected populations.
Space exploration also matters because countries aren’t always at peace. War has been part of human history for a long time — and space might be the next battlefield. The space race is no longer just about Russia and the United States. China, Iran, Japan, and India, among others, also have space agencies.
It’s common to think that the increase in funding for space exploration is entirely beneficial. But there are always threats such as terrorist groups and hostile governments. Countries might want to claim a part of space as their own — and we all know how territorial disputes play out.
A Source of Inspiration for All
Space exploration cultivates a culture of creativity and a sense of wonder. When Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong first set foot on the Moon, there were global celebrations. Everyone knew that it was a significant milestone for the species as a whole. It proved that humanity was capable of so much more.
The TV series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage hosted by Carl Sagan made people curious about the universe and humanity’s place in it. Likewise, the more recent Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey series helps foster a scientific of thinking. It’s available online and you just need a VPN for streaming if you can’t access it.
Overall, space exploration must continue. It leads to innovation and is essential for the future of humanity. Plus, there is something amazing and humbling in knowing that each and every person is made of star stuff.