Many countries in the 20th century were proud to claim space exploration successes. Several findings emerge from a cost-benefit study of space exploration, raising serious questions about their significance.
With the introduction of new private companies and nations, space exploration efforts have intensified in recent years. In addition, institutions and governments are investing vast sums of money in space exploration and research in order to develop more sustainable space exploration instruments and collect more precise data. There are a number of reasons for the resurgence of space exploration, including preparation for the unknown, making humans interplanetary, advancing materials research, and gathering more data about the Earth.
Since the first successful space exploration, there have been debates over whether or not institutions and governments around the world should spend taxpayer money on space exploration and research. However, it is challenging to provide a justification for the total amount of money invested in such projects. When using neoclassical thought, it becomes clear that the funds may be put to better use elsewhere, and that space exploration is not one of them.
What is Space Exploration?
Astronomy and space technology is used for space exploration, which entails looking around the universe. Though astronomers use telescopes to explore the universe, both manned and unmanned robotic spacecraft are also used to explore the physical aspects of space. One of the main sources of space science is space exploration, which is also a form of classical astronomy.
History of Space Exploration
Space exploration has been a part of human history for a very long time. Ancient cave paintings from the Stone Age contain the earliest examples of humans gazing upward and pondering the universe. The act of physically exploring space while using a spacecraft is known as space exploration.
Astronauts’ work in this sector is referred to as space exploration even though it is not done within our atmosphere because the term has frequently been used as a stand-in for human exploration. Everything started when Dutch scientist Hans Lippershey created the telescope in 1608. Galileo was the first person to ever use a telescope in 1609. On the Moon, he observed mountains and craters as well as stars that were invisible to the unaided eye. Following his discovery, Galileo drew what he had seen and described it in his book Sidereus Nuncius.
Astronomy and mathematics made strides throughout the Renaissance, which improved space exploration projections. As a result, we are now in the modern era, where humans have been sent into space and have successfully landed on the Moon. A lengthy and intricate history of space exploration exists. It is composed of a wide range of distinct occurrences, inventions, and discoveries.
Arguments Against Space Exploration
Money poured into space exploration is unnecessary and pointless until all the other crucial issues affecting our planet are resolved. When millions of people around the world go to bed hungry every night, it makes no sense to spend billions on space exploration.
Some people also lack access to adequate housing, while others cannot afford even the most fundamental forms of medical treatment. Moreover, most people everywhere still endure pain as a result of fresh catastrophes like Ebola, HIV/AIDS, and terrorism. There are new emergencies, but billions are being wasted on space exploration while certain programmes to address them are severely underfunded, with fatal consequences.
Arguments in the Favour of Space Exploration
In the event of an unexpected external invasion, some may argue that space exploration is undertaken to safeguard the survival of the human race. The benefits of space exploration include the identification of promising new settlement sites, the identification of new energy sources, and the deterrence of any external threats. However, that would be a mistaken assumption given the continued existence of numerous internal dangers that have not been neutralised.
There are several compelling arguments in favor of space exploration. Here are some key points to consider:
Scientific Discovery: Space exploration allows us to conduct research and make significant scientific discoveries about our universe. It has led to breakthroughs in astrophysics, planetary science, and cosmology. The knowledge gained from space missions helps us better understand Earth, its history, and its place in the cosmos.
Technological Advancement: Space exploration drives technological innovation. Numerous technologies developed for space missions have found applications in daily life, such as GPS systems, satellite communications, weather forecasting, water purification systems, and lightweight materials used in construction and transportation. These advances improve our lives and stimulate economic growth.
Global Cooperation: Space exploration fosters international collaboration. Many space missions involve partnerships among multiple countries working together towards a common goal. This cooperation promotes diplomatic relationships and peaceful engagement between nations.
Resource Identification: Exploring outer space enables us to identify potential resources beyond Earth. Asteroid mining, for example, presents an opportunity to extract valuable minerals and elements that are scarce on our planet. Accessing these resources could help sustain future generations and reduce the strain on Earth’s finite resources.
Environmental Monitoring: Satellites and space-based instruments play a vital role in monitoring the health of our planet. They provide valuable data on climate change, deforestation, pollution levels, natural disasters, and more. This information is crucial for making informed decisions regarding conservation efforts and mitigating environmental risks.
Inspiring Future Generations: Space exploration captures the imagination of people young and old alike. By venturing into the unknown, pushing boundaries, and achieving remarkable milestones, we inspire curiosity and a sense of wonder in future generations. This can lead to increased interest in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), which fuels innovation across various industries.
Planetary Defense: Studying celestial bodies allows us to track and understand potentially hazardous objects that could pose a threat to Earth. By identifying and characterizing near-Earth asteroids and comets, we can develop strategies to mitigate the risks of potential impacts, protecting our planet and its inhabitants.
Space Tourism: As space exploration continues to advance, the prospect of space tourism becomes increasingly feasible. Commercial entities are already working on offering suborbital and orbital flights for private citizens. This industry has immense potential for economic growth, job creation, and expanding human experiences beyond Earth.
Human Curiosity and Exploration: Humans have an inherent desire to explore the unknown. Space exploration satisfies this curiosity and enables us to expand our understanding of the universe. It provides a sense of adventure, discovery, and exploration that is vital for our intellectual growth as a species.
Spurring Innovation in Healthcare: Technologies developed for space missions often have spin-off applications in healthcare. For example, advancements in telemedicine, compact medical devices, remote diagnostics, and life support systems can be traced back to space research. These innovations not only benefit astronauts but also improve healthcare delivery on Earth.
In conclusion, governments and institutions with an interest in space exploration should only invest in such programmes once the most pressing problems facing society have been resolved. Prior to spending billions of dollars, it is crucial to examine the motivations behind space exploration and the various strategic options under consideration. However, most people around the world see space travel with optimism and support various space exploration initiatives.
Inspiring national pride, solidarity, and shared achievement. Importantly, space exploration is not always a waste of money because it can contribute to a country’s growing expertise and prosperity. However, I believe that funding for such programmes should be reserved for when more pressing social and economic issues have been resolved.