The Importance of Space Exploration

In the past 20 years, the US’ Space Program launched 3 million pounds of cargo and transported more than 600 passengers and pilots all in aid of space exploration. 

Cumulatively, they spent more than three years in flight and logged more than 366 million miles. 

While no one can deny that exploring space is cool, many people believe it to be pointless. 

Some believe that the money spent on space exploration could be better spent here on Earth. However, exploring planets outside of our own has more benefits than you may realise.

 

The History

After World War II, what started as a ballistic missile-based nuclear arms race between the Soviet Union and the United States turned into the Space Race. 

This was a 20th-century competition between two adversaries to see who was more technologically advanced.

Since the countries were technically at war, no expense was spared. It was a unique opportunity in time because two of the world’s strongest economies were throwing all of their money at space exploration.

The rate of advances made due to the unlimited budget and competitive nature was incomparable. 

The discoveries made didn’t just benefit astronauts; the technological inventions helped everyone on Earth.

 

The Technology

The technology that was invented because of the space race continues to influence everyday life. 

GPS was probably the most impressive invention developed initially for military purposes of navigation and weapon targeting. 

Today GPS is used for personal navigation, ride-sharing services, and even to track our Amazon packaging.

It even helps improve fitness trackers’ accuracy, such as the Apple Watch, Fitbit, and others. It is also the key to newly-emerging technologies such as self-driving vehicles. 

But this space-derived technology didn’t just make our lives easier; it made our lives healthier. 

Thermometers that Nasa created to measure the amount of energy emitted by stars and planets helped develop infrared ear thermometers. 

Plus, artificial limbs have been engineered and improved using the same technology that the space program used to create shock-absorbing robotics and materials.

Even the modern CAT scan traces its origins to the space race. 

These are just a few of the many technological advances that we enjoy today that came from human curiosity to explore outer space.

 

The Philosophy

Space exploration is about more than just making scientific discoveries. The very reason behind people becoming astronauts is curiosity. 

Going into space is the epitome of humans ‘leaving the nest’.

According to Business Insider, seeing the Earth from space causes a shift in awareness: “Seeing planet Earth from space can cause a shift in awareness, according to NASA astronauts. 

Space Exploration_2.jpg
Out Of This World: The Apollo 8 was the first shuttle to take space exploration to the next level

“This state of mental clarity is known as the ‘overview effect’, in which the viewer becomes overwhelmed and awed by the size of Earth.”

When the Apollo 8 mission went to the moon, their purpose was to see the moon, not look back at the Earth. 

However, they did turn around and, for the first time, streamed a live feed of the Earth from space and changed the lives of everyone watching.  

 

The Future – Plan B

It is hard to think of our planet as dying, but many people believe that it is. 

Global warming isn’t the only threat to our fragile world. Many hope that space exploration will help us find a planet B.

According to Dr E. R. Klein, space exploration is humanity’s single most important moral imperative. He is not the only one who feels this way. 

Despite the Star Trek cliche, space truly is the final frontier. 

It is pretty spectacular that humans can explore it and that a handful of us are dedicating our lives to it.

Space exploration is incredible, life-changing, and it is not a waste of money. 

By exploring space, we discover ways to improve our lives on Earth. 

Even if we never find a way for humans to live outside of Earth, the inventions that come out of space exploration will help us Earth-bound humans live our best lives.

Photos: Shutterstock


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