Space exploration is beneficial to mankind in many ways. It should not be viewed as a waste of resources, time, or money. There are different arguments concerning the issue whether space exploration is a waste or not.
Space exploration and astronomy in general allow us to learn more about our home, the Earth. We are now aware of the existence of other planets, stars, and galaxies that exist beyond it. As humanity develops, so does the technological exploration that improves our abilities to travel to space, which are beneficial to us despite the fact that many opponents do not agree here.
Counterarguments only consider the disadvantages that come with space exploration – for example, the expensive cost of operations. But we should take into consideration that space exploration comes together with important technological improvements. Heavy reliance on technology triggers extensive research that develops technical knowledge that is applied not only in space exploration. Doeden (2011) asserts that space exploration involves investigation of physical conditions in space and on stars, planets, and their moons using artificial satellites. Astronomy encourages future generations to focus on what is beyond the Earth whether for fun or scientific discoveries. In addition, it creates sufficient awareness about what is around our planet.
Public contention and politics have over the years become a big challenge for space exploration. It is a political problem because of the high level of resources required for the related projects. Some members of the public ask why it is necessary to waste their money on space while it can be spent for some other purposes. This is an indicator of the lack of knowledge about the benefits of space exploration. Not many people remember that owing to astronomy and space exploration, we have learned that there is water on the Moon, meaning that there is a possibility of existence of life. The efforts in this case were applied for the overall benefit of mankind (Morris, 2012). Competition to travel to the Moon was at first a political issue that became competition between countries (Sadeh, 2002).
Space exploration has the potential of discovering new concepts and phenomena about space. These activities resolve mysteries about everything that surrounds the Earth. Through the exploration of space, we may discover resources that will help us in future – for example, minerals and rocks (Kirkland, 2010). This would be a good investment because of the pressure on the existing resources on Earth. And it is not just a fulfillment of the human appetite for adventure; rather, there is a lot to benefit from. Stott says that the “majority of those against space exploration do not understand its benefits to humanity” (Stott, 2010).
Space exploration brings together different people from various research and science fields and puts them to work on some very difficult problems. The result in this case is seen in useful inventions and discoveries. Thus, space exploration triggers technological advancement and is worth its cost because it benefits the people. Without knowledge of our surroundings we become vulnerable to threats. The Sun, asteroids, and other things around us can pose a great threat. Space exploration gives us better understanding of all the possible dangers we face and our relationship with things like the Sun and the Moon. A number of arguments against space exploration show that we do not have enough money to waste on such activities. Underfunding of space exploration programs leads to poor results. Space travel costs millions of dollars for a single trip. It is possible to pay millions to go to space adventure tours. For tours that are more than just adventure, the cost is justified (Morris, 2012).
The satellites in space help us predict any hazardous weather conditions and provide services such as television and communications. Without space exploration, television and communication services would not be as they are. Angelo shows that space programs also lead to other cutting edge technology developments that critics still take for granted – for example, long distance communication and smoke detectors. Cost should not be a concern in such important matters. Space exploration has pros and cons in this case. It is necessary to determine the level of disadvantages as opposed to advantages in terms of expenditures.
The cost of space exploration is high, but the return is even higher, thus making space exploration well worth the cost. Those who are convinced that it is all about wasteful adventure lack knowledge about basic things like telecommunication satellites in space. It is true, we have to settle the matters down here before focusing on those outside…
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Space exploration is the ongoing discovery and exploration of celestial structures in outer space by means of continuously evolving and growing space technology. While the study of space is carried out mainly by astronomers with telescopes, the physical exploration of space is conducted both by unmanned robotic probes and human spaceflight.
While the observation of objects in space, known as astronomy, predates reliable recorded history, it was the development of large and relatively efficient rockets during the early 20th century that allowed physical space exploration to become a reality. Common rationales for exploring space include advancing scientific research, uniting different nations, ensuring the future survival of humanity and developing military and strategic advantages against other countries.
Space exploration has often been used as a proxy competition for geopolitical rivalries such as the Cold War. The early era of space exploration was driven by a “Space Race” between the Soviet Union and the United States, the launch of the first man-made object to orbit the Earth, the USSR’s Sputnik 1, on 4 October 1957, and the first Moon landing by the American Apollo 11 craft on 20 July 1969 are often taken as landmarks for this initial period. The Soviet space program achieved many of the first milestones, including the first living being in orbit in 1957, the first human spaceflight (Yuri Gagarin aboard Vostok 1) in 1961, the first spacewalk (by Aleksei Leonov) on 18 March 1965, the first automatic landing on another celestial body in 1966, and the launch of the first space station (Salyut 1) in 1971.
After the first 20 years of exploration, focus shifted from one-off flights to renewable hardware, such as the Space Shuttle program, and from competition to cooperation as with the International Space Station (ISS).
With the substantial completion of the ISS following STS-133 in March 2011, plans for space exploration by the USA remain in flux. Constellation, a Bush Administration program for a return to the Moon by 2020 was judged inadequately funded and unrealistic by an expert review panel reporting in 2009. The Obama Administration proposed a revision of Constellation in 2010 to focus on the development of the capability for crewed missions beyond low earth orbit (LEO), envisioning extending the operation of the ISS beyond 2020, transferring the development of launch vehicles for human crews from NASA to the private sector, and developing technology to enable missions to beyond LEO, such as Earth/Moon L1, the Moon, Earth/Sun L2, near-earth asteroids, and Phobos or Mars orbit. As of March 2011, the US Senate and House of Representatives are still working towards a compromise NASA funding bill, which will probably terminate Constellation and fund development of a heavy lift launch vehicle (HLLV).
In the 2000s, the People’s Republic of China initiated a successful manned spaceflight program, while the European Union, Japan, and India have also planned future manned space missions. China, Russia, Japan, and India have advocated manned missions to the Moon during the 21st century, while the European Union has advocated manned missions to both the Moon and Mars during the 21st century.
From the 1990s onwards, private interests began promoting space tourism and then private space exploration of the Moon (see Google Lunar X Prize).