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Man has been fascinated by heavenly bodies since time immemorial. The inquisitive nature of human beings pertaining to what lies beyond the glittering sky and the mystery of how the moon constantly changes shape, made man embark on a journey to space. In this regard, early scientists like Galileo delved into astronomy in a bid to demystify the theories of creation and the possible existence of other heavenly bodies aside from earth.
These early astronomers faced resistance from the church, because they were proposing scientific theories that went against the doctrines of the church. By and large, significant strides have been made in space exploration ever since the first man landed on moon (Lambright 174). Despite the fact that space research has some negative effects, it has highly benefited the human race.
Advantages of Space Exploration
Some scientists are arguing that the earth is currently coping with population pressure, which is straining the available resources. From an economic perspective, there are too many competing wants that should be met by limited and non-renewable resources (Czysz and Claudio 269). Consequently, space research is paramount in the research on possibilities of harnessing space resources. Arguably, space resources may be used to augment production on earth so that firms do not go out of business due to input scarcity (Morris 5).
It is important to note that space exploration has enhanced people’s understanding of how fragile our planet earth is. Through space exploration, the human race has been able to appreciate that the universe needs care from each one of us. Moreover, it is as a result of space research that some questions regarding how the universe works has been answered.
Space exploration has provided answers to questions like, what exactly is up in the sky and what goes on there which would otherwise be troubling human beings (Huadong and Ji 10). On the same note, many students are motivated to work hard in their studies by the idea that one day they might be among the astronauts who will discover something new.
Admittedly, space exploration has led to the discovery of new and faster modes of communication, thanks to satellites that have been launched into space. There are many internet applications that are used for navigation via Global Positioning Systems (GPS) which are aided by satellites in space.
Furthermore, images of the earth can be captured from space enabling the location of buildings or other objects (Morris 7). The information gathered is useful to civilians, the government and security forces in fighting crime. Additionally, satellites in space also improve the accuracy of weather predictions by meteorologists all over the world. At the same time, satellites can be used to develop reliable Early Warning Systems (EWS), to mitigate the effects of calamities such as tsunamis and earthquakes.
Similarly, space exploration has contributed to the study of other atmospheric phenomena like global warming and climatic changes, thus helping in the preservation of the ecosystem (Huadong and Ji 23). In this regard, space exploration has highly influenced the improvement in modern science thus positively contributing to technological advancement.
Furthermore, space exploration stations offer employment opportunities to many people, from non-skilled workers to professional scientists. Besides improving the living standards of these people, space exploration also helps in fortifying economies of participating countries (Rau 5).
Additionally, machines used in space exploration are bought from various companies, some of which are large and influential in the economy. Therefore, space exploration is indirectly beneficial to economies because money that critics argue is wasted in exploration is actually channeled back to the economy by way of purchases and salaries.
On the same note, space exploration widens the knowledge base of scientists involved. Consequently, technological advancement that has resulted from space exploration is useful in other sectors of the economy (Lambright 181). Most importantly, there are cases where the widened thinking of space scientists has led to paramount discoveries on earth, like the artificial heart.
In this regard, the importance of space exploration cannot only be looked at in terms direct benefits, but also on the indirect benefits like spin-off technologies (Rau 15). On the other hand, there has been great technological advancement due to the need to explore the space. As scientists are working hard to advance how they conduct their space exploration, they have managed to advance computer and robot technology.
Disadvantages of Space Exploration
Much as space exploration is good, there are negative effects that have been linked to it. To begin with, space exploration is a very expensive affair because it entails launching of spacecrafts several miles into orbit with expensive precision instruments on board. For the most part, politicians and the public at large get disgruntled when an exploration falls short of expectation and astronauts come back without making any headway in their endeavors (Czysz and Claudio 13).
Some may argue that there is no need to channel resources outside the planet yet they can be more productive here on earth. Instead of feeding people who sleep hungry in different parts of the world, governments choose to fund space explorations which sometimes do not give positive results. The people who bear the brunt of the wasted money are struggling tax payers, who labor hard only for their money to end up in smoke.
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When spacecrafts get into orbit, they are controlled by astronauts who are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the mission is completed to the latter. Unfortunately, due to the risky nature of the flight to space and the temporary stay over there, accidents can occur which harm or even kill the astronauts (Rau 26). There have been instances where rockets blow up mid-air due to technical malfunctions thereby causing death of the astronauts and wastage of money.
There are prospects of building a multi-utility space station in orbit, to improve efficiency in research. This is an initiative that will hopefully be realized in the next decade. Moreover, engineers are also looking at the aspect of capacity building targeting building of bigger spacecrafts.
The big spacecrafts will come with additional facilities and safety features to counter any contingencies that may crop up (Huadong and Ji 35). Curiosity is what landed man on the moon and still remains part of human nature. Therefore, each generation will want to know more about space than the previous generations. As a result, space exploration is a necessary evil that man has to live with.
Though its dissidents will forever be campaigning against it, space exploration will continue to spur technological and economic growth for centuries to come. It is important to note that benefits of space exploration are more than just the knowledge that is gained. They include how well we are able to appreciate our universe using the knowledge and the ability to build a good future for generations to come. Consequently, space exploration is worth its cost.
Czysz, Paul A., and Claudio Bruno. Future Spacecraft Propulsion Systems: Enabling Technologies for Space. New York: Springer, 2009. Print.
Guo, Huadong and Ji Wu. Space Science and Technology in China: A Roadmap to 2050. New york: Springer, 2010. Print.
Lambright, Henry. Space Policy in the Twenty-First Century. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2003. Print.
Morris, Neil. What Does Space Exploration Do For Us? Oxford: Raintree, 2012. Print.
Rau, Dana Meachen. Space Exploration. Minneapolis: Compass Point Books, 2003. Print.