Our beautiful world is filled with people dying of starvation, diseases, lack of shelter, and a host of other problems. Yet, every year, billions of dollars is used to search and explore the solar system. Could this be a case of misplaced priority or just plain foolishness?
Opponents of space exploration do not see the need for such huge amounts of money to be wasted in space. After all, we are not through solving the myriads of problem in our planet. Even though the earth is riddled with problems that seem to be out of control, in this article, we offer you some reasons why we should explore the solar system:
- To colonize space: Our planet has undergone considerable damage which might never heal. To ensure that the survival of humanity is not threatened, we will have to look to another planet for sustenance. In addition, a UN environmental study reported that the earth can only support a population of between 8-16billion. However, with our current population of 7.5billion which is expected to increase to 10billion by 2056, we would be putting too much strain on the earth. Therefore, we have to begin the search for a new world to sustain ourselves.
- To have new raw materials: The solar system is packed with valuable raw materials needed by our society for development. For instance, the moon is rich in helium-3 which is a rare isotope on earth that is mostly used for research of nuclear-fusion. It also has an abundant supply of tantalum and europium which are extensively used in manufacturing electronics and constructing solar panels. With space exploration, we will be able to easily extract those valuable raw materials without all the bureaucratic roadblocks that characterize mining on earth.
- To understand our world: When we explore our solar system, we get to understand and appreciate how complex the earth is. It also gives us a glimpse into other worlds that are much different from ours. Similarly, when we look at the harsh atmosphere and impossible living conditions that other planets have, it gives us a deep understanding of why our planet is special.
- To inspire the younger generations: When the first time man landed on the moon, there was an influx of young people who were interested in pursuing careers in math and science. Most of these students had dreams of becoming the first person to either land on mars or to develop a technology that could take us there. Thus, continuous exploration of the solar system will keep supplying the industry with the manpower needed to achieve success.
- To produce new technology: A bye-product of space exploration is the new innovations that are discovered every day. Exploring the solar system brings together smart individuals from different fields. In the course of their work, these persons discover new inventions that are beneficial to humanity. From portable vacuum cleaners to healthier baby foods and thermal space blanket, the solar system exploration has given us lots of useful technologies that are making our lives easier.
- To satisfy our curiosity: Humans are naturally curious. Since we have almost discovered everything about earth, the solar system offers us another opportunity to beam our searchlight further. Exploring space could also give us answers to age-old questions we have had concerning the universe. Are we alone in the galaxy? How was our world created? In addition, we already know that there are planets similar to ours in the solar system. So, by going ahead to explore these planets, we could either encounter alien life or inhabit it ourselves. Either way, it is obviously a win-win situation.
Foregoing space exploration just to focus on fixing world problems is a futile and short-sighted idea. The only way for our civilization to continue its progressive advancement is for everyone to support scientific researches which include space exploration. Hopefully, with the reasons above, you too could become an ardent supporter of space exploration.
Photo Credit: Seasky