Mankind has been dealing with challenges since the first days of its existence. Human beings across civilizations have had to come up with solutions for everyday problems. These solutions are the cornerstones that have helped people expand their horizons. Curiosity is the embryo of all sciences; without it, there would be no biology or medicine, chemistry or physics, or any other branch of science. Without it, we would be stuck in the Stone Age. Nowadays, mankind is living in its peak of technological advancement, but the quest does not, and must not, end here. Human beings have an instinct to explore the unknown. Exploration of the universe beyond our planet is the epitome of the unknown; it sits at the peak of human curiosity, making it the steepest challenge that we have ever had to face.
The Ripple Effect
The Impact on Our Daily Lives
The exploitation of space has a direct impact on the lives of humans, as well as the state of our world. Satellites orbiting around the Earth enable communication across the world, connecting people of different continents and broadcasting information worldwide. The Global Positioning System (GPS) can identify our location anywhere. Furthermore, weather satellites can forecast adverse weather conditions, allowing humans to prepare for deadly natural disasters, and save lives. Satellites and other scientific instruments have given us valuable insight about the world, such as how mankind has had an impact on the rate of climate change. In addition, space exploration has an indirect impact on the development of technology because these enterprises require better, more advanced equipment. For example, the need to reduce rocket weight led to miniaturization, as evident in the microchip and the modern computer. Rockets, on the other hand, needed safe power sources and emissions; this led to the inventions of practical fuel cells. Scientists are trying to use these power sources in new cars that are cleaner for the environment. One invention leads to another.
The Impact on Humanity
Space programs can also indirectly contribute to the solution of poverty and world hunger. There are two parts to the problem of world hunger: food production and food distribution. Large-scale production operations, such as agriculture, cattle ranching, and ocean fishing, are efficient in some parts of the earth, but deficient in others. For example, large plots of land could be used far better if humans implemented technologies and methods that foster agricultural development, such as fertilizers, weather forecasts, and plantation programming. The most efficacious tool is the artificial earth satellite. It can screen areas of land within a very short time, indicating useful measures, such as the status of crops, soil, rainfall, and droughts; it can then, transmit this information to ground stations on earth for better use. Scientists have estimated that even modest earth satellites working within a program to improve worldwide agriculture can increase the production of crops by billions of dollars every year. The second part, distribution, is a problem of international cooperation. Some countries may be weary of receiving shipments of food from a powerful nation, fearful that there may be an ulterior motive associated with the assistance. Efficient relief from hunger will come when nations are less divisive than they are in the current time. Space technology is one of the most promising and powerful factors to solve this problem.
Space Advancements Touchdown on Earth
Advancements in Daily Life
The need for equipment of the highest precision and reliability requires major discoveries in technology and engineering. These sorts of discoveries have led mankind to opportunities to find new materials and methods, better technical systems, more efficacious instruments, and new laws in nature. Every year, numerous innovations generated in space programs are used in everyday life, such as farm equipment, radios, ships and airplanes, weather forecasting, communication systems, and medical equipment. Let’s think of a list of everyday products that were originally invented for space exploration and imagine how life would be without them:
- Cell phones
- Digital wristwatches
- GPS finders
- Infrared cameras
- Laser surgery
- Personal computers
- Satellite TV
- Water purification systems.
Without all of these inventions, mankind would shift one or two centuries back.
Advancements to Society
In recent years, space-based technologies have become an important factor to reach and expand global health objectives and education. Information provided by remote technologies can be applied to study the epidemiology of infectious diseases. This data provided by space technologies can monitor disease patterns, understand the environmental causes that spread it, make predictions about where it can spread in the future, and make plans to fight it efficiently. Furthermore, access to better education means better life prospects and opportunities for human beings. Rural communities are deprived of access to education, and satellite communications technologies are trying to bridge this gap. With the advancement of technology, students can now access any information and connect with peers and teachers in different parts of the world via videoconferencing and the creation of virtual classrooms.
When we consider the influence of the activities of space across various fields, such as science and technology, law, policy, and security, we realize that these diverse fields are interconnected. Space technologies have a direct impact on the overall functioning of mankind, an impact that extends to our safety and security. When used correctly, these technologies can be used by the military to avoid threats to world peace, as well as threats from the natural world. Scientists are trying to use the inventions of space exploration to protect mankind from the ongoing danger of asteroids. While there has not been such an event since the early eons, the danger that an asteroid or comet could wipe out life on Earth is real and ever-present.
Our Choices Determine Our Trajectory
Space exploration is an investment in future generations. Mankind is using the resources provided on the planet, but these will run out one day. Over-population could be an existential threat for all mankind. With the advancement of space technology, it would be wise to use and explore the vast potential of the solar system and other planets, such as the availability of mining resources on asteroids or other planets. With hard work and conviction, what starts as a dream becomes a reality. What we dream today about the potential, life-saving discoveries of space exploration could one day be achieved by future generations. If we fail to continue taking advantage of these possibilities, we may no longer have the chance in the future.
Exploration Propels Us Forward
The reasons to continue exploring the universe are numerous, but we must continue exploring for the very reason that human beings are explorers. That is why human beings have reached the stars – from the earliest time of our existence, we have succeeded in learning about the world around us. This led to the creation of civilizations that flourished and developed into what we are today. The exploration of the universe offers the chance for us to discover new worlds, open new horizons, and improve life on earth through technologies. Perhaps the most advantageous of all is that it will unite us to work together for a common purpose, regardless of our differences. Humans are meant to do great things together. We cannot stop exploring, and we must not; otherwise, we have deprived ourselves of the essential part of being human.
- Benefits of Space: Education. UNITED NATIONS Office for Outer Space Affairs. https://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/benefits-of-space/education.html
- Benefits of Space: Global Health. UNITED NATIONS Office for Outer Space Affairs. https://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/benefits-of-space/benefits.html
- Siegel, Ethan. Oct 26, 2017. Why Exploring Space. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2017/10/26/even-while-the-world-suffers-investing-in-science-is-non-negotiable/?sh=2dc0caed1647
- Space Exploration Debate. Western Institute for Earth & Space Exploration. https://cpsx.uwo.ca/outreach/student_programs/pdf_and_presentations/single_period/SpaceExplorationDebate_Manual.pdf
- Whitwam, Ryan. April 24, 2018. 5 Reasons Space Exploration. EXTREMETECH https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/268062-5-reasons-space-exploration-is-more-important-than-ever
- Why is space exploration important. CliffsNotes. https://www.cliffsnotes.com/cliffsnotes/subjects/sciences/why-is-space-exploration-important