Our national debt has just risen past 20 trillion and people are finding any way to bring this down. One of the arguments is to lower or completely stop funding space exploration, but would this be worth or contribute a significant amount? Space exploration can only benefit us at this point and I’ll tell you why.
Much of the space budget is spent on salaries that are used to stimulate the economy. Much of the money funded is given back and used for good. Many of the inventions created for space travel have become commercial use over the years. These include the iPhone camera, CAT scans, LEDs, landmine removal, athletic shoes, water purification systems, dust busters, the jaws of life, wireless headphones, baby formula, artificial limbs, portable computers, and much much more.
Space exploration is also good because it provide knowledge for asteroids. While the chance of Earth getting hit by one is slim, it is still possible. The more we monitor and explore space, the more we can prevent these threats. With this knowledge, we have found an asteroid know as Apophis that is suspected to miss Earth by 18,600 miles. This may seem far away but to put it into perspective, the moon is 238,900 miles away. Scientists believe that since this asteroid is getting so close it may alter its orbit and collide with Earth in the future. The impact would be 65,000 times as strong as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Now that we know about this and the more we develop the space program the more of a chance we have to stop it.
Space harbors a plentiful amount of raw materials that we will need in the near future. In the cosmos there is gold, platinum, silver, and much more. If we venture more into space, we could gain these and continue to get more after Earth is ran dry. The moon potentially has a very large amount of helium-3 which is very vital resource for MRI’s and could be used to fuel power plants. Scientists also believe that the moon could have europium and tantalium which is rare on Earth and is used in many electronics such as solar panels.
Working on space projects with other nations provides a good common ground. This collaboration results in peace and alliances. Space exploration really helped in this area after the bumpy relationship in the years between 1957 and 1991. Between these years there was a rare and unexpected cooperation during the Cold War with the docking in orbit in July of 1975. This cooled the tension between us and might have stopped something terrible from happening.
The effectiveness of communication has increased the more we have worked on space exploration. In the 1960’s companies like AT&T and RCA partnered with NASA to place satellites in Earth’s orbit. Global positioning systems, television, and radio stations are all dependent on satellites.
While our defense is important, I think we spend too much on it. In 2012 NASA was allocated $18.7 billion while the department of defense was allocated $670 billion. In 2010 Obama stated “For pennies on the dollar, the space program has improved our lives, advanced our society, and inspired generations of Americans”
Space travel has had very few casualties and is only a fraction of the national spending. Space travel has only really improved lives for many people. The more we explore the space the better it can get and the possibilities are endless. The future holds many new innovative inventions that will aid everyone. Who knows, maybe one day we will all be living on Mars or a newly discovered planet. The future is unknowns but the past is proof that we will improve.
I found your article to be very informative on the issue of space exploration. I completely agree with your point in saying that the government should not cut back on the budget for space exploration and that the amount of money spent on national defense is too high. I look forward to reading more about this issue in the future.