June 21, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA

Five reasons why space exploration is more important than ever

Earth is a pretty good place for humans, with all the gravity and breathable air. But year after year, the situation of humanity on Earth becomes more precarious. With climate changeeconomic insecurity and pandemics Emphasizing the world's resources, why spend all this money on space exploration? It's easy to see why this argument arises: there are big problems to solve here on Earth, and going to space is expensive. This oversimplification ignores the nature of humanity, the drive that has made us the dominant species on Earth. If we want to continue like this, space exploration is vital. Here are five reasons why we belong there.

New Technologies and Research

solar panel set

Credit: Christoffer Riemer / CC3.0

We humans didn't evolve to go to space, but we go there anyway. This has led to the development of various technologies that feed back into the economy and improve our lives on Earth. Without space programs, we would not have GPS, accurate weather predictions, solar cells, instant global communication, or ultraviolet filters in sunglasses and cameras. There's also Medical Investigation Things are happening in space right now that could cure diseases and prolong human lives, and these experiments can't be done on Earth. Space exploration could save your life one day.

Asteroids don't care about us

benu asteroid

Credit: NASA / Goddard / University of Arizona

Speaking of saving lives, space exploration could save all our lives. The solar system has calmed down a lot since the early eons, but there are still an unknown number of large asteroids and comets that could crash into the planet and make the COVID-19 pandemic seem like a pleasant memory. It is not a question of Yeah Another large asteroid hits Earth, but when. A robust space program is the only hope we have for deflecting such an object, and we are making progress.

In recent years, humanity has visited comets and asteroids, and missions like Hayabusa2 and OSIRIS-REx They have returned samples. NASA has also successfully tested asteroid deflection technology with the DART mission. We may soon be able to prevent a potentially dangerous asteroid from getting too close. If we do not work to achieve that goal, humanity already has an expiration date.

Colonization is the definitive support

NASA mission to Mars

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

There are currently more than 8 billion human beings, which is a lot. However, we are all overcrowded on this planet. If something were to happen to Earth, our species could disappear. For example, the aforementioned asteroid impact. Colonizing other bodies in the solar system (or building our own orbital habitats) is one way to create a “backup” of humanity that will survive no matter what happens to Earth.

Perhaps the humans of the future are Martians who will never set foot on Earth. While certain ultra-rich space entrepreneurs claim Mars colonization is When you turn the corner, this could be a longer term goal. The technology to make that possible and sustain people independently of the Earth will not develop on its own.

Space mining could save the world

Asteroid mining

Credit: NASA/JPL

As the population continues its inexorable rise, the pressure on our natural resources continues to increase. Current estimates project that the world's population could peak at between 10 and 12 billion around 2100, and those people will consume a lot of resources. The extraction of valuable minerals has caused many problems, including environmental damage and human exploitation, but there are a lot of precious materials in space.

You've probably heard that the metallic asteroid Psyche, target of a newly launched probe of the same name, is worth an unfathomable amount of money. It is true, but there are smaller and more accessible objects that also contain more mineral wealth than we could imagine. Startups like astroforge They want to mine asteroids instead of Earth, which would mean an effectively unlimited supply of raw materials that are scarce on the planet.

We are explorers

Artemis cast

Credit: Public domain

There are more practical reasons for space exploration, but one of the main reasons we should continue is that exploring the unknown is fundamental to the human experience. That's why humans number in the billions: since our first upright steps, we have strived to learn more about the world around us, allowing us to build a planet-spanning civilization. Exploring space is an opportunity not only to discover new worlds and build advanced technologies, but also to work together toward a broader goal, regardless of nationality, race or political ideology. If we can't stop fighting long enough to achieve it, we stop being human.

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