Since the first successful landing of Apollo 11 on the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969, other space explorations followed. It was a breakthrough in astronomy and a feat for the United States. Decades later, man still continues to learn more about the planets and outer space. Explorers have now taken this a notch higher with the Mars Exploration program.
Indeed, many people find space exploration necessary for mankind. However, there are also groups rallying against it for several reasons. They are questioning its relevance to the lives of people. To get some ideas, here are some of the benefits and setbacks proponents and opponents are divided on.
List of Pros of Space Exploration
1. It is a great way to learn about outer space.
Supporters of space exploration claim that exploring beyond the surface of the earth is a great way to learn about the galaxy and find out there are other forms of life in other planets. For them, learning about the stars and planets is essential for the survival of mankind because we get to know what is happening in the outer space. Astronauts are also exploring the possibility of man surviving in other planets, which is a positive thing if it becomes possible, because of the growing population of the world.
2. Space exploration is essential to improve the lives of people on earth.
Supporters claim that with the advancements in science, we are now able to use satellites to monitor the weather, atmosphere and discover new things which are applied in our daily lives. These satellites suspended on outer space let meteorologists gather data they can use to predict the weather. And at times of hurricanes and typhoons, these satellites are used to monitor their movement and identify their coverage. These are helpful so the government and the people can prepare for possible disasters.
3. It lets scientists look for other possible energy resources.
By studying space, scientists will be able to find other sources of energy, like fossil fuels in other planets. Solar energy is already being used to provide electricity to homes. With the help of exploring space, they can also find ways to learn more about the sun and the possibility of the Earth replicating solar energy to be used in different applications.
4. It inspires mankind to take good care of mother Earth.
Advocates for space exploration express that without this development in science, we will not be able to know what’s happening in the atmosphere and the extent of the green effect. And since scientists are able to gather information, people can now learn about the environment and the atmosphere and be guided on how to take care of the planet we live in. With space exploration, we can now see our planet from a distance and will give us a clearer picture of how it can be sustained and taken care of.
5. Space satellites are useful to know the movements of asteroids and meteors.
By sending satellites out in space, scientists will be able to see if asteroids will be entering the surface of the Earth and if these will be causing imminent danger. By knowing the direction and speed of asteroids even before they hit the Earth, scientists can find ways to divert them just in case or make necessary preparations and alert the people.
6. It creates jobs.
Proponents of space exploration claim that it is important in society because it offers employment to people from different fields of study. NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) does not only employ astronauts to operate. It also needs engineers, researchers, scientists, designer and administrative personnel to be able to conduct programs and operate. These are not merely hundreds of jobs but thousands.
List of Cons of Space Exploration
1. It is a costly endeavor.
A clear criticism of opponents of space exploration is the money spent in each of the programs conducted. Travelling to outer space require state-of-the-art equipment and complicated devices, not to mention the education and training of astronauts. Whether it is government-funded or spent for by private individuals, the money spent is higher than the outcome. They suggest that these expenses can be used to help poor members of the society instead.
2. There is a possibility of bringing back harmful elements to Earth.
Critics contend that some of the explorations can bring more harm than good to the planet. They are wary about what things or organisms will be brought back to the Earth’s surface which might be hazardous to the environment and the people.
3. It poses risks to astronauts.
Opponents also worry about the welfare of the astronauts being sent on a mission. They emphasize the accidents that have occurred over the years which claimed lives and the possible harmful effects of radiation to the astronauts in the long run.
4. Space exploration can start conflicts between two countries.
Critics also argue that some countries might end up in disputes because of the satellites that can be used to monitor the activities of nations. Although outer space exploration can be a bridge for two nations to build friendship, it can also lead to conflicts if the space will be used to spy on each other.
5. It leaves space garbage behind.
Groups who are not in favor of outer space travels contest its benefits, stating that years of explorations have left debris from satellites, space probes and man-made trash. They are concerned about its effect on outer space and the accidents that it can bring about like in-orbital explosions when fuel left in tanks and gas in the atmosphere mix. They point out the collision between two satellites in 2009 which turned these two into thousands of pieces.
Conducted studies say that these little pieces and the other space trash that will be accumulated through the years can bring harmful effects in the next 200 hundred years. As for present potential problems, researchers say that this garbage can affect satellite communications as well as phones, GPS, surveillance, radio and television.
Space exploration is a significant sign of advancements in science and technology. There is no doubt, it is important to mankind. However, critics also have relevant views about its effect especially if done irresponsibly. The key here is for the people involved to be responsible enough and come up with proposals to minimize space junk and the costs space exploration incurs.
Natalie Regoli, Esq. is the author of this post and the editor-in-chief of our blog. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington and her Masters in Law from The University of Texas School of Law. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Natalie has almost two decades of experience as a lawyer and banker. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.