During a recent physics lesson on gravitational forces we were asked if we believed space travel was worth it. Being a room of aspiring physics students we failed to see any answer to the question other than yes. However, when I put the same question to my group of friends it began a very heated debate where many failed to see why we needed to invest so heavily in space exploration.
In 2012, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) had a budget of $16 Billion and the ESA (The European Space Agency) had a budget of €4.2 Billion. At first these figures seem to greatly over price the return that we shall reap from space travel and exploration and it is easy to see why many people fail to see why their budgets are set so high.
Most people I spoke to argued that this vast amount of money could be spent to help out other causes such as helping poverty stricken countries or used to help advancements in the pharmaceutical industry; helping find cures for illnesses like Cancer or Alzheimers.
Although there are many good causes that would benefit from those kind of budgets, it is impossible to look past the benefits of space exploration.
- Our everyday technology such as mobile phones, GPS and weather reports all rely on satellites designed and put into orbit with the help of various space programs.
- Space exploration could offer us a new insight into the origins of the universe and us; we are given answers to questions we have not asked yet.
- Discoveries made in space could offer significant developments in our current technology.
- It is human nature to explore further and further and space just happens to be our next step. I don’t suppose anyone asked Christopher Columbus for a budget report before he set sail.
- Nations often work together on space projects which helps greatly with world peace
I believe their is no argument against space travel the benefits we will find along the way will potentially be able to push our technology to new limits and I struggle to see how anyone could put a value on mankind mapping and exploring the hidden depths of our solar system. Just like bionic eyes, flat screen TVs and tablets; Space exploration is the latest example of a sci-fi dream being realized. Who knows, next up could be under water cities, flying cars and time machines. We just have to keep exploring.