Is Space Exploration Necessary? Research Paper

Pages: 6 (2266 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  Level: College Freshman  ·  Topic: Astronomy

¶ … Space Exploration Necessary

More than most of us can imagine, astronomy as a study has been around for long. Our first tour into the unknown realm outside our atmosphere started only just after half a century ago. Hitherto, we have made enormous coverage which has exceeded the projections despite the various setbacks. We have made successful landing on the immensely mysterious night candle and using expensive suits which are well thought out and designed, walked into the vast emptiness. And 50 years into the pursuit of our search for novel colonies, most people are asking why. Questions are being raised on the importance of spending billions of dollars on things which are not important while many more people are dying down here on earth due to diseases and poverty daily. Why the brain power should be used on trying to locate things which might not be even existent or other planets to colonize when were created to live here on earth by God. Again ever since the space race was over the continuing funding of other planet exploration is being questioned since the NASA program is spending sixteen billion of dollars which the critics view should be used for useful federal programs (Nakaya 153).

These questions were answered eloquently by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board by pointing out that if humans are going to be sent into space, there ought to be worth goals commensurate to the costs, difficulty and risk. There are thus several disadvantages for the space explorations but considering the benefits, and then it really is worth it. Most average citizens are not familiar of the benefits that they have gotten from the NASA's research and development. Mostly they know they just hear of the occasional announcement of a space mission little do they know that most daily equipments and other technological gadgets are attributed to the NASA and this includes the already ubiquitous cell phones, MRI usually recommended by the doctors, DVD that we enjoy as diversion and the even the composite golf among many other things. We should think of NASA when the smoke detector blares to save our lives (Dobbs 24). Discovery and explorations are the principal growth agents for a country and the findings of research for space exploration have led to numerous advancements in technology for the benefits of science discovery, standard of living economic and national security. Though there are many disadvantages for the space explorations, they definitely don't match the numerous and significant benefits from these explorations and therefore the support for these program should still continue. This paper will try to analyze these disparate views by considering the arguments for the space exploration and those against the space exploration. Some of those arguments against the space exploration will also be analyzed to evaluate their validity and how they measure up in light of the benefits.

Overview of NASA

President Dwight Eisenhower established The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 after the launch of Sputnik satellite by the Soviet Union into the space after the fear of military or strategic edge might be gained by the Soviets over United States at the time of Cold War. Around the 1960s President John F. Kennedy made the placing of a man on the moon a national priority by the end of 1960 and this was considered the race to the moon. With the landing of Apollo in July 20, 1969 his vision came to fruition when 11 astronauts consisting of Neil Armstrong set their foot first on the moon. Other space missions were given attention by NASA in the 1970s with highlights consisting of the outer space first probe called Pioneer 10 in 1972 which later became the first spacecraft to venture past the solar system and the fist space station of the nation in 1973 also called Sky lab. NASA has not gone through its accomplishment without due tragedies. For instance the in 1986 there was exploding of the Challenger shortly after exploding and then upon re-entry in 2003, the Columbia was destroyed. The headquarters of NASA is in Washington D.C. And it has 10 field offices. Some of its roles include new technology research, flight research, observation of solar system, Earth and the universe, preparation and launch of space missions.

The advantages and disadvantages of space exploration

The usual argument against the space exploration is the high cost with the budget allocation in the United States amounting to about $7billion yearly, and the critics usually cite the reason that the money should be used in other programs on earth like poverty alleviation. Contrary, space exploration isn't an economy drain because an infinitely amount of wealth is generated by it than it spends (Pop). The licenses and patents of NASA royalties go to U.S. Treasury directly and not back to NASA. If this return of investment was allowed to go to Life Science Research Program, then it would be self sufficient. With the little allocation, there has been a lot of accomplishment by NASA that it has led to the general assumption of huge budget. For instance, the budgetary for NASA in 2007 was $16.3 billion which is minute compared to the G.D.P. Of $13trillion. Relative to other costs, this fact is also brought to light. With the program currently being about $7 billion dollars yearly, then its equal to pennies spent per person daily. According to USDA in 2006, more than $154 billion was spent on alcohol by Americans and $10 billion is spent monthly in Iraq. New and important technologies are being created by the exploration of the space which have indeed aided in the advancement of the economy. It is indeed a fact that the U.S. economy gains about $8 worth of economic benefit for every dollar that is spent on the space program. Some intangible benefits from the program are invaluable such as the inspiration that the space exploration offers to the children to venture into the engineering and science fields of study for our children (Dubner).

The other raised concern on the necessity of space exploration is the issue of urgency. A legitimate question is raised on the urgency of committing budgets which are hard-pressed for the exploration of space the explored realms like Mars aren't going anywhere. However as Gemini, Mercury and Apollo did half a century ago, then our scientific and technological future leadership depends on the young generation's exciting creativity. The manned exploration is the one that does this well. The direction of the creative interests of the youths in the direction of engineering and science careers is now a national urgency. The flame for manned exploration need to be kept alive because Russia, China, India and other countries will challenge the leadership of U.S. In space exploration as they forge ahead through significant investments (Shaw).

The question that is usually raised is the manner in which the standard of living has been raised by the space explorations. According to Dobbs, there have been considerable yield from the space travel particularly in the medical and scientific advancements over time with resulting of novel technologies most of them which we enjoy as consumers in our personal lives. Due to the research and development of NASA, we have been able to experience enhancements in our lives. There are many products from this, for instance water purification systems, pool purification, lenses which are scratch resistant, helmets which are shock absorbing, smoke detectors, home security systems, self-adjusting sunglasses, flat panel televisions, food packaging technologies, high-density batteries, cool sportswear, hair styling appliances, trash compactors, composite golf clubs, sports bras, aerodynamics of golf ball, art preservations, hang gliders and fogless ski goggles (NASA Spinoffs). Memory metals are also another notable development. The international space station has been used by NASA to undertake various experiments on several memory metals which the some golf clubs are created by them. More spin is created on the ball when it is struck by the club because of its changing shape. The enriched baby food is another example. Formulaid which is a vegetable like and microalgae-based was developed by research sponsored by NASA aimed space travel characterized by long duration. Essential fatty acids which are important for visual and mental development of the infant are contained in it and this is usually found in the human milk and not in most baby formulas. With these products mentioned, our living standards have been improved immensely.

The findings of research undertaken by NASA have produced various technological advancement in medicine and health, technologies in environment and also universals discovery. If we first consider the medicine and health advancements we find numerous results like skin damage assessment using ultrasound, laser angioplasty, detection of breast cancer, tissue stimulator, breast biopsy system using digital imaging, pacemaker which are programmable, wheel chairs controlled by the voice, ocular screening, medical gas analyzer, insulin pump which is automatic, invisible braces, clean room apparel, MRI, automated urinalysis, palate surgery technology, dental arch wire, implantable heart aid and tools used… [END OF PREVIEW]

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