Is the mammoth spending on Space Exploration justified?

Photo by Sam Williams on Unsplash

$22.6 billion!! That’s the amount the United States spent last year exclusively for space exploration. Doesn’t that seem like a massive amount to be spending on thin air or rather no air at all? But did you know that this amounts to just 0.47% of the GDP of the U.S., whereas the cost of food waste in the U.S. is $161 billion?!! Yes. Although spending over 22 billion dollars to go to space may seem a little high, the benefits outweigh the costs. Space exploration is the key to open the doors of innovation, address the challenges in science and promote world peace.

Space exploration helps foster breakthroughs in biomedical science. The most important reason for conducting space exploration is for research. Since it becomes very difficult to simulate extreme conditions on earth, scientists have always wanted to think outside the box. The result? The artificial limbs developed by NASA as machine parts for robots and space vehicles, are now being used to make artificial human limbs more durable, comfortable, and above all, life-like. The success of producing scratch resistant helmets for extreme conditions in outer space by NASA, provided the foundation for the scratch resistant lenses now widely used.

Space exploration helps optimize and advance existing technologies . This is an indirect benefit of extraterrestrial exploration. Every time a satellite or a shuttle is sent to space, extensive research is conducted to identify the potential dangers and arrive at a solution. It is through some of these solutions that we are actually living better. For example, In the 1990’s, NASA’s Jet Propulsion lab invented a light, miniature imaging system that required very little energy to take high quality photographs from space. This technology has since become the standard in mobile and desktop cameras. Another fascinating tool developed by NASA are workout machines. When it was known that prolonged exposure to zero gravity led to deterioration of bones and muscles, NASA invented the now popular workout machines to enable astronauts to maintain physical fitness while in space. Again, another benefit of sending man to the moon!!!

Space exploration enhances global partnerships. Government space programs, nowadays, serve as indicators of national prestige and power. Enhanced national security obtained from these showcase their military strength. Additionally, indulging in intergovernmental partnerships gives the government greater scope for power. This becomes reason enough for governments all over the world to come together. The Outer Space Treaty, signed by over 130 countries on the 27th of January 1967, which has been considered one of the biggest steps towards nuclear disarmament and world peace by many activists and academia alike, is ample evidence of the ability of space exploration to forge global partnerships.

So, is the gargantuan spending on mammoth projects for space exploration even justified? The answer — YES. Investing in the future pays dividends today. The benefits of space exploration clearly outweigh the costs. It assists in advancing the frontier of science and technology by ensuring global partnerships. It is the one step we need to take, for mankind to take its giant leap.

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