Since the creation of the world, man has stared up into the heavens and wondered at the celestial bodies scattered across the night sky, asking themselves, what are these beautiful lights that spread themselves out above us? How is it that their brightness never burns out? And most importantly, will we ever be privileged enough to visit them?
As humans, our curiosity has always far surpassed that of any species that dwell on this planet, giving us a natural urge to explore the unknown. Abraham of the Bible set out into the wilderness to start an entire nation, and Christopher Columbus devoted his entire life to a voyage across the Atlantic to eventually discover two continents, now we have been passed the torch of exploration and are faced with the final frontier, space. In the last fifty or so years we have been granted the tools necessary to do what no man has done before and what every man in history has dreamed of doing. However, there are some that believe space exploration is waste of our time and money and that we should be focusing our resources on taking care of our planet before we explore others. This would seem like a good point, but the fact of the matter is that they haven’t taken the time to research the endless advantages that exploring space has given us. They see space as an empty vacuum full of nothing but toxic gases, useless materials and well, nothingness, and that the only explanation for leaving this planet is to satisfy a bunch of space enthusiast’s curiosity. They couldn’t be more wrong. The benefits of exploring space doesn’t end at simply appeasing man’s natural desire to explore God’s creation, but in fact has given us countless advantages over the last five decades, including more advanced technology, improvement of education and even a better perspective on ourselves.
Looking at space from an economic point of view, its exploration is admittedly very expensive and consumes quite a sum for seemingly small results. However, just like every expedition in the history of mankind, space exploration is an investment in many ways. The first being that through man’s desire to explore we naturally feel a sense of encouragement and inspiration when we see a space shuttle climb to the heavens from its launch pad and disappear into the clouds, whether it be a first hand experience, or through the technology of Television. We feel proud as we watch our generation make history in such a new and grand way, and do what no man has ever done before, and what every man has dreamed of doing since the beginning of time. This newfound inspiration is what drives many young students like myself to pursue an occupation in the field of science. In other words, space exploration is a key factor in inspiring kids to do better in school and work towards a better future. Perhaps the best example of this is how the first moon landing in 1969 excited so many kids about space that grades sky rocketed and almost every one of them wanted to go to the moon or mars as an astronaut. The truth is that a single trip to the moon helped to advance the education of millions of kids.
Speaking of advancements, not only has space given us an entire new field to study and explore, it has also provided us with technology that I guarantee would not exist if it were not for space. As new advancements are made for exploration, they are carried over to the consumer for use as every day items. NASA alone holds thousands of patents, many of which have become very useful spin offs for civilians. Artificial limbs, LED lighting, scratch proof glass and even memory foam. These are just a few of the many inventions that have stemmed from space exploration. Medicinal advances have also been made with the help of space. The way bacteria grows in space is almost identical to the way it grows in the human intestines, so we can easily simulate how certain bacteria will affect humans. It is all thanks to space and its most ambitious pioneers, that we have medicines that can fight off bacteria that cause typhoid fever as well as many others.
Space has provided us with the means to advance our technology and way of living, but what is next? These reasons cannot be the only ones for putting six people in a can and shooting them off into the darkness of space, and they aren’t. I want you to think about the size of our earth and compare it to the vastness of space, now think about how many discoveries have been made here and ask yourself how many could be made in a place that is infinitely bigger. Granted earth is very fertile and full of life, but with something as big as space the possibilities are endless. Just try to imagine what could be out there. Other planets? Resources? Everyone has thought about the prospect of life on other planets, could there other living organisms out there? Perhaps. Conscious beings? Maybe not, but scientists have found evidence of bacterial life in space, as well as hints that there may be water on mars, and where there is water, theirs is most likely life.. While actual findings of these unthinkable possibilities may not happen in our lifetime, I for one am fascinated with there even being a possibility!
Our galaxy is over one hundred thousand light years in diameter, the farthest star from earth is twelve billion light years away, that’s just what we can see with our technology here on earth, who knows what lies beyond our pitiful range of vision. We live on a little ball of water and earth no more than eight thousand miles wide spinning around a star at high velocities. It really puts us into perspective with the rest of the universe when you think about it. The more we explore space, the more we can see how fragile and insignificant are existence is. Through space exploration we have been given a small glimpse of the grandeur of the universe and in turn the realization that we are more finite than we ever knew.
I believe God created the universe for more than to just sit there. I believe he wants us to explore its endless boundaries and vast measures so that we can gain a better understanding of how amazing he really his, and how privileged we are to be even noticed by someone so infinite.
If you read this far, then you're awesome. :)