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The 9 Main Benefits of Space Exploration

Updated on April 18, 2017
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Since completing university, Paul has worked as a bookseller; librarian; and freelance writer. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.

The Martian space rover, Curiosity.  The rover was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on November 26, 2011.  Its goals include investigating the Martian climate and geology, as well as whether the planet once had water and life.
The Martian space rover, Curiosity. The rover was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on November 26, 2011. Its goals include investigating the Martian climate and geology, as well as whether the planet once had water and life. | Source

The funding of space exploration is a contentious issue with both enthusiasts and detractors arguing over the relative merits.

People who are in favor of it argue that the expense is outweighed by the many benefits, which range from scientific breakthroughs, through to educational and commercial benefits.

Opponents to space exploration will usually object to it on grounds of expense – essentially arguing that the vast sums involved in funding space exploration far outweigh any of the associated positives.

Below are the nine main benefits of space exploration in a list, stating the main points made by people who are in favor of having an active and developing space program.

Decreasing the budget on the space exploration is nothing but a great treason to humanity! Space exploration is closely related to our very existence! Cut the budget on other things and increase the budget on the space exploration! Think great; if you do not think great, universe annihilates you!

— Mehmet Murat ildan

1. Space exploration is pretty much unique in that it has so much potential for brand new discoveries. Solving some of the mysteries of the universe could have untold positive effects on the development of humanity. There are no other ways of finding out certain things about our universe without space exploration.

Astronaut from the space shuttle: Discovery.  One of three NASA orbiters, Discovery was in service for more than 27 years.  It launched and landed 39 times, more spaceflights than any other spacecraft before it or since.
Astronaut from the space shuttle: Discovery. One of three NASA orbiters, Discovery was in service for more than 27 years. It launched and landed 39 times, more spaceflights than any other spacecraft before it or since. | Source

Astronauts are inherently insane. And really noble.

— Andy Weir

2. Discovering things about other planets in our Solar System can also provide valuable insights into how the Earth and its lifeforms might have begun and developed. It also presents clues as to what sort of conditions are needed for life to flourish, which are useful when deciding which planets to investigate outside of our solar system.

Space shuttle lift-off.  Technology developed for the shuttle missions is now used in everyday life.  Breakthrough technologies include those employed in computer electronics, medical treatments, and aviation safety.
Space shuttle lift-off. Technology developed for the shuttle missions is now used in everyday life. Breakthrough technologies include those employed in computer electronics, medical treatments, and aviation safety. | Source

3. It is an engine for innovation and creativity, sparking scientific breakthroughs. Space technology adapted for use in everyday life includes devices or materials used in computer electronics, medical treatments, and aviation safety.

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed.

— Neil Armstrong

4. The stars in general and our Sun in particular have massive potential as a future energy source, especially if we can understand how they create energy using nuclear fusion. If we could tap its power or imitate the way that the Sun works, even in a very small way, we would have enormous amounts of energy for thousands and thousands of years.

5. Space exploration contributes to a high tech economy and creates highly paid jobs. The modern world is increasingly science driven and the investment would pay off many times over.

Man works on a jet engine.  Space exploration creates many high tech jobs, most of them well paid.  In a world which is increasingly science and technology driven, space exploration can play a wider role in developing technologies.
Man works on a jet engine. Space exploration creates many high tech jobs, most of them well paid. In a world which is increasingly science and technology driven, space exploration can play a wider role in developing technologies. | Source

6. It feeds mankind’s sense of adventure. It is in our nature to explore and now that the Earth is familiar to us (with the exception of the deep oceans and certain remote areas), we must look outwards into the Solar System and beyond. To search, investigate and colonize is our destiny.

It is in mankind's nature to explore.  Now that most of our home planet has been investigated and mapped, it is natural that we expand our horizons and explore other planets, solar systems and astronomical bodies.
It is in mankind's nature to explore. Now that most of our home planet has been investigated and mapped, it is natural that we expand our horizons and explore other planets, solar systems and astronomical bodies. | Source

Sooner or later, everybody dreams of other worlds.

— J. Aleksandr Wootton

7. One theory as to why the dinosaurs were wiped out is that it happened because of an asteroid striking the Earth and causing an environmental catastrophe. Studying the movement of asteroids may help us to avoid a future catastrophe.

Concerns have been voiced over the possibility of an asteroid hitting the Earth and how science might be able to stop that happening.  Asteroids have hit the Earth in the past, most notably the one which is thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs.
Concerns have been voiced over the possibility of an asteroid hitting the Earth and how science might be able to stop that happening. Asteroids have hit the Earth in the past, most notably the one which is thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs. | Source

8. Another benefit of space exploration is that it raises the profile of science, math and technology and inspires young people to get involved with these subjects, which are vital to the economic and wider wellbeing of a modern society such as the USA.

9. Space exploration may well enable us to discover life on other planets, or even one day make contact with other intelligent life-forms. That would certainly be the hugest development in the history of mankind.

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.

— John F. Kennedy

© 2014 Paul Goodman

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