ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why do we care about the solar system and space explorations?

Updated on May 13, 2012
MSantana profile image

She loves to write about science, the natural world and peoples questions about life. She has degrees in Biology, botany and Ecology.

Poster celebrating the 47th Anniversary of NASA (2005). From NASA's predecessor 1931 original hangar to the iconic picture of the Earth; space explorations; Hubble images; Saturn rings, and satellite images are amongst NASA's many accomplishments.
Poster celebrating the 47th Anniversary of NASA (2005). From NASA's predecessor 1931 original hangar to the iconic picture of the Earth; space explorations; Hubble images; Saturn rings, and satellite images are amongst NASA's many accomplishments. | Source

BBC Wonders of the Universe 2

By Mirna Santana


"If we do discover a complete theory, it should be in time understandable in broad principle by everyone. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists, and just ordinary people be able to take part in the discussion of why we and the universe exist. " Stephen Hawking

Of all the world's species, the human species is the only one that we know have been able to explore the Universe. Understanding the Universe seems to be a fundamental question for our species. Scientists-- physicists, planetary scientists, and cosmologists, lead the quest for answers about the origin of the Universe and the space in general. Yet, the search for answers to big questions such as the origin of the universe, what is there in other planets, and so on, requires multidisciplinary approaches. We have advanced in our understanding of life on planet Earth, at a good pace, even before Darwin' Origen of the Species but more so after that. We are able to map the human genome and we are able to learn about small particles such as nanoparticles. Yet, the unifying equation or theory that explains the Universe and all there is--and thus our own existence is not in our hands.

I am not here to explain the Universe or the current theories, but to bring in together some ideas about why we need to continue funding research and exploration both on Earth and on the space. It is fundamental for our species in many ways.

"For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love. " Carl Sagan

Yet Richard Feynman didn't see the poetry in looking beyond when he claimed: "Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars - mere globs of gas atoms. I, too, can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more? "

Our ecosystem is more vast that we can see or imagine. It includes the stars, the galaxies, and many places we are yet to discover. There is no substitute for a Hubble picture showing us the solar system. There is no substitute for a close view of the sun that influences our planet and life in so many ways. What we have learned about black holes, dark matter, and details of the space and our solar system has been possible because of research and development, which allowed ever more sophisticated technologies for space exploration. Yet it is the persistence of people involved in the quest, the scientists, technicians, and also the politicians involved that have allowed us to learn about the space.

Scientists have constantly searched for explanations about the evolution of our planet, our solar system, and what lies beyond. That is only possible with public and private funding, government involvement, and the support of the public.

Scientists and governments are interested in determining if there are other planets like the earth. One of the reasons we search for life and the conditions in other planets is curiosity. The other is survival. So far we know one planet with the right conditions for our species. Planet Earth has the right atmosphere. Though many Earth-like planets have been identified, none of them is an identical twin of planet Earth. Besides that, it is still unknown whether or not we would able to successfully establish long-term human colonies in any of those planets. Can we live without water, plants, or oxygen? Could any space colony ever be independent from the Earth?

In Wonders of the Universe 2 (a TV program on BBC)-- physicist Brian Cox asks us to imagine how an earth like planet, Titan, and Alaska may be alike. Titan was photographed in 2005 and a year later scientists realized that Titan has lakes in its North Pole. Yet those lakes most likely do not contain water. So what kind of liquid is that?

Questions such as that have been addressed by NASA programs as well as by international collaborative enterprises such as the International Space Station--and by many Universities and laboratories funded with resources for space programs.

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an interdisciplinary institution in charge not only of Aeronautics and Space questions, but also big areas concerning earth, space, and the human interactions with the former two. Their main areas of research are: Studies of earth system change; changes in the sun (Heliosphere); the planetary system and the Universe, and also Astrophysics.

What is the International Space Station (ISS) and what does it do? “The ISS has been the most politically complex space exploration program ever undertaken. The principals are the space agencies of the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan, and Canada.” The ISS offers specialized National Laboratories type of facilities. This collaboration allows for a variety of multidisciplinary research. These facilities can be made available to government researchers and private industries under certain agreements.

Yet, even with collaborative research-- and technological inventions such as the colliders, the Hubble, shuttles, and space stations--we can not yet explain the Universe. Some say, we are close. Others think that humanity keeps getting fragments of knowledge--and so what our generations may not know--may be common knowledge for future generations. So for now, we need to continue the search. We may not drop the ball, because in doing so we may be harming humanity's progress--and we may not gather the information that will allow future humans to persist.

Lets remind the leaders of the world that steps such as landing on the moon, seeing planet collisions, or learning about Earth like planets were only possible because the previous and current leaders decided to pursue those goals, and to support scientists' search on behalf of humanity.

We have not yet found all the pieces that scientists believe compose the equation that explains the origin of the Universe--though it looks simple enough. If the same principles that apply to the Earth and the Milky Way are the same everywhere else--isn't it worth to complete the task at all costs?

What the scientific and technical missions do for humanity is worth keeping. Even if only to find our connections to the rest of Universe(s).

Brian Greene the proponent of string theory says "I have long thought that anyone who does not regularly - or ever - gaze up and see the wonder and glory of a dark night sky filled with countless stars loses a sense of their fundamental connectedness to the universe. " And certainly one can not look at the stars without realizing how small we are in that context--and without wondering about how do we came to be, and what lies beyond.

© All rights reserved

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My gratitude to the following sources: NASA.gov, International Space Station, Brainy quotes--and to BBC Wonders of the Universe. To all the scientist studying the space and the evolution of planet Earth. They are a constant source of inspiration. To the scientist who have written for the public and by doing so have helped to increase our sense of connection with the Universe: Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Brian Green, and Brian Cox to mention a few. To science writer Timothy Ferris for his many books-- and last but not least, to the stars outside my window.




© 2011 MSantana

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • MSantana profile imageAUTHOR

      MSantana 

      7 years ago from Madison Wisconsin

      Thanks to my friends PC Lee and J. Durbin for comments and corrections. Also thanks to my readers for your patience and understanding. I do appreciate your feedbacks--or comments about anything, style, grammar, science--all are welcome :-) Keep looking to the stars.

    • MSantana profile imageAUTHOR

      MSantana 

      7 years ago from Madison Wisconsin

      Fay, I am so glad for your grandson. His quest for the stars will keep him happy for the years to come. That is fantastic. NASA have a page for kids that is really fun too. Thanks you for sharing--and commenting.

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 

      7 years ago

      Excellent hub, Santana. I have a renewed interest in space exploration since my 6 year-old grandson came home from a field trip to the observatory. He was so excited, but more importantly I couldn't believe what he had retained from the days lesson, so I've been on my own mission ever since. I'll have to share your post and videos with him

      up/useful and awesome

    • MSantana profile imageAUTHOR

      MSantana 

      7 years ago from Madison Wisconsin

      Thanks for your comments. NASA will continue but some programs have been cut. This shall be part of the public discussion.

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 

      7 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Great Hub. The exploration of space to discover the knowledge of the universe is a vital mission and one we should never abandon. Beyond that we have invented many new instruments which we use everyday. NASA has been a remarkable program that determines the type of people we are. It must continue.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)