ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Value of Space Exploration

Updated on July 5, 2013

A Bold Vision

In the wake of the Soviet Union's launching of Sputnik, the battle field of the Cold War expanded into the Cosmos. Kennedy's bold assertion in his address to congress in 1961 that we would put a man on the moon before the end of the decade sent the scientific, technological, and engineering communities scrambling to fulfill this vision. In many ways, it was assumed, that by winning the space race we would be tacitly asserting the superiority of Capitalism over Communism. Following the fulfillment of Kennedy's promise on July 20th 1969 space exploration has grudgingly continued, despite decreased popular sentiment and an ever dwindling budget, into the new millennium. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the absence of this highly politicized motive for space exploration can we garner, upon retrospective reflection, other practical and economic evidence that supports the contention that space exploration is a good societal investments that pays multi-faceted dividends?

Inspiration and Education

The launching of Sputnik and the declaration by Kennedy launched the collective dreaming of a generation. The resulting prolific investment in education was a direct result of a need for scientifically innovative students to be natured within the U.S. borders and amongst the U.S. populace. In 1958 Congress approved a Billion dollars to be allocated to the National Defense of Education Act. Public schools also initiated an increased effort to identify gifted students for placement in AP classes. Lyndon Johnson, then a Senator, held hearings on the need for increased public school construction and maintenance. During the summer of 1958 schools began receiving matching federal funds for Math, Science, and Language education.

Sputnik also changed what Americans bought their children to play with. Junior Chemistry lab's, Anatomical Models, telescopes, and other educational toys saw a boon in sales in the late 1950's.

A Congressional commitment toward education was engendered by Kennedy's 1961 speech. In 1964 President Johnson signed into law The Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Which persists to this day in the, "No Child left Behind," act and subsequent educational reforms.

What Do You Think?

Should We Increase NASA's Budget?

See results

Innovation and Spin-Off Technologies

The Technology Utilization Program initiated by NASA in 1962 was aimed at the dissemination of technology developed by logistical imperatives for manned and unmanned space exploration in the creation of new private commercial products. NASA began issuing reports on the success of this program in 1973 during congressional budget hearings. These reports resulted in a book, first published in 1976, that was forwarded to economist, academics, private executives, and technology professionals and has outlined since this first year of annual publication over 1500 NASA technologies that have spurred economic growth, created jobs, and advanced commonly used technologies.

The 5 million dollar annual budget allocated to the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, NASA's precursor, was inflated to 5 Billion dollars in 1959 by Eisenhower. Much of these funds went to the private development of the technology that would make air travel safe and affordable. Boeing was one of the many NASA private contractors that continue to stimulate the economy.

The necessity of locating suitable lunar landing sites birthed CAT scan and MRI technology that have become indispensable tools in medical diagnostics. Weightlessness conditions resulted in athletic and rehabilitative therapeutic devises. The need to preserve food in space led to the innovation of freeze-drying. And the materials required to withstand the extreme temperatures of space are now used by radioactive techs, racecar drivers, firemen, and dock workers. This list is very short and very superficial, it is a mere concavity in the ocean of technological advancements that have their root in NASA endeavors.

The two advancements that we most benefit from today are the micro-circuitry and other computer innovations that we use in our cars, timepieces, cell phones, and PCs (all based on technologies developed in the 1960's) and the use we make of the more than 1,000 satellites orbiting the Earth that allow for GPS, satellite radio, television, and telephones. Pan-global communication through whatever medium is only possible through the satellite relays of radio signals.

A personal favorite NASA accomplishment is the Hubble telescope. The genius of a telescope in orbit is that the images it records are not obfuscated by the Earth's atmosphere. Aside from the advances in digital photography precipitated by this project, the images it sends back are a constant source for further Cosmological and Astronomical research and understanding. If you have never viewed these picture then you are truly missing out on the most breath-taking, awe-inspiring images ever captured by human devised means.

The Future of Technology

Moore's law postulates that technology now doubles every two years. This phenomena is born out of the necessity engendered in real world problem solving. It is only by remaining on the frontier of human interaction with the unknown that such necessity presents itself. Had the Space Race not been a part of our past into which we heavily invested then our current technological understanding and the availability of the pragmatic technological devices it spawned would be gravely deficit by comparison.

The 21st century in the U.S. has been defined it severe policy blunders that have put us in the most dire Economic circumstances we have seen in 80 years. At a time when interest in investing in our future Academics and in space exploration is at an all time low, perhaps we can take a page from very recent history and see the economic and logistic benefits reaped from sowing the seeds of curiosity and exploration.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      robin pattinson 

      4 years ago

      yo buddy cool information

      i liked it

    • pramodgokhale profile image


      5 years ago from Pune( India)


      There are many spin-off technologies, people simply overlook. We enjoy benefits of space technologies.I make comment through on internet via satellite.We do not see each other , across oceans we interact with touch of finger.This is simple practical way and inexpensive.

      Where Space scientist will go if program curtailed? we can not raise budget but can not discontinue program.

      I am an Indian, we made progress in space technology and launched our own satellites, so our computer literacy has increased and our government is going for E-Governance on large scale, it is possible only due to advances in space technologies.

      thank you for highlighting advantages space missions.

      pramod gokhale


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, 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:

    Show Details
    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 or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    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)
    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.
    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)