Space Exploration : Is It Really Justified?

Have we really discovered everything about our cosmic neighbourhoods? Whether through human or robotic exploration, should we explore deep into our universe through massive financial and labour funding? Does it show the key answer to the survival of the human race, making it necessary to fund these exploration projects? With global issues such as poverty and civil unrest prevailing across the world, one of the most critically argued questions of the 21st century is whether to fund space exploration projects or not. We hear several notable discoveries by renowned space agencies about obtaining scarce resources on asteroids, Earth-like exoplanets, or even a probable future to human survival with impending global disasters. But to fund such projects requires massive financial funding, labour requirements and technology. However, funding space science and exploration has the potential to provide solutions to the survival of human beings in the future by contributing knowledge to different sciences, promoting the development of useful products and services, and raising economic stability in developing and impoverished nations.
At the most simple level, the history of space exploration has been a major inspiration for younger generations to enter into the field of science, engineering and technology. When the television broadcast of Neil Armstrong first setting foot on the Moon’s surface aired, the youth and adults alike, were completely in awe of the newly marked pinnacle in human exploration. It surpassed any sort of frontier exploration than ever before, by venturing further than Earth, which thereby influenced individuals, of that time, to be part of such inspiring projects. This kick-started the convergence of a large group of diverse cultures, especially the American population, to join the field of space science and exploration.

Front funding for space science and exploration projects can contribute new knowledge and evidence to different scientific modules through a variety of means. Discovery and research of celestial objects and phenomena have provided new evidence and understanding for many sciences, including physics, astronomy, ecology, biology and the like. This elaborates the extent of diverse knowledge that space exploration provides to other fields of science, social sciences included. Astrobiology is the study of life in the universe, answering questions related to our origin and evolution, as well as the future of existing life. The synergies of Earth science and space exploration pave the way for the unification of different scientific fields and also the introduction of new sciences, in particular astrobiology. This can involve the possibility of their research contribution to social sciences such as philosophy and cosmology.
These new sciences improve the scope of job opportunities, as they are new fields of scientific research which require the necessary technical manpower to conduct research experiments and studies.- Space science and exploration has been the driving force for developing innovative and efficient products and services that we use today. For instance, the International Space Exploration Coordination Group, NASA being a participating member, mentioned in their paper “Benefits Stemming from Space Exploration” that initial spacecraft technologies, particularly the first satellites, which were designed to test methods for space exploration, have enhanced the productive capabilities of technological services, ranging from phone calls to weather forecasts. They listed a number of services, from medical technologies and rescue operations to mobile phones, that have significantly improved due to upgrades in spacecraft technologies. This establishes the gravity and extent of technological advancement which can aid in the development of futuristic products and services. Continued investment in space science workshops and exploration programmes can enable the human race to reach heights of technological advancement never seen before, and thereby reap benefits, such as cost reductions in the production of these technological products and services if they receive massive investment.

However, the various costs related to space science research programmes and exploration cannot be ignored. According to several views, these costs are the prime constraints to funding such programmes, as they require massive investments in robotics and space crafts along with high paying salaries for astronauts, engineers and the like. Today, nations around the world face multiple global issues, such as poverty, pollution and disease, which constitute the opportunity cost of funding space exploration programmes. The health risks which astronauts are exposed to when they leave Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and past accidents that have occurred during training and actual spaceflight should also be assessed.
To reach a decision on whether funding for space science and exploration projects should be supported, we need to look at the sustainability and cost efficiency that can be accomplished through international cooperation between developed and developing space nations. It can help nations share the necessary large monetary costs and build up developing nations as possible exploration superpowers. These programmes can help nations achieve growth and expertise in space exploration through Earth-based research programmes as a foundation. The possibility of achieving sustainability in funding large space exploration projects through international cooperation cannot be ignored. The participation of several nations to fund space science workshops and exploration programmes should be considered while debating on the necessity of funding these projects, as well as the benefits that come with it. If we really do wish to see the change in our world, space exploration should be essential and it is the best means to achieve those milestone changes. It provides scope for lowering poverty levels, better products and services and possible employment opportunities with the introduction of different scientific research fields for our coming generations.