Space exploration: interesting, but at what cost?

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This year is the 50ttjh anniversary of humans landing on the moon, one of the most exciting television events that has ever happened! But how has space exploration actually progressed since then? Sure, there has been the Mars Rover, which has been able to drill into a Martian rock, take photographs of the planet’s surface and even identified an ancient Martian stream that made it seem ever more likely that there was once life on our neighbouring planet. There’s also the ISS, which basically serves as a space environment research laboratory in which experiments can be conducted. It is hoped that it will allow successful testing of the systems and equipment required for missions to the Moon and Mars! Space tourism has also sparked excitement, with tickets already being sold for $250,000 a piece, just for 90 minutes in space. Despite these ticket sales, space tourism is still yet to actually happen.

This all sounds really interesting, but what are the actual benefits to us as humans. How will it change our lives? How will it benefit our future? How will it improve living conditions? At a cost of $150 billion plus another $3 or 4 billion per year in maintenance, the International Space Station is pretty expressive for something that, in our opinion, seems to have had limited impact in the grand scheme of things.

Think about things that would actually provide almost immediate benefits to the people on Earth. Clean water and sanitation, for example, which is still lacking for a relatively large proportion of the population (an estimated 790 million people (11% of the world's population) don’t have access to clean water and an estimated 1.8 billion people (25% of the world's population) lack access to adequate sanitation!). Disease, such as malaria, are still huge killers in many areas of the world. Shouldn’t things like this be more of a focus rather than looking at ways to further improve the lives of the rich minority??

We did some research to compare the cost of space exploration with the cost of improved water supplies and sanitation in developing countries and were shocked by what we found. According to Water for Africa UK, for a £5000 donation, you can fully fund a water project for a community. Imagine how many communities could have water projects funded for the cost of, for instance, the Apollo programme (which cost taxpayers $25.4 billion at the time.) We know that this money made landing on the moon a possibility, but we’re talking about people’s lives here! Further research told us that $150 billion dollars a year would deliver universal safe water and sanitation- that means that everyone in the whole world would have access to clean water! That would reduce childhood disease and deaths (every day, 6000 children die of water related diseases) for the same cost at the ISS. Isn’t that a much more worthwhile use of our money??

Our research also found out that the world could be free of malaria - one of the oldest and deadliest diseases to affect humanity - within a generation, if we would only invest the money. According to a World Health Organisation report, each year there are still more than 200 million cases of the disease, which mostly kills young children. The report says eradicating malaria is no longer a distant dream, but wiping out the parasite will probably need an extra $2bn (£1.6bn) of annual funding. That’s only the amount it takes to maintain the international space station- again, a much more worth cause in our opinion!

So what do you think? We fully agree that there are benefits to space exploration, but in the grand scheme of things can we really afford to be investing so much money when there are other more pressing matters closer to home? We think not…

Comments (26)

  • tom Tom @ the BNC
    28 Oct 2019

    A superb range of statistics, facts and figures to support your points. There's plenty here for the rest of the BNC to write on and argue about! Can you tell us where you found your information?

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  • The Sherwood School active_sheep | The Sherwood School
    28 Oct 2019

    Theses are great facts and outstanding use of PEE (point, evidence and explanation).🤗🤩😁🙂

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  • Crampton-logo-250x250.jpg patient_bee | Crampton Primary School
    28 Oct 2019

    I believe that our technology and knowledge of space has gone so far since the moon landing. They managed to land a chang'e-4 probe (robot) on the far side of the moon! Not only that,they found signs of water lakes on one of Jupiters moons, Europa, they also have heard signs of other life two times, they found places on mars where water lakes use to be too and even that Pluto is a dwarf planet. This all has a benefit to us because what if something happened to our planet,then what do we do unless maybe we have a planet b that's just as good as earth. Space discoveries also help us know what dangers might be coming. Even though rockets and other space tech cause pollution finding new planets is still helping because we might find a planet with the right environment so we can move there and start over.After all there are tons of planets out in space.

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    1. Olivia-Avatar.jpg Olivia @ the BNC
      patient_bee's comment 29 Oct 2019

      This comment is packed full of ideas and gives lots of examples to support your opinion. Great reasoning!

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    2. Hammond School logo versatile_molecule | Hammond Junior School B
      patient_bee's comment 09 Nov 2019

      I disagree, I believe that we should save our own planet, sending many rockets into space will destroy the planet due to carbon dioxide, we should be packing the carbon dioxide back into the earth. I know you have admitted that launching rockets is polluting but if we don't launch any rockets we might not need to look for other planets to call home. I agree with radical koala, we have spent 150 billion dollars on building the ISS, we could spend that money on stuff we actually need like poverty and climate change.

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      1. tom Tom @ the BNC
        versatile_molecule's comment 11 Nov 2019

        Well done for connecting your idea with someone else's, versatile_molecule. Could you find out what spending money on the ISS leads to?

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        1. Hammond School logo versatile_molecule | Hammond Junior School B
          Tom @ the BNC's comment 12 Nov 2019

          Looking at the other side of the argument, spending money on the ISS leads to further enhancement in space exploration. The ISS warns scientists about natural disasters, this is vital because on earth there is only so much technology to monitor this. The people on board conduct experiments in biology, physics and astronomy which can greatly benefit our lives today.

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  • Michael-Faraday-logo-250x250.jpg memorable_orchard | Michael Faraday School
    04 Nov 2019

    But why should we be paying to Mars as there is a strong likleyhood that I will be our future planet?

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  • Phoenix-logo-250x250.jpg crafty_ocean | Phoenix Primary School
    04 Nov 2019

    People are loving about space and if on of the planets have life or not and it shows great examples and good reasoning

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    1. Phoenix-logo-250x250.jpg admirable_signature | Phoenix Primary School
      crafty_ocean's comment 06 Nov 2019

      Hi Crafty_Ocean.This is unnecessary but i would like to point out i Love your name,it is very creative.Anyway before i did not completely understand what you have,i believe that i will say somethink that you have quoted but you did not mean it in that way,therefore it that has occured I owe you greatest apologies.You have said ''People are loving about space'' I believe that you have meant ''People love space'' But like i previously said, I could be wrong,Anyone cannot be that sure that everyone loves space.I personally do,its full of Discoveries and Mysteries to be found and i like that suspense,It makes me want to think more and go deeper into the topic.Do you like space??Have you ever wondered what people like about space?Next,You have said ''and if on of planets have life or not'' Sorry to sound sceptical but this does not make sense at all.I know that nothing is perfect first try but before you post something re-read it.You might have commented something that you dont think at all and people might question that and you wont know at all.Anyway,right now only 2 planets are known to have life on them,One is not that sturdy and I could be wrong but besides from that it would be Earth(the planet we are settled on) and Mars(the planet beside us).Mars is not fully classified to have life on it but apparently Impactite, shown to preserve signs of life on Earth, was discovered on Mars and could contain signs of ancient life, if life ever existed on the planet. On June 7, 2018, NASA announced that the Curiosity rover had discovered organic molecules in sedimentary rocks dating to three billion years old.On the Other hand,Human survival on Mars would require living in artificial Mars habitats with complex life-support systems. One key aspect of this would be water processing systems. Being made mainly of water, a human being would die in a matter of days without it.So after this research i am not Fully sure is mars has life on it or not But for the sake of it for now we'll just say it does.Astronomers are not sure how many planets have life but In November 2013, astronomers reported, based on Kepler space mission data, that there could be as many as 40 billion Earth-sized planets orbiting in the habitable zones of Sun-like stars and red dwarfs in the Milky Way, 11 billion of which may be orbiting Sun-like stars therefore this means in our galaxy there could be Other planets supporting life but noone is fully sure.I would like to end my comment by saying,Next time before you comment on something Cheak it,and try to add more descriptions
      Admirable_Signature.

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  • Birchwood-logo-250x250.jpg entertaining_strawberry | Birchwood C of E Primary School
    04 Nov 2019

    I will be discussing both reasons why we should and shouldn't stay to exploring Earth.

    We Should Because...
    Over 90% of our own oceans have not been discovered, and 99% of our oceans floors have not been discovered either.Aproxamately 65% of Earth as a whole - including dry land- is undiscovered too!We should save the money and explore the land we live on!
    It costs more than 16 billion pounds per year to explore space! It cost around 10000 to 40000 per day to operate an ocean exploration, if we spend the money we spend on space on the ocean, we would be able to use more than a year exploring.
    We Shouldn't Because...
    Exploring space will give more knowlegde about Earth and the space that helps our planet live, we should know about this beacause we can understand more and have a bigger view on life.
    We have already spent so much money and explored so much of space, some people have even dedicated their lives on it! So why should we just take that away from them?
    Based on these, it can be pretty had to make a decision, but I have come to a conlusion that we should explore space, but whilst doing that, explore Erath aswell. This way, we are getting even more knowlegde about life as possible.

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    1. tom Tom @ the BNC
      entertaining_strawberry's comment 04 Nov 2019

      I like how you have looked at both sides of the argument here!

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  • Boutcher-logo-250x250.jpg impartial_panda_bear | Boutcher C of E Primary School
    06 Nov 2019

    Space

    The whole idea of space is pretty hard to get your head around. Just the thought of different planets, stars, rocks and even types of life not only in our solar system, but also in the whole of the universe, is enough to blow your mind. But, is it worth the risk, the work, the effort, or the money to explore further into the place that we live in?

    Yes! We should go for it!

    Curiosity is one of the main things that make our lives exciting. We can explore, adventure, ask questions, discover, and learn so much from speaking out. But if our questions are never answered, then what is the point of wondering? What is the point of thinking outside the box, other than to prove to your teacher that you know how to use a question mark? From the beginning of time, we have been asking questions, and finding answers, others we wouldn't know anything today! If we didn't ask why is this happening, or what is going on, then there would be no BNC to answer and debate on. Imagine if no one bothered to answer anything... And that might be the way that we go, not bothering to discover things about space might lead to not bothering to discover things about the Earth,and then not bothering to discover things about nature and then not bothering to discover things the ect. We don't want that for our society - humans are already lazy enough, and one day, learning about space may save us from problems and barriers humans have created. Space is amazing, and some people dedicate their life to exploring things out there. Should we really put a stop to their work, and forget about all they have discovered until this point? Should we really stop asking questions?

    No! We must save our money for the things that really matter!

    It is all very well saying that space is amazing and that it is the hope for our society and that it will save us from this and that, and that we should never stop asking questions and considering possibilities and that... However, think about what is happening, not in the universe, but on a much smaller scale. Think about what is happening to our WORLD. To what is happening to where we live! We need to protect the place that we live in now, not where we might in thousands of years time. If we always said " We'll just avoid that problem and go and do this, " not only would we be in need of answers to questions, but solutions to human made problems! How can we be expected to look after our whole solar system of we can't look after our planet? Also, we needed that money, time and effort for things that happen in our Earth. We need all the help we can get to solve problems that we have created. Also, why look up to the sky and explore and spend money up there... There is so much on our Earth that we haven't yet explored, why spend the money at on something unrealistic and far away.

    My opinion.

    While looking after our Earth is very important, I think that Space is so amazing and humans are so curious that it would be a shame not to explore. We have already discovered so much and spent SO much money on various things (e.g the International Space station, rockets, technology, scientists, data gathering) that it seems a shame to put a wall down and say "no more. We have spent too much money" . However, I think that it is important to look after what we have got, and not always say " we can use this when this runs out, and when that runs out we can use this. (An examples or of this might be of a child is always being careless with his/her possessions, and when one thing is lost or ruined, they just get replacement. However, one day, they may discover that they can't get more, either they came afford it or it is no longer available, or it is just not possible to get that anymore. Then the child would be stuck with lots of useless, broken possessions.)

    Space travel is expensive, and not brilliant for the environment, but personally, I think it is worth it!

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    1. tom Tom @ the BNC
      impartial_panda_bear's comment 06 Nov 2019

      Strong reasons on either side and you have spoken up with your opinion having weighed up both. What's your main reason for saying yes, it is worth it, aside from it being a shame not to?

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      1. Boutcher-logo-250x250.jpg impartial_panda_bear | Boutcher C of E Primary School
        Tom @ the BNC's comment 08 Nov 2019

        My main reason half goes along with what I mentioned before: it being a shame not to. We have spent a lot of money on Space - the international Space station is the most expensive object ever made. We cannot change what we have already done, and leaders in the past have already made the decision of spending that money along with other countries - if we just don't use it, then that so like putting Britain's contributions and efforts down the toilet. We are losing so much: not only money, but also information and data. We could've done so much with that!!!
        However, that above sort of goes with the heading "it seems a shame not to use it" so my other and completely separate idea is based on this...
        "Technology will save us"
        This advert is EVERYWHERE!!! I do not completely agree with this ad, as we cannot guarantee that we can rely on something like technology. However, it does have a point, technology can help us, and I believe that if we persist with space and all that we can get from it, we may learn something from our discoveries that may be vital in developing a safer, nicer, healthier and happier economy.
        (E.g We discovered water purification tablets from our discoveries and efforts in Space.)

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  • The Sherwood School positive_juniper | The Sherwood School
    07 Nov 2019

    there were strong reasons that i agree

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  • Graveney-logo-250x250.jpg inspiring_penguin | Graveney School
    07 Nov 2019

    Space exploration is a relatively new prospect and something phenomenal as well as giving us new discoveries that can change our future drastically for the better . However, it is also incredibly dangerous and extremely life threatening for anyone who dares to go up there so the question is: Is human life more valuable than space exploration and how much are we really willing risk? I think this is definitely something to be sceptical about because both are equally vital our planet and it's future.

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  • Richmond-Hill-logo-250x250.jpg stellar_context | Richmond Hill Academy
    08 Nov 2019

    There are many good reasons to continue to explore space, which most Americans have undoubtedly heard. Some have been debated in public policy circles and evaluated on the basis of financial investment. In announcing his commitment to send the country back to the moon and, later, on to Mars, President Bush quite correctly said that we do it for purposes of scientific discovery, economic benefit, and national security. I’ve given speeches on each of those topics, and these reasons can be clearly shown to be true. And presidential science advisor Jack Marburger has said that questions about space exploration come down to whether we want to bring the solar system within mankind’s sphere of economic influence. I think that is extraordinarily well put

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    1. tom Tom @ the BNC
      stellar_context's comment 08 Nov 2019

      Please only write in your own words on the Hub - we do not allow copy and pasting unless quoting from a website within your own writing.

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  • Hammond School logo radical_koala | Hammond Junior School F
    08 Nov 2019

    I think it is unnecessary that we are wasting so much money on getting into space when recently, using NASA's "Splitzer Space" Telescope, astronomas (people who study the universe) have discovered a planet 13,000 light years away from earth proving we can stay on earth and still discover space.

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  • Boutcher-logo-250x250.jpg impartial_panda_bear | Boutcher C of E Primary School
    08 Nov 2019

    Personally, I do think that Space exploration is worth the cost, but the expenses are not the only thing that may stop people from wanting to explore further. One of the main reasons that bothers me is... What it does to the environment. Just flying in a plane for under an hour can cause so much harm to the already hurt planet. That is just one person, on one plane, for a flight under one hour. Now imagine that but much, much worse. Space travel may harm our planet so much that while you may say that space and discoveries can help us, do we have enough time to discover and prepare all that may save us or will it be too late? It feels like a snowball rolling down a hill. One side rolls over, thinking it may have solved the problem (this might be us saying technology will have saved us) and then it rolls over (like what we might do when we start causing more damage to the environment then in the first place) it rolls over again, this time bigger (like a bigger problem). Then we start all over again, using technology to help... Then making it worse... Then using technology to help...
    This is one of the biggest arguments that I think may stop me from making a definite decision in the end...

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    1. tom Tom @ the BNC
      impartial_panda_bear's comment 11 Nov 2019

      You've looked at the consequences of space travel here, impartial_panda_bear, to support your conclusions. What would you need to know to make a definite decision?

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      1. Boutcher-logo-250x250.jpg impartial_panda_bear | Boutcher C of E Primary School
        Tom @ the BNC's comment 11 Nov 2019

        I would want to know the exact statistics with proof from many different reliable sources on different pros and cons on each side of the argument. Then, bearing all this in mind, and the sort of person I am (e.g whether I'm curious and like to discover, or very careful with money and cautious) and then make my final definite decision. I think this is important if I want to be sure of what I think, and not just go with the opinion that forms in my mind when I first hear the question "is space exploration worth the cost?"

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        1. tom Tom @ the BNC
          impartial_panda_bear's comment 11 Nov 2019

          These are the words of a sceptical thinker! What have you found that will help you make a decision?

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  • Preston Manor School bright_leaf | Preston Manor School
    15 Nov 2019

    I think that space exploration is positive, we get to find out more about our galaxy, our universe, but cost-wise, it may not be the best idea. What is the chance of success? What are the risks? To me, the fact that it could definitely benefit someone's life. I think of it as a more temporary solution. I'm not sure as to where this funding would come from as well.

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