What have we actually gained from space exploration? Has it gone too far?

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What has space exploration ever done for us?

Space flight began with superpower prestige - and the race to put a man on the moon. What began as human adventure delivered technologies which changed the world. I want to discuss today, what space exploration has given us and if it is worth it. Maybe it has gone too far, should we slow down? These are the perplexing questions I want to answer in this post.

Firstly, space exploration has helped us to invent some great things that have aided us hugely on earth:

Scratch-resistant lenses ~ After NASA developed scratch-resistant astronaut helmets (to avoid damage from space flight), they continued experimenting with scratch-resistant plastics, which now comprise most sunglasses and prescription lenses.

Artificial limbs ~ Innovations originally designed for space vehicles, including artificial muscle systems, robotic sensors, diamond-joint coatings, make artificial human limbs more functional, durable, comfortable and life-like.

LASIK ~ The technology used to track astronauts' eyes during periods in space in order to assess how humans' frames of reference are affected by weightlessness has become essential for use during LASIK surgery. The device tracks a patient's eye positions for the surgeon.

Workout machines ~ Because prolonged exposure to zero-gravity leads to bone loss and muscle atrophy, NASA created workout machines to enable astronauts to maintain physical fitness while in space.

As you can see, due to what astronauts use in space, scientists have been able to make life-changing items for problems on earth. I think this is great because, without space exploration and what the astronauts need, limbless people wouldn't be able to walk and run comfortably with a prosthetic and unlucky people with bad or no eyesight wouldn't be able to fix these issues and can see perfectly. Furthermore, this is amazing and I strongly believe that what we as humans have achieved because of space exploration is definitely something to be celebrated. However, it might have gone too far, should we slow down?

Billionaire entrepreneurs are trying to create rockets fit for human travel, while government agencies spend billions furthering their explorations. But we are still a long way off from making our way to Mars. I understand that we are able to invent incredible things thanks to space exploration but we are getting no closer to our ultimate goal of being able to survive on another planet. At the moment what we are doing is great but we are also losing sight of the most important thing and this is not ok. People on Earth may not survive another 30 years if a nuclear war happens or climate change has become far too irreversible (we aren't far away from that currently) with that being said, I am confused, do we need to start focusing more on surviving on earth or another planet than great inventions? So what do you think? Are the inventions a distraction from the ultimate goal? Has it gone too far? Comment your thoughts below. Thank you for reading.

Comments (24)

  • Olivia-Avatar.jpg Olivia @ the BNC
    16 Dec 2019

    This post shows great research beyond what you've learnt in your BNC sessions and a well-reasoned opinion. Well done. Do you think it has to be either progress in space OR on Earth? Could there be a way of continuing with both at the same time?

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  • Hammond School logo fantastic_mode | Hammond Junior School B
    17 Dec 2019

    Wow really well done and for getting a star.How many stars do you have?

    Reply to this comment
      1. Hammond School logo fantastic_mode | Hammond Junior School B
        frank_chocolate's comment 19 Dec 2019

        Wow you must be really good.I have only 2 stars.

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  • Hammond School logo determined_shrimp | Hammond Junior School B
    17 Dec 2019

    I think we have gained a lot from space exploration but it has also caused the Earth to suffer.

    Firstly, we have gained CAT scans which is an X-ray that can see if people's bodies are functioning properly. They have saved people's lives. Another thing that NASA have created are artificial limbs, these help people be able to live a tolerable life. I passionately believe that people should be able to live how they want and do what they love. Artificial limbs help people do sport and other things physically like the Paralympics.

    Secondly, some things NASA have created effect the human race in a totally different way. A picture of Earth from above can help our planet because we can see if a meteor comes down and might strike Earth and we can save it. Also, we can see the temperature of the sea so we can see how much climate change is getting out of hand.

    On the other hand, every rocket that goes into space releases lots of pollution into the world and damaging the artic and its species like polar bears, seals and penguins. Also, the amount of money that it uses is massive but luckily Space X have reduced the price of a rocket to $90,000,000. This amount of money still effects the world in a bad way.

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    1. Highdown-logo-250x250.jpg frank_chocolate | Highdown School
      determined_shrimp's comment 18 Dec 2019

      Yes. The Earth has been the victim (in a way) because the horrific problems occuring aren't natural, they are man-made and can be prevented. Humans are the bullies and the Earth is the innocent victim. Humans may not survive another couple of decades because what we are doing is back-lashing in our faces and now we are being affected too. We have gained great things from space exploration but is it worth it for what the bad effects of it are? Is it worth having coral reefs die out when quadriplegic people can now walk comfortably and parents don't have to worry about their kids wasting their money by scratching their glasses? The pros and cons on either side, are equal and I cannot decide.

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      1. tom Tom @ the BNC
        frank_chocolate's comment 18 Dec 2019

        If you had to lean towards one side, which way would you lean?

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        1. Highdown-logo-250x250.jpg frank_chocolate | Highdown School
          Tom @ the BNC's comment 18 Dec 2019

          I would lean more to the side that thinks that space exploration is worth it. This is because I think that what we are gaining from it is great and has really helped people. However if I could make one change, I would make sure that we don’t focus so much on space. If we spend all our time and money on space exploration our minds are consumed with it and that energy and passion could go into focusing on other things such as preventing global warming or world hunger. If this happens I will definitely lean more towards thinking that space exploration is worth it, but that relies on whether the government stops consuming their minds with it and focuses on other problems. It is vital for survival.

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  • Braiswick Primary School succinct_leaves | Braiswick Primary School
    17 Dec 2019

    I do acknowledge what space exploration has done, and how it has made so many miserable lives better, but do we regularly find things this useful. I mean, when was the last time you heard that a mission to space has officially gained money? Probably not recently. Rocket launches take $10 million - $400 million to make happen, and we don't frequently find all these incredibly helpful things? And some of these things haven't actually come directly from space exploration. After a search on Google, I found out that the artificial leg was invented in 1846, and had very little to do with space exploration. In addition to this, home horse exercising machines were invented before the time of the first people in space. These things also, similar to what you said, distract us from achieving more in space exploration because it makes us admire our progress when we should just be carrying on and trying to get to our main goal: getting humans on Mars. If we just focused on that and that only, we could maybe be on Mars right not, but we're obviously not. But we also want to be thinking other things (diseases, hunger, overpopulation) of very high importance, maybe higher than space exploration itself. If we could just put a couple billion dollars into these things separately, we could gradually make them disappear. And while you might be thinking we can't just get $2 billion easily, if we just get a fraction of what we spend on space exploration every year, we could get $2 billion in no time.

    Websites I used: https://didyouknowhomes.com/the-history-of-fitness-equipment/

    succinct_leaves

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    1. tom Tom @ the BNC
      succinct_leaves's comment 18 Dec 2019

      You mention space exploration gaining money - have you watched Chris Hadfield's response on this? He talks about how all the investment in space gets spent back on Earth. Take a look and see if it changes your thinking!

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    2. Highdown-logo-250x250.jpg frank_chocolate | Highdown School
      succinct_leaves's comment 18 Dec 2019

      This is exactly what I am confused about because we here about the small things that space but are they just a distraction, do we need to focus more on the bigger picture? Furthermore, I understand that some of the things that I mentioned in my post were discovered before space exploration started, but due to technology used for space flight, scientists have improved these things and made them better than before. I am saying scientists invented these things however thanks to space exploration they have made them better.

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  • Hammond School logo versatile_molecule | Hammond Junior School B
    17 Dec 2019

    Space exploration is not worth it due to the costs.

    Firstly it pollutes the environment due to hydrochloric acid and CO2, I heard on BBC news last week that the ice sheet in Greenland is melting seven times faster than it was 25 years ago, at the rate we are going polar bears and penguins will become extinct, millions of species are dying every day, we really need to help the environment and exploring space is not helping us reach the target of carbon neutral by 2050 that was set by the government.
    Secondly, it costs a lot of money. The average rocket from NASA costs 500 million dollars and the price of satellites can range from 50 million to 400 million, this money could be spent on helping the environment and clearing the seas of plastic. I was listening to BBC news a few days ago and the presenter said that the amount of homeless people had doubled since 2010, the money that people need for space exploration should be used to help them. However, I understand that the point I just made about the homeless could be seen as weak because on that same day when I was watching the news the presenter was talking to a man who had been on the streets for two years but had several physical issues, after he was talked to 12,000 pounds were raised for him but people did not know how to help him due to his issues so no matter how many thousands are raised for homeless people, the people who have special needs are the people who might not get the help they need.
    Lastly, space exploration presents many risks. In 1967, in a launch rehearsal, three astronauts died in a flash fire, India lost contact with their probe, the Apollo 11 mission nearly failed, these are all examples of the risks. In addition to this, long periods in space can lead to blood pressure changes due to microgravity, DNA could get damaged due to radiation exposure and muscle mass could be lost.
    On the other hand, space exploration has benefited our lives in different ways, satellites have enabled telecoms and enhanced weather monitoring, water purification systems have allowed us to drink clean water and fire fighter gear has helped fire fighters put out fires more effectively. Space exploration also quenches our thirst to reach to new heights and shows the younger generations that they are also capable of great things.
    Source: BBC

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    1. tom Tom @ the BNC
      versatile_molecule's comment 18 Dec 2019

      Fantastic research, versatile_molecule!

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  • Graveney-logo-250x250.jpg beloved_chocolate | Graveney School
    18 Dec 2019

    I do not think that we have to choose between developing technology for surviving on earth and developing technology for surviving on other planets. Both, in my opinion, are important. Space because it helps us develop more technology which in fact helps people on earth anyway, helps us discover more about the universe and physics, and presents possibilities for a refuge for people on earth if the planet becomes uninhabitable or dangerous to live on. Earth because it can help save people's lives and make them better, as well as helping us discover more about ourselves and preserve the planet so that we do not need a refuge.

    I think that we can do both: governments and charities are already working very hard to help the earth, and although many people are living in poverty, and there are a lot of wars, a lot is being done to combat this. And also, NASA and other space agencies are working hard to explore space, as well as private space companies. We are already doing both, and I think we could continue to do this in the future.

    However, if we had to choose, I think that Earth would be more important, because all the people that the governments who fund space travel are responsible for are on Earth, and there is a lot wrong with the world at the moment. There are people living in very bad conditions, there are wars and famine and disease, as well as global warming which we must combat, and I think protecting the people is more important for the governments of these countries to do because that is what they were elected for, to help their people, not to find other planets, though this may help them, it would be only for the few, and not the whole country they are responsible for.

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    1. tom Tom @ the BNC
      beloved_chocolate's comment 18 Dec 2019

      Good reasoning!

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  • Halsnead logo charismatic_significance | Halsnead Primary School
    15 Jan 2020

    Thank you for this post it was helpful and understanding about earth pollution and about space as well!

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  • Lyons Hall Primary School steadfast_dove | Lyons Hall Primary School E
    12 Feb 2020

    Fantastic article which more people should read to fully understand what space exploration has done for us. Without some things that space has made like scratch - resistant lenses, people that wanted to go up to space would not be able to. I also have another opinon on space exploration, everyone has been saying there are more important things in life than space exploration i agree with what they are saying but i also agree on spending more money on space. I agree on not spending more money because even though space is a big thing there are other big things like nurses, doctors without these people humans that are unwell will not survive. I agree on spending more money because everything that space has done for us we are not repaying them anything back. If you all think about it when the first man landed on the moon it was a massive achievement, so if that was such great for them when they landed on the moon just because it have been done before doesn't mean it cant be done again it will still be a great achievement. And the person that did that it will stay in their memory forever!

    Thank you for reading.

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  • White Hall Academy playful_wallaby | White Hall Academy F
    23 Mar 2020

    I personally think that the cause of space exploration is when we get closer to things we can start to figure out what is actually happening. From the ground we don’t know if asteroids are going to hit. The space station tells us. But it is also fun to look at space. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It is strange abd peculiar to feel weightless. By the way great question I look forward to your reply

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  • global-conversation.png flourished_dinosaur | Rev Father Lemmens Basic School | Ghana
    23 Apr 2020

    Wow this pictur shows how space look like .

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  • global-conversation.png precious_twilight | Mwangaza Secondary School | Kenya
    24 Apr 2020

    Space exploration is important because ,while the planet Earth is becoming more hostile,the human race must find a way to survive,and the best way to do that is to explore space and colonize a future planet.Even though it has such importance,we in planet Earth must think of ourselves.we have gone too far even forgetting ourselves.Alot of money used in space exploration can be used to improve economy and help the needy people in the society.I give my votes to human life because it's more important than space exploration

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