Human Space Exploration: Essential for our Survival

The International Space Station (NASA)

So what is the point of exploring space anyway? We have famine, disease and disaster here down on Earth, why the hell should we direct funds toward manned exploration of the Solar System and beyond? The answer is far from simple, but my personal answer is: to explore the undiscovered

This question has dogged me since I took that very first astronomy class at school. “Why would you want to go into space anyway?” The answer to me was quite simple: to explore the undiscovered. I wanted to personally go up there into the cosmos to explore a universe I had little understanding of. After all, you only understand and believe after seeing it with your own eyes. So as I got called a geek (or names to that effect that I wont print here), I was happy in the knowledge that I was right and everyone who didn’t want to know about going into space were obviously very boring or very short-sighted.

As I grew up, went through college and then to university, the question became even more persistent, with an added twist: debate. Suddenly I was put on the spot by friends and housemates, “with all the problems in the world, how can spending hundreds of billions of pounds on blasting people into space be a good thing?” This time I had to defend my point of view, and defend it I did. Turning the third season of Babylon 5 off from the video, putting the Pot Noodle on my desk, giving the question full consideration I mustered the best argument I could. After all, this was university; my brain was maturing, beginning to devise its own views and opinions. After some thought I answered:

To explore the undiscovered.

I was quite warmed to find that many people had a similar argument for going into space. Putting medical research in zero-G, satellite tech and space tourism to one side, the overriding reason we want to go into space is because, well, it’s there. This is the foundation of the human race, to explore and evolve. Ever since we clambered out of our caves and looked toward the horizon, we’ve had the indomitable spirit to explore. Once the world was flat and we were the centre of the universe; through exploration and scientific reasoning we realised this not to be the case.

As we push into the stars we will realise this “proto-space” world we live on is merely the seed to something unimaginably huge…

Have a look at the discussion over at the Universe Today, it looks like some fellow space bloggers might have been called a geek (or worse) at school too…

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