Benefits of space exploration are many and they have contributed substantially to expand the human frontiers of science. The most important of all these benefits of space exploration is that it provided mankind with a challenge. Next, comes the knowledge that man gained out of his efforts that he made to explore the space. With the help of his spacecraft and satellites, he realized that his theories regarding the universe are true.
His efforts rewarded him with his first true sighting of the glorious Earth, the Blue Planet, spinning and wobbling along her predestined path and doing her best not spill the water in her belly or lose the veil of clouds that shielded her from the harshness of the Sun. Orbiting the Earth, for the first time, he witnessed how day and night, though chasing and trying to obliterate each other, cohabits the earth peacefully, side by side, and the wonder of multiple sunrises that can only be seen from the space.
The Journey of Man from Caves to the Space
First comes the thought and then the action. Thoughts are the food for a keen, curious and developing mind. They are of vital importance as they create a trail for further accomplishments, and leave the footprints of achievements behind as milestones for guiding the others. The space exploration started when man tried to judge whether the stars that rise in the sky after the Sun sets, are accomplices of the bogyman, who, as claimed by the granny, comes quietly in the dark of night to take the naughty children away or are just what they appear to be; distant shiny objects that are themselves afraid of daylight.
His curiosity about the stars was realized as the space exploration benefits in the form of astronomy and navigation of the oceans. When the man set out to explore his own world, these very stars acted as the beacons, the torch bearers for man while he was being tossed on the high seas in his ships that were no bigger than the extended bathtubs, and the water around him, stretched depressingly, from horizon to horizon.
Next, came the theories and the hypotheses about the planets, the sun and universe, which you could count as the benefits of space exploration. What these bodies in the sky are made of and who makes them work? Using these wisps of thoughts to overcome the limits of the gravity of the Earth, man tried to explain, with the aid of telescopes, the existence of universe, planets, the Sun, the moon and ultimately, his own.
The study of the Sun, a star, made him realize that nuclear energy can be a resource, too. Thus, mankind reaped another benefit of the space exploration in the form of a clue to search for a new energy source, that no one has used before.
In 1945, Sir Arthur C. Clarke propagated the idea of satellite communication and then, at last, man found the long awaited reason to leave the Earth. The space exploration moved out of the confines of the cranium to the drawing board which ultimately resulted in blasting of rockets and spaceships such as Apollo-13 towards the planets.
Space shuttle launch realized the chance for a common man to go on a space travel. NASA and the rest of the agencies involved in space exploration launched many spacecraft to explore our solar system. These also include space probes -- robotic, unmanned relatives of rockets and space shuttles. Several countries have released space probes to the moon, to other planets, into interplanetray space and even to the edge of the solar system.
Benefits of Space Exploration to Mankind
There are critics who disagree with the expenditure on space exploration, which they claim can better be used to solve earthly problems. However, they seem to forget that this is one of the fields which tests a man's intellect. But, how does a common man draw benefits of space exploration? The advances made in field of space exploration can be well used in other fields such as medicine, agriculture, etc. The following is the list of benefits of space exploration to mankind:
- Global Positioning System: The mankind depends on the sea trade for transportation of food grains, fossil fuels, metal ores, etc. Global navigation system, GPS helps in timely delivery of these essential goods by providing the ships with essential navigation information. The GNS services are made available using networks of satellites which also enables satellite Internet and satellite phones.
- Weather Forecast and Agriculture: Gone are the days, when we used to take an umbrella with us while going out if there were black clouds in the sky. Now we can rely on the weather reports updated on an hourly basis. The accurate weather forecast is possible only because of the satellites in the space. The satellites also help us in predicting the crop yields, pest infestation and the area under cultivation.
- Natural Calamities: It is easy to predict natural calamities such as floods, storms, tornadoes, hurricanes and to locate wildfires and their extent with the help of satellites.
- Minerals and Mining: Minerals buried deep under the Earth's surface can be located using satellites. Precious fossil fuels can be found with the help of satellites.
- Electronics: The field of electronics and computers have also benefited from the space exploration. The astronauts have manufactured miniature electronic parts that could only be produced in the space during their experiments in the space stations and space shuttles.
- Asteroids: It is believed that an asteroid strike eliminated the dinosaurs on the Earth. One of the benefits of space exploration is that we know about the thousands of asteroids and we can also be vigilant about their "drifts". May be we could prevent 'dinosaurian death of mankind', if and when an asteroid is positioned to repeat history. If it happens, it would be because of the knowledge which is the direct benefit of space exploration.
- Energy Source: The scientists and researchers all over the world are attempting to harness the power of nuclear fusion. The process which enables the Sun to produce energy in abundance. It is believed that quantity of electricity generated using 1kg of hydrogen would be equivalent to that of 11,000 metric tons of coal.
- Medicine: Another field to glean the benefits of the satellite exploration is that of medicine. Metal alloys that are manufactured to be used in spacecraft and space shuttles are also used in the health care industry. Nitinol, an alloy is used to make braces. The miniature electronic components which were developed for the space program can be used in electronic pain-control device that some patients need to use. The implantable insulin pump is based on the mechanical robot arm developed for the Mars Voyager probe.
The space exploration benefits also encompasses the field of communication which needs no explanation. The applications of knowledge and the technologies, that are the outcome of the man's efforts to explore space, are making his life easier indeed!