You wouldn’t have known that’s what he was communicating by the content of his speech: Obama was more concerned with a NASA budgetary increase of six million dollars, allocated for robotic space missions and technological advancements (Obama n.p). But the heart of the matter, for the scientific community and commentators listening in, was the end of American astronauts drifting into space at the behest of tax payers. The reason for Obama’s manned space flights cut was due largely to the Constellation program, an expansive effort to erect a moon base by 2020 for use as a pit stop in future Mars missions, enacted by the Bush administration in 2005 (Sutter n.p.). The pre-Obama administration prog... ... middle of paper ... ...ts Jobs at Michoud.” wwltv.com 16 Apr. 2010.
In 2005 former President George W. Bush instituted the Constellation Program. This program set ambitious, local goals for the National Aeronautic Space Agency (NASA)(Chang). When President Barack Obama took office, however, he set out to change NASA’s objectives. Shifting focus away from local space, President Obama’s plan centered on exploring asteroids and later even Mars (Malik). Unfortunately, or rather maybe fortunately, the funding and laws needed to enact these new policies were stalled for several weeks as a result of the 2011 budget crisis.
The first fifty years in space saw its start when Russia launched Sputnik, the first man made satellite in 1957. This ignited the “Space Race” and spawned a generation of enthusiasm in space travel and the scientific studies that was mainly fueled by the West versus East mentality. It seemed like every kid wanted to be Neil Armstrong during that era and that kept the following generation interested in manned space flight. But, how relevant is manned space flight going to be in the next fifty years with all these world and national issues happening around us that need to be given serious attention and funding? Is there a future in space or should the United States direct their efforts elsewhere?
Technological advancements have made it conceivable for NASA to begin human missions to Mars by 2030 (“NASA’s Bolden”). The scientific community is working diligently on ways to reduce the cost of colonizing Mars, but undoubtedly it will cost billions of dollars to establish and maintain a permanent colony on the planet. Although opponents of space colonization believe it’s a waste of money to invest in Mars, Mars colonization has the potential to alleviate the overpopulated Earth's declining resources of water, fossil fuels, food and jobs. The demand on earth for its resources at this current level is one that will be impossible to maintain in the future. Global warming is clear evidence that the current global population and industrialization has put the sustainability of Earth in doubt.
Curiosity has played an integral role in the advancement of the human species. From the discovery of fire by ancient ancestors to modern space explorations, it has been curiosity and the pursuit for a better future that has made humanity explore and innovate. However, exploration and innovation has never come without sacrifice. In regards to modern space exploration, the efforts to explore the universe has had negative effects including the loss of 18 human lives as of 2005 (CBS News, 2005), a tremendous investment of money, as well as adverse environmental effects both within Planet Earth and the solar system. These sacrifices have been made in efforts of propelling humanity into its most technologically and scientifically advanced stages.
Although the space race spent huge amount of taxpayer’s money, it ultimately changed American views, restored people’s confidence from losing Vietnam War, strengthened US economy, and significantly affected American future. The space race produced controversies that the Americans questioned whether exploring space is necessary. Many people were not optimistic on the prospect of space race. Nobel laureate Linus Pauling asserted that, "While it will contribute something in the way of scientific discovery, the contribution will be very small compared to putting that money into...medical research or other basic scientific research... [or] in under-developed countries." The public questioned the cost performance of exploring space.
The solar system holds many mysteries and an untold amount of untapped resources that if not explored and utilized by the United States will be utilized by other Nations. With finite resources on Earth any nation that is able to tap into new resources will be at a tremendous advantage both economically and politically. Space exploration also has positive international benefits as well as inspiring young people to enter careers in science. Kofi Annan the United Nations Secretary General at the time stated: "....space exploration can help bring cultures together. Space is also helping us to address some of today's most urgent problems.
I support continued space exploration because the discoveries and innovations that have developed from space exploration research, have made a tremendous technological and economic impact on the United States, justifying its costs. I will elaborate on these advances and discoveries in this research paper. To understand and appreciate why space exploration should be continued, its achievements must be revealed. The science behind space exploration impacts so much more than one might have originally assumed. According to Kristen Kumar, “Important technology areas that have been impacted by space exploration research include; human health, space power and energy storage, life support and communication and navigation” (Kumar, 2011, p. 195).