The reasons for space travel are countless. Population growth is a major problem that could be helped if space travel led to discovering potentially viable living environments other than Earth. Currently, the population is doubling every 35 years and may speed up with increased technology (1). There is a vicious cycle of poverty, lack of education, and corruption that is already occurring in third world countries due to the population. A second problem that could be helped is a direct result of the first. Industrial production must be maintained, but space and resources on Earth are limited. Space exploration may allow people to relocate these processes, preventing humans from being ruined by their own wastes (1).
Discovering the origins of the universe is a major reason, as moving through space means moving back in time. Eventually, scientists hope to be able to travel back to when the Big Bang occurred, answering questions that are not yet explained by current theories. Also, spin-offs from discoveries made during previous space travel led to our satellite communications systems, GPS, and CAT scanning which has improved many lives (2). The inspiration for further research spurred by space exploration can be phenomenal. The proponents of interstellar exploration have made many advances in space travel. Amazingly, space travel did not begin until halfway through last century! In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first manmade satellite into space, Sputnik 1. Later that year, Sputnik 2 carrying the first animal, Laika, entered into orbit (4). The U.S., through NASA, launched Pioneer 1 in 1958. During the 1960s, the Soviet Union and the U.S. were in a race to be the first to land on the moon. In 1969, the United States successf...
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(1)Meinzer, Dr. Carl. “Space Travel: A Waste of Our Money or a Necessary Investment in Our Future?” AMSAT-DL Journal, Nr. 1/19 March/May 1992. http://www.amsat-dl.org/space.htm
(2)Bush, George W. “President Bush Announces New Vision for Space Exploration Program.” Jan 2004. http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/01/20040114-3.htm
(3)“Space Travel Increases Some Health Risks” Science @ NASA: Interim Mir Science Results Symposium. http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/headlines/msad04nov98_1.htm
(4)Armstrong, Dennis. “Mission Timelines” NASA. October 2004. http://www.nasa.gov/missions/timeline/index.htm