Home Opinions Talk it out: Space Exploration

Talk it out: Space Exploration

Illustration by: Karina Herrera | Staff Illustrator

The US government should continue funding space exploration
By Jourdan Bartels

Kid Cudi is known as the “Man on the Moon,” but the most recent man to voyage into outer space is Scott Kelly.

Kelly returned to Earth on March 1, concluding 340 days aboard the International Space Station. Upon returning, Kelly encouraged continued funding for various NASA resources and materials. Matters concerning NASA may sound like rocket science, but it boils down to one question: should our government continue funding space exploration?

Exploring the rest of the universe benefits our world by opening doors in medicine, improving the United States economically, enlightening our global society and maintaining safety for the human race.

During his historic mission, Kelly and the crew conducted over 400 investigations to assist NASA in their goal of getting man on Mars and furthermore vitally “benefit all of humanity.” Previous mission investigations exhibiting these kinds of benefits resulted in the discovery and study of crystals with the potential to slow progress of incurable diseases. Isn’t the possibility of life-saving discoveries enough incentive to continue exploring?
Some may argue funding NASA can be detrimental for the U.S. economy by increasing the national debt. In actuality, explorations and research benefit more than harm the economy in the long run.

NASA conducts diverse research studies that generate new inventions and goods, increasing success for businesses using its materials. In addition, similar to any other professional organization, cuts in funding would consequently cut jobs within the field, increasing unemployment and further harming the economy.

Aside from the obviously favorable monetary and medicinal benefits, space exploration is important simply to enlighten our society and the rest of the world. It is already known that there is so much more out there than Earth, so let’s not choose to be ignorant about the universe.

It is imperative, safety-wise, to learn about space. Asteroids are a very real global threat which have made their presence known in the past. Not to turn this into a sci-fi movie, but there has not been enough evidence uncovered to completely rule out extraterrestrial beings either.

People may not want to think about these threats because they don’t pose an immediate danger, but global threats are an issue we cannot afford to ignore. Consider this financial distinction: the government spends more each year on national defense, only dealing with threats from other groups of people, than it has on NASA since its establishment in 1958—an annual comparison of 18 billion to 614 billion dollars. NASA has the intention and resources to work to protect the entire human race, not just America.

Using space exploration to learn more about the earth has proven to be highly illuminating as well; the infamous photo Earthrise ignited a massive environmental movement, resulting in multiple international organizations and programs.

NASA persistently works to discover new information that continues to inspire and motivate the people of Earth. It is astounding that some parties would want to slow creativity and the progression of intellect.

If something completely new and mind-blowing were discovered, it could have the potential to change everything about the world. This may scare some people, and maybe that is why they want to halt exploration. However, that viewpoint chooses ignorance over enlightenment and profound possibilities.

Funding for space exploration may seem far from direct interest for most Bobcats now, however the aforementioned benefits would unquestionably affect our student body down the road. Our future lives depend on the expansion of innovation, knowledge, medicinal cures, protection and preservation of the human race. However, there is no need to panic. It is simply important to be aware of the endless knowledge available to us.

Why the US government should not continue funding space exploration
By Bridgett Reneau

The debate about whether or not to explore the “final frontier” is back in the media due to the return of astronaut Scott Kelly. While NASA claims his homecoming yields unprecedented knowledge about the cosmos, in terms of relevance, the entirety of the extraterrestrial agenda seems extraneous.

NASA said Kelly spent 340 amazing days in outer space, and claims the research he has conducted will be substantially significant to its current major goal: getting to Mars. Kelly spent time aboard the International Space Station participating as part of a parallel twin study with his brother on Earth. NASA scientists said the study will allow them to understand the long-term effects of space on the body and mind.

Such research seems initially enlightening, but the focus and funds of such a study are rather questionable regarding the amount of humans on Earth versus the few who become astronauts. It would be more pragmatic to spend the billions of dollars going into NASA’s beloved space-age twin study on increasing environmental awareness. Funds should be allocated to financing programs and ideas that are conducive to the preservation of the planet we inhabit.

Taxpayers are obligated to pay for the explorations of the elite individuals who will venture into space, and in doing so, appease NASA’s juvenile curiosity for the unexplored solar system. While space exploration seems fantastic, the caveat is clear: While there seems to be great interest in the unexplored frontier of space, there is less attention placed on environmental awareness.

Judging by NASA’s focus, there is no sense of urgency to protect, preserve or even raise awareness for the beautiful planet tax-paying people spend every day of their life on.

From a utilitarian perspective, the “rationalization” we should spend any time or energy planning to send astronauts to other planets is laughable at best, and repugnant at worst. In the 2016 budget highlights, NASA states that the agency’s program “builds on U.S. preeminence in science and technology” while somehow “(improving) life on earth.”
NASA is not concerned about the global community. It is preoccupied with preserving a so-called standard of excellence it has been focused on since the Cold War. It isn’t about improving anything except the ego of those who are at the top of the capitalistic ladder and attempting to flaunt the apparent scientific superiority of the United States.

Exploring outer space sounds incredible in theory, and there will absolutely be a time in the future when humanity is called upon to venture into the cosmos, but it isn’t now. The current focus ought to be on preserving and appreciating the planet we currently inhabit and raising efforts and awareness in order to do so.