Space – Should the costing be spent?

I have chosen to write a report entitled, “Space – Can the expense be justified?”. I chose this as I had a keen interest in the matter; once we had discussed this as a class. Another reason in which why I have selected this topic is because as the world of media is advancing, this subject has been under debate for many years now, but with no final conclusion. Humans are said to have landed on the moon in 1969, however again through media many accusations have been made against this. This proves media manipulates decisions made; therefore the public should be more aware of the situation.
Sources of information
For this assignment, my main source of information will be the BBC news archive, due to the fact this is a government based company. Therefore the information will be very much factual and reliable, rather than opinion based data from other sources of media. Further on, I will use the British National Space Centre (BNSC) as this is Britain’s main space exploration organisation. Following on, I will be using “Encarta Encyclopedia” which is a screen-based archive of various facts and figures including extended explanations of various topics. This proves I will be using a vast range of sources which I have selected, however most are screen-based as these are constantly being updated throughout key advancements.

The universe contains everything – all of space and time and all the matter and energy within it. The universe is unknowably vast, and ever since it formed, it has been expanding, carrying some of its most distant regions forever beyond the naked eye. The universe contains everything from the smallest atom to the largest galaxy cluster and yet it seems they all have the same laws. [1]
For many years, space was out of reach for humans on our planet. People thought day and night on how to make space exploration a reality. Everyone at some time in their life asks questions similar to: “Where does space begin? Where does it end? What is the difference between space and the universe?”
Space is built of so little matter that we cannot consider it as empty. However on Earth, there is matter everywhere, in the form of liquid/solid/ and gas. In space there is no night or day, this is due to the fact our atmosphere scatters the sun’s rays, ultimately giving the blue colour in our sky. [2]
A crucial property of the universe is that it is expanding. [3] It must be growing, because distant galaxies are quickly withdrawing from Earth. Assuming that the universe has always been growing, it once must have had to be smaller and denser; this is the face which strongly supports the Big Bang theory. [4]
Benefits of space exploration
Space exploration has many benefits for us, which could eventually save mankind from extinction if the time came. The following examples are a handful of positive effects if we did invest more into space exploration.
Population increase/Colonization
Since history has been written, our population has grown rapidly with 6.5 billion people today. It is said that the world’s population has quadrupled in the last one hundred years. If the population carries on dramatically increasing we will have many problems including housing issues, for the number of people. By the year 2050, from predictions, it shows that there will be eventually ten billion people living on Earth, this is a growth around 75 million people per year. [5]
The graph on the left shows the predicted population grown for the next 50 years, as well as the “population boom” which has occurred earlier. The key shows different areas of the world and the population increase there. Asia seems to be increasing the most; this clearly is a developing region of the world. On the other hand a developed region such as Northern America seems to have a steady increase.
For this issue to be rectified, space exploration can be extremely helpful. If we can locate a suitable area beyond the Earth then we can “Colonize”. We have determined that many materials can be available in space, however human space flight advancements and engineering is vital for this to occur. The moon seems to be a viable location for us to “Colonize”, due to the fact, it is extremely close to us compared to other planets therefore easy to transport goods and supplies. The only issue is that there seems to be low amounts of Hydrogen and Carbon. The low gravity is also a major concern.
Lack of resources
As above, if the population carries on increasing as predicted, Earth’s resources will eventually start to run out. This will have a dramatic effect on the habitants on Earth, as many necessities we take for granted will be depleted. These items include:
* Clean water
* Natural resources such as Fossil fuels
Experts say that seas will become emptied of fish while forests – which absorb Carbon Dioxide emissions – are completely destroyed and fresh water supplies become scarce and polluted. For example since 1970 forests have been reduced by twelve percent. This proves that if space exploration improves and is funded, we can get numerous materials from out of space. For example, on the Moon there seems to be a great deal of silicon and metals such as iron, aluminium and titanium. [6]
Counter-benefits of space exploration
On the other hand of this debate, there are many disadvantages against investing in space exploration. This topic has been under debate for many years now, many people feel that the money is better spent elsewhere, ultimately spent on this planet prior to exploring others.
NHS and Healthcare
The amount of money spent on space exploration may have better uses, as the NHS are currently in debt, this should be rectified. Spending for example �150m on a certain probe could instead cut the NHS’s debt by a fifth. Also, there are many people who are fighting disease, however some which aren’t currently curable, as the research hasn’t been paid for; there is always scientist’s salaries to fund. Helping cure disease ultimately seems imperative. Space exploration can’t bring people’s health therefore as healthcare is vital, exploration should be halted until many basic lives saving problems are treated for.
The diagram on the right shows how much per year the NHS is spending, this is also projected for up till 2008.[7] They seem to be spending currently around 90 million per year. This proves to me that developing a space instrument which tends to cost 100 million plus is not needed, as this can be fund the NHS for the year (the entire nation’s treatment).
Human space flight
Unlike robotic space exploration, human space flight costs much more however with little benefit and outcome. Additionally, sending a robotic device to space can increase the scientific knowledge attained. Robots are clearly more efficient than humans, the speed and technology is much faster. The majority of astronauts sent to space also unfortunately pass away due to the tasks being extremely difficult regardless of how much training they have completed.
After completing this report, I have clearly shown the benefits and counter-benefits of space exploration, and wherever it should be funded. I believe my main benefit is how we can search for resources elsewhere, therefore not having to worry greatly on the amount we are using, (within reason). We evidently have two sides of the debate, which can become extremely ethical; “For, or against, science”. However this would be political of me to discuss. I have used evidence from both sides of the argument, the scientific aspect as well as the ethical reasons, which have been shown mainly within the health care section.
It is also debateable that why isn’t the UK investing in human space flight, even though the UK holds the world’s fourth largest economy however they have no presence in manned space flight, or any interest in such activities. On the other hand they have invested largely into unmanned space flight, which have been a helping hand to improve the quality of life.
From this report, evidence shows that the positives unmistakably outweigh the negatives for the title “Space – Can the expense be justified?”. Personally I am supporting space exploration due to the fact I am intrigued into the question many people ask, “What is out there?” I also believe with the advancements of the modern world, during my life time I will be able to maybe benefit from space exploration in one way or another.

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