With NASA struggling to stay alive and the world mired in economic trouble, interest in astronomy, cosmology and other space-related sciences seems to have waned in the public eye. Yet, the knowledge we glean from space research can help us with practical applications here on Earth, as Huntingdon Life Sciences shows us. Perhaps what we need is a new space race. What would this accomplish? Well, it would:
Expand the search for Earth-like planets outside our solar system
One of the hottest fields in astronomy right now is exoplanet detection, which has benefited greatly from new technologies. Exoplanet detection, which is the discovery of planets outside our star system, used to be only possible by deducing a celestial body in the shadow of a star. Newer, more sophisticated techniques have made it more likely we will discovery planets hospitable for life.
Expand the development of a fusion-powered rocket
Fusion power in a rocket would not only reduce the incredible cost of putting men and women in space, it would exponentially increase the distances we could traverse. As it stands now, space travel is slow and costly.
Increase the chance of a trip to Mars. The Red Planet has beckoned us for years but the sheer cost of making the trip and ambiguity over what this journey would accomplish has hindered progress. A new space race to Mars would probably parallel the Cold War in terms of creating nationalistic pride.
Add to our understanding of climate change
The more science progresses the more we learn about how our planet operates and how it traps and is affected by the sun’s rays and greenhouse gases.
Make us safer from asteroids
In 1883, hundreds of comet fragments narrowly missed the Earth. We didn’t even know about this until recently, after turning up evidence from a 19th century astronomer. A new space race would force us to draw up contingency plans.
Increase the chance of a colony on the moon. Because of cosmic threats like asteroids, as well as more domestic threats like war, disease, and pollution, it’s probably a good idea for humans to not have all our eggs in one basket, so to speak. Establishing a lunar colony would aid in scientific research, as well as provide some DNA safeguards in the event of a planetary calamity.
Learn more about the origins of the universe
The further out we go, the further back we go in time. New telescopes are peering deeper into the history of universe than ever before. Someday it may be possible for us to actually observe the direct aftermath of the Big Bang.
This is what would likely be accomplished with a new space race. While the cost would be high, so too would be the gains in knowledge, technological advancement, and global safety.