Posted by: Douglas Mehling | April 14, 2008

Is space exploration a good use of time and money?

Lately I have been exposed to a lot of information about interplanetary and interstellar space exploration.  These have included television programs about exploring the rings and moons of Saturn, plans for manned missions to the Moon and Mars, and also a very interesting book on plans for sending probes to other stars like Alpha Centauri.  In learning about all of these missions and research projects, I have wondered if there is really any practical benefit.  I have repeatedly heard the scientists and engineers responsible for such plans basically say that what they are really after is evidence for extraterrestrial life.  I really don’t have a big problem with space exploration.  I have always been fascinated by the subject.  But much of what NASA and other agencies are doing is funded by our tax dollars.  So I’m wondering if it is the responsibility for a democratically elected government to fund research that quite often sounds like science fiction.  I’m all for it if it has a practical benefit for life on this planet.  But, I haven’t seen any evidence for that.

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Responses

  1. Well, one of the big benefits of space exploration – besides the obvious things we learn about space – are the technological leaps that science makes in simply trying to achieve these missions. Our lives have been enriched in many ways.

    Here’s an interesting link: http://www.stars4space.org/Benefits.html


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