How the United States Can Benefit From More Space Exploration - Essay Example

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Wesleyan University
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For over fifty years, humans have been exploring space, and the process has produced a continuous flow of collective benefits. In 1957 the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik prompting interests from other nations (Markovich para 2). In fact, the Soviet Union concentration in space made the United States policymakers feel that the country was trailing their Cold War rivals in some way. Consecutively, the United States government decided to invest in education and scientific research to counter the challenge. President Dwight Eisenhower took the first move by initiating the building of a civilian space exploration agency to enhance the United States scientific and engineering prowess. From there on the subsequent presidents in America have committed themselves in propelling the country towards victory in the so-called space race. For instance, the previous reign of President Barrack Obama favored the asteroid mission and had set a goal to orbit Mars by mid-2030s (Markovich para 5). Based on its financial demands, space exploration has turned out as an expensive venture especially in the midst of the recent economic crisis in the country. However, after strong consideration, America seems to hold on with space exploration as its benefits appear to outweigh the cost.

The world has fascinated humans since its existence bringing about endless research to address the differing view burgeoning from various sources. Ancient people came up with myths and theories to explain the presence of celestial bodies like sun, moon, and stars that modern scientists challenge from discoveries. After the successful landing of Apollo 11 and the general news of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, surface governments continue to spend on a space mission. By its nature, space exploration continues to expand human knowledge of the earth, solar system, and other planets. The determination to comprehend the universe has brought about space operation competition from different countries. Despite several drawbacks in the space operations, the process has led to the generation of new knowledge and advancement in science and technology which has added inherent value to humankind. For instance, America is among the countries enjoying the expansion of technology. Some of this development was initially meant to address extreme challenges in space missions.

Today, the scientific knowledge assimilated from space exploration has extended humankinds understanding of nature yielding advanced innovation beneficial to humanity. By following the natural phenomenon, scientists are coming up with innovations and creativity applicable on earth. Health, transport, public safety, energy, industrial productivity are among the sectors affected by this advancements. For example, satellite technology was primarily meant for space, but the same technology has been used to collect data from every part of the planet. The weather satellites have made forecasting the earth atmosphere easier. From a safety and survival perspective, the satellite development has helped to combat dangers of foreign objects likely to collide with earth. During the evolution, the earth has come into collision with asteroids causing global destruction. In future, there is a likelihood of scientists coming up with spacecraft to not only plot asteroids but also prevent them striking the planet (Markovich para 8). Therefore, pulling out the space exploration funds some of the innovation will suffer and American might feel contented hindering discoveries.

Apart from promoting technology the space exploration agencies such as International Space Stations and NASA are obliged to dispel myths that the taxpayer dollars are going into waste. Among the responsibilities held by these organizations include encouraging the public to follow space exploration and attest that American ingenuity can work in space. According to Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist, passion for research strengthens an innovative economy (Kramer para 2). In instances where scientists come up with a new patent to bring development physically or intellectually, that a boost to tomorrows economy. According to NASA, each dollar spent on space exploration, two dollars at least are returned directly or indirectly. In 1960, during the Apollo mission, NASA received approximately four percent of the United States budget. During this time for every dollar spent about nine dollars were recovered through technology (Kramer para 6)). Therefore, it is difficult to quantify the financial returns of space exploration about dollars, but the same can be computed based on its benefit to humanity.

From the previous decade, space race has been taking a new twist. Initially, countries were entirely involved in every development, but today private enterprises such as Space X and Orbital Sciences has taken over the space programs. A substantial amount of people are willing to spend vast sums of money on exploring space. For instance, when NASA needed about 1058 people to have a one-way trip to Mars, they received over 200000 applications (Lambright p 245). As a result, private firms are on the verge of commercializing flights into space. In fact, shortly, space tourism might grow into one of the most profitable economic sectors particularly in the proliferation of satellites and other technologies giving consumers a taste of spaces immense reach. In case, private entrepreneurs end up making substantial profits the government might feel deceived for initiating a fruitful development only to abandon it where it mattered most.

The space exploration has not come to an end nor has the world discovered everything related to the entire universe. In fact, more agencies have joined hands on robotic space missions. They intend to uncover the past of solar system in detail and provide humanity with information on how life began on earth. In the coming decades, there is a likelihood that some space operations might intensify to resolve the dilemma on the possibility of past or present life elsewhere in the solar system. In 2012, NASA revealed that Mars could have supported microbial life based on the early condition on the planet which suggested that water may have flowed on its surface (Lambright p 168). As a result, some agencies have renewed their interests, but American continues to weigh the possibility of withdrawing their funds. However, some of the ongoing operations and discoveries in space might leverage humankinds natural ability to evaluate and adjust to volatile situations. Therefore, by supporting space mission the United States government will be promoting a scientific culture inspiring more discoveries even in the future. Also, by withdrawing their support to space exploration, America will deny their next generation a chance to unmask further uncertainty on the universe.

The United States has received credit for its participation in space missions. In fact, its the only country which has sent humans beyond Earths orbit. However, with its recent slow move to further discoveries, its preeminence in space is under a challenge from the likes of Russia, China, and India among other developed countries. For example, in 2003 China became the third nation to launch a human into orbit autonomously and is still advancing its abilities. The dynamics and different abilities of different countries in science and technology have brought several nations together not only to explore space as a unit but also to ease human life. For instance, the United States has been among the managing partners leading several nations in the space mission under ISS. Today, deeper space operations are more likely to demand international ventures. Therefore, space exploration is not only inspiring international competition but also cooperation (Fowler para3). If America withdraws from some of these ventures, it might be excluding itself from the global technologists and scientists contrary to the will of some of their prominent leaders.

In conclusion, the prospect for benefit creation seems to multiply after the product of space exploration interacts and triggers the imagination and creativity in each field of the present world. For example, Americans are sending numerous experiments to the orbit which happens to improve the products and live on earth. Though, they are suggestions that deserting space exploration could minimize the countries expenditures the claim is malicious. The Americans human space flights cost about $7 billion annually. However, the United States spends over $154 billion on alcohol yearly, spent over 10 billion in Iraq monthly and have written off several international debts worth billions. Therefore, it is outrageous to assume that space exploration demands more than some of the investment. President John F Kennedy once said that America had chosen to explore the universe not because it was an easy task nor hard but to organize and measure the energies and skills in the country (Markovich para 3). During his reign, America was willing to accept any challenge on space and had no intentions of postponing it. As a result, the United States has been among the most advanced nations in technology. Therefore, retreating from space exploration might affect similar positive impacts especially to the future generation.

Work cited

Fowler, Wallace. "Anniversary Shows Us That NASA And Space Exploration Are Worth Their Costs." UT News | The University of Texas At Austin, 2014,

Kramer, Katie. "Build The Economy Here On Earth By Exploring Space: Tyson." 2015,

Lambright, W. Henry. Why Mars: NASA and the politics of space exploration. JHU Press, 2014.

Markovich, Steven. "Space Exploration and U.S. Competitiveness." Council on Foreign Relations, 2014,

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