4 June 2015
Space The Next Frontier
Human fascination with the stars is as ancient as the Mayans and is suggested to be even older. From “be fruitful and multiply” to “live long and prosper,” the instinct to protect and cultivate the species is embodied in art, religion and the imagination of the great minds of our race. As human understanding of space voyages out of the imagination and into reality, the realities of traveling through and living in space are becoming clearer. Exploring and living in space pose an expansive series of problems. However, the solutions to the problems faced by mankind's need to reach beyond the Earth, through the night sky, and into the stars are solutions that will benefit everyone on Earth.
The largest endeavors of space colonization and interplanetary exploration still are on the horizon. It is a dangerous place due to threats brought up by radiation, space debris or the issue of available resources in long voyages. Energy conservation is key, similar to that on Earth. A major part of traveling the distances of space will involve understanding how to create a self sustaining source of energy. Equally important is a scientific understanding of the planet's environment the connected set of systems that make life on Earth possible. Understanding the environment will enable scientists to develop measures that will help keep our global ecosystem in balance. For example a recent scientific acknowledgement on life noted how we can only understand life as a carbon based being. However on other planets that may harbour life we have
to be open to the idea that it is possible for creatures to have adapted to other atoms to live off of.
The ocean floor is an ideal arena for developing a self sustaining habitat. According to the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 71 percent of the world is covered in water and a staggering 91 percent remains unexplored. The vast open resources of the ocean floor are infinitesimal compared to the immensity of space, but are much more easily at hand. If scientists can master controlling an artificial habitat under the sea, in the harsh conditions that include no open supply of air along with little to no sunlight available, life can also be preserved in space and on planets far from earth then can mankind start to colonize and spread out into the enormity of space and grasp the benefits.
Critics of public space agencies like NASA frequently argue that spending money and resources on the space missions for humans into space is wasteful and irresponsible during rough economic period. For example in the most recent report from the Census Bureau recorded 46.2 million people in poverty, the largest number in the 52 years. Putting tax dollars into a shuttle and sending it on an extraplanetary voyage is uneconomical in the view of the general public.
However, beneficial developments of the space program can be found in airports, homes and hospitals around the world. Foam created for protecting the outside of a shuttle passing through the harsh atmosphere has found use as a durable, lightweight molding material for artificial limbs. Research and development for NASA'S programs has initiated a network of hundreds of communication satellites used on a daily basis around the world. Robotic arms used for repairs, maintenance, and hazardous labor in space have evolved into sophisticated tools equally capable of handling nuclear fuel and performing surgeries that require automated precision. The combination of powerful telecommunications and advanced robotics has even enabled remote
surgery a technique that allows specialists to care for patients who would otherwise be separated by distance and expense. Working outside the safety and relative ease of Earth's protective atmosphere inspires the invention of products that make daily life as