Spending for the future

Satellites_For_Sale_-_GPN-2000-001036

I think that we all hear the same old story, no matter the country you live in. “We should stop to waste money on space-related programs, there are so many problems to be solved here! Who cares for probes, telescopes and stuff like that when we have so many people suffering on Earth?”

At first, such an argument could sound good. We have a number of ongoing wars, there are a lot of people under the minimum living conditions, a declining global ecology and  other worrying stuff at hand.


It’s also true that no investment program can solve all this problem. Even if we shut down every single space-related program at once, the money will not be enough to change this world. Like it or not, our kind of economy isn’t suited to keep seven billion people happy and well nourished.
Humankind grows thru consumption of resources and our collective growth will need more and more resources in the future and our beloved planet is not enough. Consider also that the main cause for conflict in the human history is the control of basic commodities like water, oil, minerals and cultivable areas.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The need for resources drives to look at our Solar system. Out there we could have energy, water, raw materials. If our species have a future (it’s a BIG if), then we have to invest more and more in the direction of space-related programs. It’s a matter of choices. Government-driven programs were the only way available
until a few years ago, now it’s time to push harder in this direction, using a combination of money derived from private industry and guarantees based on international projects. Think about ISS as a model.

The history of space exploration has been a massive driver for science and technology. Think about new materials, power generation, and energy, recycling and waste management,robotics, health, engineering, computers. The industrial and economic impact of such innovations, plus the social transformations  triggered by such progress, changed for good our world.

English: Backdropped by the blackness of space...

English: Backdropped by the blackness of space and Earth’s horizon, the Columbus laboratory (center) — the newest addition to the International Space Station — is featured in this image photographed by a crewmember on the Space Shuttle Atlantis while docked with the station. فارسی: آزمایشگاه فضایی کلمبوس، بخشی از ایستگاه فضایی بین‌المللی. تصویر از داخل فضاپیمای آتلانتیس گرفته شده است. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the foreseeable future, the miniaturization of equipment will give us better performance and lower cost. That will drive to better services on Earth and greater return on investment. The social drive for space exploration will move the next generation to careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, augmenting the drive for scientific and technological innovation.
Is it so difficult to understand?
A dollar invested in space-related progress will give us much more advantages than ten dollars given to any other cause.

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