Friday, November 11, 2011
Space Exploration: Waste It or Worth It?
Whenever the economy takes a dive, one of the first areas the federal government cuts is NASA's space program. As a fan of all things cosmological, I always hate hearing about NASA taking another hit. In the face of world hunger and child poverty, however, it can be hard to make the case for the necessity of exploring our solar system and beyond, considering the immense cost and the rather unsure payoff. Most of what we gain from the space program is abstract answers to questions that plague astrophysicists and practically no one else. It's tantalizing to imagine a future of colonies on Mars and other planets or moons in our solar system, but is there really a point?
What are the payoffs, really, to space exploration? Do we need tangible gains to justify it, or is knowledge its own gain? What do you think?