Space Awareness

Ways Space Makes the World Better

Written by: developer

by Kevin Cook, Space Foundation Vice President – Marketing & Communications

Space exploration; two little words that set the imagination spiraling, invite intense debate and encompass a multi-billion-dollar global industry.

People often ask, ‘what’s in it for me, and how does space exploration make the world a better place?’ The short answer is a lot and, well, it’s complicated.

For many, the first moon landing overshadows virtually everything else the public remembers about space. It was, and is, a tribute to our civilization, and our continued exploration is not trivial in any way. But that’s not the half of it.

International space activity represents a singular gathering, a confluence of extraordinary intelligence and significant investment. What we have done, and continue to do in space, is a perpetuation of human enlightenment. It proves to us that nothing is unattainable – if you put your mind to it. We can even do what we think impossible.

Our continued exploration of the cosmos and consequent technological advancement is a source of things positive, hopeful, and I dare say, rational. But, when you get down to it, space exploration is the ultimate expression of the human condition; our undying, and occasionally annoying, need to constantly push the envelope. Okay, “to go where no man has gone before.” To do the amazing things that we do in space takes real brains, an irresistible concentration of knowledge and skill. And don’t think all those brilliant minds just happen by accident either. It takes serious dedication and equally serious education, along with some surprising imagination.

We’re talking about an impressive line-up of scientists, physicists, engineers, mathematicians and myriad specialists with titles nearly impossible to pronounce. They represent a sub-fraction of humanity, but the scale and number of the miraculous accomplishments this group achieves are insanely out of proportion to their number.

And while the astonishing technologies — there is a load of them — devised to ‘get us out there’ are the most obvious expression of achievement, they are just part of how space exploration makes the world better. The technologies allow us to imagine exploration of our solar system and beyond. They also help us tackle challenges here on Earth by providing sustainable energy, turning wastewater into drinking water, and more efficiently growing food while creating jobs that support a “green” economy.

Truth is, we take most of these marvels for granted, from GPS navigation and dozens of other satellite based miracles, to the many unsung medical marvels. But the single biggest benefit, without doubt, is the collective energy and ability of the people, passionate people, devoted to a cause they hold dear and above all others. This human force represents the best of the best. On any given day, these people make the world a better place.

Learn how you can make the world a better place by nominating a technology for induction into the Space Technology Hall of Fame in 2018 here.

This article is part of Space Watch: July 2017 (Volume: 16, Issue: 7).