Positive attributes of space exploration include identifying potentially habitable planets, locating non-renewable resources and driving technological advancement; however, space exploration has negative attributes, such as exposure to radiation and vacuum, and a high cost of access. The continued exploration of space by humans demonstrates that the rewards outweigh the risks.Know More
Space exploration missions can use manned and unmanned spacecraft, with each having its own unique positive and negative attributes.
Manned spacecraft, such as the International Space Station and the now-defunct Space Shuttle, offer scientists the opportunity to perform orbital experiments that examine the physiological and psychological effects of living in micro-gravity on the human body. These experiments, and the data gained as a result, can spur technological innovations that aim to increase the safety and efficiency of human space exploration. The negative attributes of manned spacecraft missions include danger of exposure to high levels of radiation while in orbit, loss of spacecraft and crew due to human error or mechanical malfunction and the high cost of putting humans and life support systems into orbit. As of 2015, the farthest a manned spacecraft has ever traveled is around the far side of the moon.
Unmanned spacecraft, such as the Lunar Prospector, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Stardust, allow for deeper space exploration that is currently out of reach for manned missions. Unlike manned missions, unmanned space exploration missions do not require human life support systems, which allows for more equipment, sensors and fuel, and thus a greater range and exploration potential. The negative attributes of unmanned spacecraft include high cost of launch and mission management, and risk of damage or failure.Learn more about Space Travel
Some criticisms of space exploration include that it wastes taxpayer money, which could be used to address problems on Earth such as climate change and poverty. Additionally, most of NASA's space exploration programs are unsuccessful. ScienceDaily notes that space exploration is used as a tool for geopolitical and military rivalry and does not improve societies. The Congressional Budget Office cites safety concern as the main argument against space exploration.Full Answer >
Space exploration is expensive, and many claim that money is better spent fixing problems at home. It can also lead to technology that yields weapons. Some have even suggested that space exploration risks drawing the attention of dangerous aliens.Full Answer >
All the advantages of space exploration stem from the fact that it creates an opportunity to discover unknown facts and generate valuable knowledge about the universe. Several discoveries made during space exploration have helped advance industrial productivity, computer technology, agricultural and environmental resource management, consumer goods production, public safety, transportation and medicine.Full Answer >
Space radiation is a hazard to humans in orbit outside the Earth, and it would pose an even bigger threat to astronauts on Mars. The "Red Planet" is closer to the sun and gets much more radiation than Earth, which could theoretically be deadly for Mars astronauts. Still, experts aren't certain as to how this radiation would affect humans.Full Answer >