There are critics who disagree with the expenditure on space exploration, which they claim can better be used to solve earthly problems. However, they seem to forget that this is one of the fields which tests a man’s intellect. But, how does a common man draw benefits of space exploration? The advances made in the field of space exploration can be well used in other fields such as medicine, agriculture etc. The following is the list of benefits of space exploration to mankind:
Global Positioning System: Mankind depends on the sea trade for transportation of food grains, fossil fuels, metal ores etc. Global navigation system, GPS helps in timely delivery of these essential goods by providing the ships with essential navigation information. The GNS services are made available using networks of satellites which also enables satellite Internet and satellite phones.
Weather Forecast and Agriculture: Gone are the days when we used to take an umbrella with us while going out if there were black clouds in the sky. Now we can rely on the weather reports updated on an hourly basis. An accurate weather forecast is possible only because of the satellites in space. The satellites also help us in predicting crop yields, pest infestation, and the area under cultivation.
Natural Calamities: It is easy to predict natural calamities such as floods, storms, tornadoes, hurricanes and to locate wildfires and their extent with the help of satellites.
Minerals and Mining: Minerals buried deep under the Earth’s surface can be located using satellites. Precious fossil fuels can be found with the help of satellites.
Electronics: The field of electronics and computers have also benefited from space exploration. The astronauts have manufactured miniature electronic parts that could only be produced in space during their experiments in space stations and space shuttles.
Asteroids: It is believed that an asteroid strike eliminated the dinosaurs on the Earth. One of the benefits of space exploration is that we know about the thousands of asteroids and we can also be vigilant about their “drifts”. Maybe we could prevent the ‘dinosaurian death of mankind’, if and when an asteroid is positioned to repeat history. If it happens, it would be because of the knowledge which is the direct benefit of space exploration.
Energy Source: Scientists and researchers all over the world are attempting to harness the power of nuclear fusion. The process enables the Sun to produce energy in abundance. It is believed that the quantity of electricity generated using 1kg of hydrogen would be equivalent to that of 11,000 metric tons of coal.
Medicine: Another field to glean the benefits of satellite exploration is that of medicine. Metal alloys that are manufactured to be used in space crafts and space shuttles are also used in the health care industry. Nitinol, an alloy is used to make braces. The miniature electronic components which were developed for the space program can be used in an electronic pain-control device that some patients need to use. The implantable insulin pump is based on the mechanical robot arm developed for the Mars Voyager probe.