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Is It Worth It to Go Beyond the Atmospheric?

Written by Joseph Holevinski, Converge multimedia journalism intern and Senior at Gwinnett School of Math, Science & Technology (GSMST)

Outer space. Some say it’s the final frontier. However, is it worth the cost to get there? Is there any value in exploring the vast unknown of space if the resulting benefit isn’t worth the expense of making it there? When determining whether or not it is worth it for the government to continue investing in space exploration, we must weigh the pros and cons of doing so.

To many, space seems like the last place that needs to be explored and therefore worth the cost to explore it. Discoveries made in space or even on other planets could be key to helping growth and development on our own planet. There might be some element that could contribute to the invention of new technologies or could become a new source of power. Without continued funding of the space program, we may never make these new discoveries.

Additionally, the colonization of other planets may turn out to be vital for human survival if Earth’s environment were to be compromised. While planetary evacuation is a problem that we won’t have to deal with for hopefully several hundreds or even thousand years, it is important to prepare for the worst just in case.

The colonization of our closest planet, Mars, would take several years and likely billions if not trillions of dollars. This might be worth it to save humanity in a catastrophe, but it might not even be feasible.

There currently aren’t enough resources or advanced technology to make major strides in interstellar exploration. And as of right now, it might not even be worth it. We still haven’t fully studied the planet we are living on. There are some parts of the ocean we haven’t even been to. Focusing on the planet we are currently living on should be our number one priority as a society. There may be great things to discover out there in the vastness of space, but equally great discoveries or even greater ones can come from the further exploration and study of our own planet.

Additionally, while some may be compelled to say that we should begin the colonization of Mars in case we have to abandon Earth, I think that currently it is more vitally important to protect and maintain Earth, so we won’t have to abandon it.

Space exploration will definitely be an important part of the future of humanity, but right now we should focus on the preservation of Earth so that we will have plenty of time to prepare and gather resources for when we boldly go where no man has gone before.