Confessions of an Astrophile
My fellow earthlings, did it ever occur to you why there is so much hype about space exploration when we still have millions of problems on this earth waiting to be solved? Does venturing into the depths of space take precedence over pressing issues such as Poverty, Hunger, Overpopulation, Climate change, Politics etc? Indeed it is one of the most logical questions to ponder about. Mainly because the issues we encounter on a daily basis on earth don't seem to dull our space campaign. Historically speaking as well, even when we were just figuring out how to live on earth, we were always curious about what lay in the sky and beyond. The ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, and Greeks contributed a great deal to early astronomy which invoked the interest in space of the rest of the world. Coming back to the actual benefits of space exploration. These are 4 at the top of my head…
Quest to answer the famous question : Where is Everybody ??
In response to the famous question of Fermi “Where is Everybody?”, we continue our search for the aliens in our cosmic backyard with a tiny ray of hope that we will make contact with them someday. The main advantage of fishing in the extraterrestrial seas would be exchange of all kinds of information between the 2 species in-turn leading to the betterment of both the planets. It would give an insight into the evolution of another planet and also unravel the mysteries of intergalactic and interplanetary space. What humanity wouldn’t give just to have a knock on the door from our cosmic neighbors!
The space revolution also answers some of the basic questions of evolution.
The quest for life on other planets can help us deduce the recipe for life itself, for we were all an outcome of the primordial chemical soup 3.7 billion years ago. The latest JWST telescope, a ground breaking innovation, gives us an insight into the birth of the universe which took place on one universal morning and unfolds the chronological sequence of the cosmic history itself. It reveals the formation and the destruction of planets ,stars and galaxies which allows us to understand our origin , decipher the purpose of existence of our species, how our DNA is coded and also an idea about the path to further evolution. It enables us to understand that ultimately we are all constituted of grains of stardust and just a speck in this vast universe , even though we consider ourselves to take the center stage.
Lifestyle changing space tech
It is also of utmost importance to note that whatever innovations we pursue for space also applies to earth and helps us in one way or another to solve our day-to-day problems. Some of the examples being frozen food, water purification, satellites, solar panels , camera phones, memory foam, 3d food printing, portable computers, LEDs etc.
Innovations such as GPS which was an outcome of the space exploration have become an intrinsic part of life , the lack of which even for a couple of hours would have severe repercussions.
As our thirst for space continues , the list would potentially increase and revolutionize our lifestyles in one way or another. From the past few decades the investment in space tech has only been accelerated . The space race is ON like never before and in the coming future, humanity dreams of manned missions to the Moon, Mars and other planets and eventually establishing settlements in the same.
Promoting International Cooperation
With various countries like US, Russia, China , Japan , India and various others dedicating their prestigious institutions to the study of space, it offers a streak of optimism as opposed to the commonly heard political conflicts.
Collaborated space missions to launch satellites , build/sustain space stations, mine asteroids etc allows to work cooperatively with other nations with mutual trust and respect for each others policies, abilities and developments.
This also enables us to tackle the global earthly problems such asteroid strikes , space debris , solar flares etc with a collective effort and thereby promoting planetary patriotism.
The future definitely looks brighter due to booming interest in the “final frontier” , which is witnessed by flourishing startups and establishments across the world . The privatization of this sector has put the same on its path to exponential growth. Whether it is holoportation , 3D printed rockets , Space Elevator , devices for space mining, conceiving innovations such as these keeps the excitement going. In addition, the sci-fi authors do their part by traversing the concepts of space exploration time travel, black holes, worm holes, space time fabric , gravity , aliens and astrophysics in general, kindling the curiosity of their audience.
Something to ponder about — Eventually when all the scifi turns into reality will our best practices like Ikigai, Kaizen, still be applicable to our planet and other exoplanets which would support life? Or do we have to modify to them to adapt to the new reality?