Millions of dollars are being spent on space exploration in the modern days. Some space critics point out that watching the new trend, a huge sum of money is being spent on wasteful activities. What is your point of view?
I am of the view that spending money on space exploration should not be considered as a wasteful activity. Although many critics argue that space travels have never achieved any major scientific breakthroughs compared to the major costs they involve, by considering the ongoing benefits they generate, some economic analyses have proved it otherwise. Moreover there are many other reasons to argue why space exploration is very important to the mankind;
First and foremost, the space exploration helps us understand the universe that we live in; gather knowledge and understanding of different celestial bodies around us. According to many scientists, this is very important for the survival of mankind since the species on a single planet would very much likely to become extinct in the long run due to various reasons. Lack of natural resources, occurrence of accidents such as comets hitting the earth, nuclear war and worldwide epidemic are some of these reasons. Therefore the idea of extending the human habitat out from Earth into the solar system as we go forward in time is not a bad idea. This is why the renowned scientist, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, once stated that humanity's choice is essentially between expansion off the Earth into space, versus cultural stagnation and death.
Secondly, space exploration promotes advancing scientific research that has led the mankind to enjoy many benefits. For example, there are many commercial products that use the space technology such as rain water purification systems for developing countries, satellite radio, digital and satellite television, cellular phone technology, cordless tools, GPS navigation systems etc. In addition to that, the contribution of space technology to the field of medicine is commendable. It has been instrumental in introducing digital hearing aids, miniature heart pumps, cancer detection devices, common smoke devices etc. Moreover, the satellites in the space help us forecast weather accurately while help prevent the occurrences of natural calamities.
Thirdly, although there is criticism that space exploration has often been used as a proxy competition for geopolitical rivalries such as the Cold War in the early era, today this competition has transformed into form of collaboration that help uniting world nations. The international space station is a good example for this collaborative effort of the world powers such as USA, Russia, France, Japan etc.
Of course, there are many other activities taking place in the world such as waging war and manufacturing nuclear weapons that involve billions of dollars and do not contribute positively to the betterment of the world. On the contrary, the money spent on space exploration does not bring such disastrous effects to the world. Instead it has impacted positively towards the development of human society as described in the previous paragraphs. Therefore I conclude that space exploration cannot be considered as a wasteful activity.