Should we spend the huge amounts of money in space while here in earth we are facing serious poverty issues?
In the beginning of space race only two countries mostly invested on a space mission, USA and Russia, but seeing at the successes achieved by those countries, Japan then China and few other developing countries began to expand their space programs. The total investment today on space programs is in thousands of billion dollars. But is it really worth of that much cost? We are in the 21st century but the problems created due to poverty are still in large amounts. More than 50% of the world's population is living below the poverty level which is causing health and security issues. One of the main reasons is negating poor people. There must be a balance of money utilisation to achieve a prosperous, healthy and peaceful world.
What do you think in this matter?
The obvious answer here is that trillions of dollars have been spent to fight poverty and we haven't managed to do it yet. This report shows that the U.S. government spent $799 billion to fight poverty in 2012. What do we have to show for it? Lots of money spent and there are still poor people living on the streets.
But space programs worldwide are somehow the bad guy. They're an easy target because space exploration is seen as a luxury and nobody wants to talk about the good things that have come out of the space program. Imaging satellites give us a better picture of things like illegal logging that damage the environment. Each person that has a job at NASA or one of NASA's contractors is one who isn't collecting welfare or living on the streets. Even with all the benefits of the space program, we Americans spend more on our pets than we do on the space program every year. So tell me again about why we should all beat up on the scientists, engineers and technicians who work for NASA.
You are right at the part much more is expended on pets than on Space programs, and yes these space programs have helped us to make this world better.
But what's going to benefit from investing to live on Mars? When I heard about the Project of UAE for making colonies on Mars, It was pretty confusing for me why we humans are expending that much money on these type of projects.
Benefits of colonizing Mars? There will be quite a few. If anything, living on Mars will teach us a lot about sustainable living, including how to produce our own drinking water, produce fresh food locally on Mars, recycle everything that can conceivably be recycled, and get us used to producing our own power. And the last will include having a backup power generator that is several levels above just having a gas generator that we can run for just a few hours when the power goes out during a storm. I could probably go on about forever, but the point is that the same technology that will be useful for life on Mars can also be used to make life better on Earth.
In reply to the original question, I don't think we should compare apples and oranges. There is the space program, and then there are efforts to battle hunger and poverty. Each should get the attention it deserves.
Space exploration has huge benefits. RocketRacoon has mentioned one of them.. imaging satellites.
An important thing is that we really don't know what's out there. We need to invest in space exploration because it will benefit our offspring. There might come a day that it is no longer possible to live on earth. At the current rate of destruction, the rain forests will be gone in 150 years or less. Pollution is real, and should not be taken lightly.
There is radioactive waste at the bottom of the ocean. It's sealed, but how about some corrosion a few centuries down the road?
We're destroying the earth and there might come a time that we need to find a different planet. Not tomorrow, not next year, but that time could come, and that's why space exploration is very important today. Let's not wait until it's too late. It is just as important as finding a decent cure for cancer and battling hunger and poverty because it could be the ticket to survival, eventually.
Somebody will inevitably argue that we'll just spread our irresponsible behavior that is destroying Earth if we go colonize other planets. I don't think that's going to be the case. If anything, it will force people to be more aware of the impact that human activity has on the environment because colonists are going to feel the effects pretty much right away if there's too much air pollution in the colony, if pollutants are leaking into the greenhouses and killing plants, if the greenhouse workers are ignoring sustainable practices, or if the colonists aren't recycling everything in an efficient manner. There's also people who are looking into In-Situ Resource Utilization, which at it best will provide a sustainable and reliable way to keep colonies supplied with what they need by making use of local raw materials rather than rely on having everything shipped from Earth. I say this because when supply chains get too long and too complicated, eventually something is going to get disrupted and could bring the whole thing down. And that means the colony is going to have to learn how to be self-sufficient, be sustainable. And that alone will encourage behavior that is more responsible than what humanity has been doing to Earth.
I am not sure, to tell you the truth. We already know what we've done to the earth, our beautiful planet earth. Eventually the earth will become difficult to survive on, mainly due to what we've done to it, due to the fact that we were irresponsible. I so hope that people will change once they have to look for other places to live, but I don't think we have a guarantee that they will be more responsible elsewhere than they are on the earth.
It reminds me of a friend who had a heart attack a few years ago, He drank and smoked up a storm. He loved bacon and greasy foods. He had quadruple bypass surgery. Did he learn? Nah. His reasoning was "Well my arteries are all clean now, so I'm good for a bit, and smoking and my other bad habits won't affect my heart for a long time".
This is what might happen in space. It'll be clean, magical, untouched. One might think that it isn't necessary to take care of the next planet. It'll be empty, and it'll be clean. Who will care about preserving it at that point? I hope I'm wrong, for our children's sake.
The lesson we get out of your friend who died of a heart attack is that irresponsible behavior does have consequences. I don't see that as a reason to hold back the people who are capable of responsible behavior or would be if given more choices and information. There are people who don't deserve to be stuck on the same planet as the irresponsible individuals and organizations who are destroying it because you can be sure that the innocent people will suffer the exact same consequences even though they tried to be responsible stewards or at least reduce their own harmful impact even if they couldn't change the world. These responsible people deserve a chance to escape the consequences of poor behavior that they never voluntarily participated in even if it means joining a space colony.