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2) Can Space Research be justified nowadays? by Mind Map: 2) Can Space Research be justified
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2) Can Space Research be justified nowadays?

Yes (1)

Prestige and National Pride

Space Research remains as a field that can only be led by leading countries of the world. It is the desire of citizens and nations to be able to say that they are the leaders of that field.

USA and USSR had a Space Race to assert their dominance and superiority in the world's stage. Humans have long been explorers of the unknown and we naturally want to discover more.

Countries that are leaders especially in the field of space research are regarded as the world's leaders as only they have the advanced technology and resources to do so. Also, history tells us that great civilizations do not stop exploring

No (1)

Space research is extremely expensive

Governments spend large amounts of money on space research each year. How would spending US$400 billion on space research be justified when there is poverty in the world? This money spent can be used to fund research in other areas, for example cancer research, or used to aid the poor and homeless.

Example- Nasa people to mars program cost an estimated US$400 billion

Counter - Space research is worth the money spent as it brings us economic returns, new technologies and jobs. For every US dollar spent on space research, the US economy receives US$8 of economic benefits.

Explain what some of these economic benefits are, with specific egs. Spin-offs such as?

Example- The infrared thermometers was a spin-off from NASA method of measuring the temperature of the planets and stars.

About the Question

Space Research

Research involving studies of all aspects of environmental conditions beyond the atmosphere of the earth


To be just or right


Modern Times

At the present day

Yes (2)

Space research can reap great benefits and observations

Money spent on space research is spent on manufacturing, Research and Development, salaries etc, which is dispersed throughout the economy and hence generating economic activity. Meanwhile NASA has invented many useful technologies that benefits consumers, as well as observations that can help mankind.

Global Positioning systems and Satellites are just a few of the many results from space research. Such technology would not have been possible without observing the sun and stars. Also the effect of global warming was discovered not on Earth but on Venus

Hence space research is justified as the many benefits it brings to us far outweighs the costs

No (2)

Space research can lead to environmental damage

Humans has already cause disastrous effects to our own Earth environment. If we continue to expand into space, we would cause environmental damage that might lead to consequences that we can not forsee

Earth is already surrounded by space junk. There are millions of orbiting garbage in the space around the Earth left from missions. In 2008, the U.S Surveillance Network is tracking about 18 000 floating debris that are 5cm in diameter and larger. There are still millions of small marble sized debris.

Rockets gases will produce reactive gases that will break down the ozone layer. This further worsens global warming. Professor Darin Toohey, oceanic and atmospheric department, University of Colorado Boulder says that as the demand for space industries increase, the ozone destruction would be higher than that from CFCs by 2050 if left unchecked.

Counter- The current number of launches of rockets is too few to actually damage the ozone to a large extent. In 2009, the ozone depletion by rockets is a hundredth of a percent.

No (3)

Results of space research may only be visible in the long term

Space research is all about exploring the unknown. Space projects undertaken by nations are often based on theories and guesses by scientists. It may be difficult to place monetary values on the these findings in a short period of time as mankind does not know what benefits do they hold

Example- The Hubble telescope cost US$2.5 billion to construct. Its aim was to study the celestial stars. A long period of time is required before tangible results can surface and directly benefit human society

Explanation: Study of the celestial stars does not benefit mankind in the short run. We might have gained more knowledge and insight into the workings of our universe but humans do not benefit directly from such research. We may only discover its benefits in the long term

Counter: The accumulation of such knowledge is crucial to mankind. Only when we have learnt enough, then are we able make significant breakthroughs such as harvesting natural resources from other planets which will benefit the entire human population. By looking at our neighbouring galaxies, mankind may find suitable inhabitable planets which humans could migrate to when Earth's resources have dried up

Yes (3)

There are other areas which governments spend much more in

Governments are spending more in other sectors. Does this mean that such areas are more important than Space Research? No, thus one can not simply use money to compare between different areas. The cost in terms of money is subjective to the nature of the different fields.

USA spends 16.3 billion a year in NASA, but spent 10 billion a month for the war in Iraq.

The money spent on space exploration, which is used to discover new areas in the universe and new technologies is not a large sum relative to the money spent on wars, which kills people and is hardly beneficial to mankind

If USA can spend much more than space research on going to war, space research would seem justifiable economically.