While exploring other planets and sending humans to Mars may seem foolish in light of the significant challenges we face as a species right here on Earth, pure and simple scientific research needs to continue in order for us to evolve. That is the opinion of journalist James Maynard, founder and editor of the blog The Cosmic Companion – specializing in mysteries of the universe and the son of none other than Robert Maynard, designer of energy sources for NASA’s Apollo program.
James wrote an article inspired by memes that have been popping up on the internet recently – which suggest that it would be much better to take care of the problems of our planet and end space exploration that, according to the publications, spend a lot of money and bring no concrete return.
In fact, it may seem superfluous to take humans to the moon and start living on Mars while hunger, disease and poverty affect billions of people here on the blue planet. But Maynard warns that this thought fuels a dangerous trend: “an anti-scientific reaction against space exploration”.
Investments in science
Maynard recalls that investments in pure science almost always culminate in technological and social developments that we can never foresee: from his NASA pillow to water filtration systems that save thousands of people from a slow death caused by a lack of drinking water.
The portion of the United States federal budget allocated to NASA is approximately $ 23 billion a year – an expressive amount, but that is less than 0.5% of the country’s budget. “By comparison, NASA received almost 4.5% of US government spending at the height of Apollo’s triumphs,” says Maynard.