Following are statements made by members of the Chicago Society for Space Studies in response to a call to members asking why they support space exploration.
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Name: Jim Plaxco
City, State: Schaumburg IL
I believe that the money we spend on space exploration provides us a great value and is an integral component to assuring the continued improvement in human quality of life. It has greatly benefited the technological standing of our country. It has greatly benefited and accelerated advances in medical technology that saves lives. It has opened our eyes to the fragility of our ecosystem through the study of the climate and geology of other planets. The space program has produced remarkable achievements, in spite of having a budget that is much smaller today than the one it had in the 60’s. Space is a frontier that we will need to master in order to assure the long term viability and vitality of humananity.
Name: Bart Leahy
City, State: Huntsville, AL
The space program is absolutely worth the money. In fact, we’ve probably been UNDERspending on space activities.
While not everyone will go into space, space travel has benefitted everybody, whether they admit it or not. We would be financially and spiritually poorer without the technologies that have derived from our activities in space. On the ground, we have miniaturized computers, lightweight plastics, and medical instruments like the CAT scan and MRI. We would have much less warning of approaching hurricanes without weather satellites. We first learned about the “greenhouse effect” through our studies of Venus, and that has caused us to adjust our behavior on Earth. The sight of Earth from space became a visceral image of the environmental movement. These developments would not occur on Earth without FIRST making the investment in space.
The space program has inspired thousands of individuals to pursue scientific and technical careers because of its efforts to try difficult things and explore new and exotic places. Not everyone who was and is inspired by space exploration works in the space program; rather, they contribute their skills to society as doctors, chemists, engineers, and scientists. Those individuals in turn help power our economy and continue to build this nation (incidentally growing the tax base as well). The inspirational factor is not just limited to the sciences. The Hubble Space Telescope has shown us images of unrivalled beauty–in fact, it might qualify as the single greatest scientific and artistic accomplishment in history.
Finally, an investment in space is good for our future. By continuing to develop our nation’s capabilities in space, we can find solutions to our pressing energy problems, locate new material resources, and build new outposts of civilization. It is not enough to fight a war against something; our nation needs to aspire to great things so that we have something to fight FOR–space exploration could be it.
Name: Jim Kovac
City, State: Streamwood, IL
The exploration of space involves a quest for knowledge about places and phenomena which may at first seem remote, mysterious, and alien. Through exploration, we discover connections between those distant environments and our own conditions and existence, and come to better understand our home and our place in the universe.
Name: Nicki Timian
City, State: Chicago IL
I can’t remember who it was who said this, but a man who was reporting on the end of the Apollo missions said, “It wasn’t important that man put his foot on the moon. What was important was that he set his eyes on Earth.” I think that quote sums up my support for space exploration. From Yuri Gagarin to our present shuttle astronauts, men and women have been looking down on the earth and seeing a world without borders, a world so small and fragile in the expanse of space that our conflicts all seemed so insignificant. This perspective, I believe, would have the greatest impact on our society and for the search for lasting peace among the peoples of the world, especially if more people were invited to the chance of experiencing the humbling task of looking at our only home from the outside.
Name: Dave Koch
City, State: Chicago IL
I support space settlement because:
- It will ensure the survival of the human race.
- It will relieve the pressures on Earth caused by over-population.
- It will provide new sources of raw materials, energy and wealth.
- It will provide the adventurers among us with new frontiers to explore and conquer.