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Perspective: What we gain from exploring space


Recently, we have seen major events in space exploration with Space X and Blue Origin making low-orbit passenger trips, and the Odysseus robotic lander touching down on the face of the moon. Considering the last time a human was on the moon was back in 1972, we are making progress with the speed of earth hurtling around the sun, and soon we will make it to Mars.

Many think these developments are amazing, yet many still ask why do we spend billions of dollars trying to get into space when we have so many problems down here? Legitimate question.

First, exploration is one of the purest human characteristics. We have covered the globe, from the top of Everest to the bottom of the Mariana trench, north pole to south pole. Second, it’s an existential quest. We must find new frontiers so that the species can survive, especially if this world should become uninhabitable. But if that doesn’t impress you, the third reason is probably most tangible.

Space exploration creates new technologies that significantly benefit humanity. Consider: memory foam, baby formula, the dust buster, freeze dried foods, infrared thermometers, invisible braces, camera phones, scratch resistant lenses, artificial limbs, the laptop computer and the mouse, insulin pumps, Lasik surgery, air purifiers, current athletic shoes, water filtration systems, wireless headsets, cat scans, and global positioning systems or GPS, all came from space exploration! So, if you are now not sure of where you are going because you are so enthralled with this information, thank space exploration for making sure you never get lost again… among so much more.

I am Joseph Flynn, and that is my perspective. I hope to see you on the dark side of the moon soon!

Joseph Flynn is the executive director for equity and inclusion in the Division of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and an associate professor of curriculum and instruction.