I was eight years old when the Soviet Union launched the first orbiting Satellite, sputnik. The space race began as a competition of pride between two countries determined to prove them selves as more advanced than the other. It became something of much greater importance.
Our space exploration has produced, energized, and accelerated some of the most innovative and important technology of the 20th Century. Batteries and computers have become smaller. Heating and air conditioning are more efficient. The seal on my refrigerator door is improved by the technology of human space exploration. Global Positioning systems in our automobiles and cell phones are products of the research on space. Weather satellites make lives safer for all citizens of the world.
The greatest accomplishment of residual technology is in health care. In order to send a man into space the scientists had to figure out how to monitor human life function from a distance – to put it mildly. This technology led to the advent of the modern ambulance. Much of the advanced technology serving American medical care has come directly from NASA. We need more.
We have not even talked about the military benefits – and I do not feel prepared to adequately address these issues – but targeting of and control of smart bombs cannot be denied.
Space exploration has given us the technology to examine the universe for threats of errant asteroids or comets – providing us the opportunity to protect our planet from potential catastrophic impact. Advances in physics and chemistry are our best hope for continuing advancement of civilization while the earth’s human population is growing at a more rapid rate than ever experienced. These advances in science are our best hope for understanding and taking action on Global Warming.
Even this magazine is a residual effect of advancements in technology from space exploration.
Need I say more?