Space activities can be divided in two broad areas:|
1) From Earth: Exploration, SETI, Future space exploitation, etc.
2) To Earth: Space applications and Terrestrial Sciences.
Related to 1) above:
Humankind has maintained through generations a keen curiosity and a need to know. Space activities covers a substantial part of this curiosity, and may give the answer to some fundamental questions, like from where we come, where we go, and mainly, are we alone?
Just to identify, without doubt, the existence of "others", whoever they are, will dramatically change our life on Earth, including our present internal fighting and fending. But more, we may learn fundamental answers to basic questions like health and the origins of life, and eventually the way to modify ourselves in another form of life. The possibilities are enormous, but first we must dare to cross the oceans of space.
Finally, Earth, and also the Sun, have a limited capability to maintain the growing demands of our society. As Human race, we will be forced to tap the resources of outer space, from mining the Moon and the asteroids, to get energy in large platforms directly from the Sun.
Related to 2) above:
The first idea is the one related with national rights: Who owns the Earth orbits? So at least, like in Antarctica, to have an space activity gives a certain "ownership".
But modern life today cannot be conceived without space: It is much more the telecommunications and direct TV broadcasting. We have the weather reports, the use of satellites for precise georeferences, with direct cadastre applications.
Also the Earth Observation activities, from pollution control to agricultural check-outs, border surveillance and control. Furthermore all navigation and precision positioning, we are in the eve of a new era which will include ATM and ATC, automatic distressing signals and much more.
Today without the VSAT (very small aperture terminals) hundreds of business would not be possible, from gas station networks to franchises all around the world.
3) Final remark:
Space is a minor economic activity in today's global economy. But like salt and pepper, in our food, without it our future as a whole will be sour and dull.
Space is not a caprice, not even a fundamental human quest. It is the only way to have a future.
Managing Director, Aerospace and Systems Department
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