Effects and Benefits of Space Exploration: Past, Present and Future

Effects and Benefits of Space Exploration: Past, Present and Future

Norma B. Crosby (Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, Belgium)
DOI: 10.4018/ijstmi.2012010104
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It has been more than half a century since humans first ventured into space. While competing in being the first to land on the Moon, they learned to utilize space for human needs on Earth (e.g., telecommunications, navigation systems). Many space technologies were later applied to basic needs on Earth. Space research and development led to the “transfer of technology” in non-space sectors and became better known as “spin-offs.” They have improved global modern life in many ways. This paper discusses the cost-benefit of space technology spin-offs, as well as the relationships between various space agencies, spin-offs, and commercial enterprises. Other benefits that have come out of space exploration such as psychological, political and environmental effects are also reviewed, as well as the potential future benefits of going to space. Technologies developed for harsh environments on Earth and for those in space benefit all and collaborating both ways is the future.
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2. Cost-Benefit Analysis Of Spin-Offs From Space Exploration

With tens of billions of dollars spent on research every year on a world-wide basis, space agencies have access to some of the best technology and facilities in the world. However, it is at times like these – our current global financial crisis – that the general public may pose the question if the benefits of going to space are indeed worth the costs.

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