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Earth needs a 'Plan B'


09-15-2016 12:41 BJT

Full coverage: China Tiangong-2 Space Lab Launch

Why is all this money being spent on space exploration? To answer that question, here's a look at the benefits -- and some of the risks -- of going into the blackness.

Let’s face it –our planet Earth needs a “Plan B”to keep us alive.

Resources are finite. And the population is ever expanding.

Somewhere into the blackness of space we may find new resources, even a new habitable planet.

British cosmologist Stephen Hawking believes humans will colonize the moon in 50 years and hopes people will be living on Mars by the end of the century.

Space exploration drives innovation. And we are not just talking about batteries, eyeglasses, GPS navigation, weather satellites, or global telecommunications.

Software used for analyzing satellite images of stars has been pointed at the human brain to help detect Alzheimer’s.

A Mars methane detector is being used to help identify leaks in natural gas pipes.

There’s more space in your life than you think.

But if you are dreaming of the next cool gadget, or a holiday in space, you might want to think twice.

Space exploration puts human lives in danger.

Since the 1960s, space flight missions have resulted in the deaths of dozens of astronauts.

And even if you make it out there and back, being exposed to a reduced gravity environment can cause loss of bone density. Space radiation can increase astronauts' lifetime risk of cancer.

Space exploration creates space junk.

After 60 years of space exploration, there are more than 20,000 pieces of debris larger than a softball orbiting the Earth, each one of these objects carries with it the potential to damage or destroy the satellites that we now depend on.

We might find something that is a risk to planet Earth. We just don’t know what’s up there. If aliens are real, they might come and destroy us.

But…this may well be the ultimate drive behind 60 years of space exploration. It satisfies our desire for risks and adventure, to venture out of the planet we call home and touch the possibility of worlds beyond. Yes, it’s immensely dangerous, but…“I get to fly around like Iron Man.”

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