Since the beginning of the space age, there have been those who criticized space exploration for not benefitting the common man in any way. Arguably, in the beginning, this may have been true. After all, the first satellite was launched with an aim to intimidate an opponent, not with the goal of exploring space.
Today, the scenario has changed completely. Even though the goal is space exploration, the people living here on earth also benefit along every step of the way. For every telescope or probe launched there are many others that make telecommunication, GPS, and remote sensing possible. The fact is that we are now in an era where the tech that makes life in space possible can be used to make life here on earth more comfortable.
Space technology has slowly, but steadily built up to a point where it can benefit us. We can think of the first space missions as scouting missions. We were exploring new territory, unsure of what it presents in the form of resources. Later, as we started to send up stations like the Mir and Skylab, we were reluctant settlers, still not completely sure of the place’s offerings, but firmly believing that it would be worth it. Fast forward 20 years and we have created the International Space Station.
The ISS is the pinnacle of human cooperation and ingenuity. It is humanity’s outpost among the stars.This engineering marvel is meant to be a testing ground for missions to take humans further away from Earth than we have ever been. But it is, in fact, a laboratory. Finding out the effects of micro-gravity on the human body, measuring cosmic radiation and trying to detect dark matter is only a fraction of what is done on the ISS. A majority of the experiments done, directly make life better for the common man.