The Benefits of Space Exploration
The need to explore is an inherent trait found in most living creatures, including human beings. However, not everyone can understand the importance and benefits of space exploration. After all, more than half of the earth’s population is ignorant of space knowledge. But it is the endeavor of some people that are making the world go around with innovation.
Space exploration is something that is carried out by only a few people but benefits the whole earth. Take telephones, GPS, and solar cells, for instance. Without help from space, we would still be living like primates without the modern technologies and gadgets that we enjoy today.
Why Is Space Exploration Necessary?
Space exploration paves the way for several benefits, which are both direct and indirect, such as cultural benefits, enhanced space knowledge, development of modern technologies, and more.
While we may not be aware of all the opportunities that space exploration offers, NASA has maintained a statistical analysis of how it has improved the quality of living. According to NASA, space exploration has saved 444000 lives, created 14000 jobs, generated $5 billion in revenue, and more.
With space exploration, NASA has documented that there has been tremendous improvement in the fields of information technology, health and medicine, energy and environment, and public safety, among others.
Space Exploration – Benefits
There are many benefits that space exploration offers. Here are some of the major benefits you can expect.
We can’t deny that inventions are very useful for comfortable living. Not all of us may be aware, but space exploration has made our lives easier with past innovations like water purifiers, implantable heart monitors, solar cells, and more.
Space exploration has made way for various benefits in storing energy as well as generating power. It has also given advantages to various other fields like engineering, computing, allied health careers and medicine, advanced robotics, transportation, and more.
Inspiration is key if you want to live comfortably in a world where the future will be in the hands of today’s kids. Educating children about space during their early years will instill in them an inspiration to pursue the field.
Learning about the stars and the universe is very interesting, especially if you learn from brilliant experts. However, on rational thoughts, not every interested kid will become an astronomer. But the zeal to know more about space will be present, and this indirectly contributes to better space knowledge.
But whether you’re a kid or an adult, the way of the stars is a topic of mystery and wonder. For most of us, we can only marvel at the amazing outer world that is full of enigma and excitement.
In a way, space exploration is what links a nation to another nation. In the past, space exploration used to be a competition among various nations on earth. However, the thing that is outside is too big to comprehend or handle single-handedly. This has compelled global unity, where nations work together as a collective whole to bring positive changes to the world.
Now there are more partnerships and operations from countries around the world, thanks to the International Space Station (ISS), which has been operating for nearly three decades. The number of nations signed to ISS rose from a meager 15 nations to 68 nations.
Prevents Asteroid Catastrophe
It is possible for the earth to suffer from major natural disasters from outer space without proper safety measures to avert these catastrophes. NASA states that it is highly probable for huge asteroids the size of football fields to hit the earth once every 10000 years. This can cause a tragic scene where the asteroid lands.
But what we should really be fearing are asteroids that measure 100 meters or bigger in diameter. You can only imagine the impact that it will have. Large areas on earth will be wiped out, and life will eventually get threatened. This is why it is necessary to have knowledge about space so that preventive measures can be exercised.
Thanks to the advancement in science and technology, NASA has recently launched the Double Asteroid Redirection Test in 2022. This program is to attempt to slightly change the course of an asteroid falling on earth by launching an automatic spacecraft to hit and crash with it.
National Safety and Security
According to the 1967 space treaty, no nation will claim territories in space. But considering that there are many super nations emerging, such as China and Russia, among others, the lust for power and control can divert anyone from what was discussed and signed.
This is why the US needs to be prepared if such hostility occurs among superpower nations. For this sole purpose, Congress passed a law in 2019 for the creation of the US Space Force, a part of the US armed forces whose job is to protect and defend the nation from space attacks.
Raw Material Extraction
Another benefit of space exploration is the extraction of raw materials. Often, the farther they are, the more rare and valuable they will be. The outer space bodies have gold, platinum, and other precious stones and minerals that we take to invent and create.
The moon and asteroids are great places to find rare raw materials. For instance, the moon is a rich source of helium-3 that can be used as nuclear power plant fuel. The moon also offers other rare earth elements like tantalum and europium.
It would be hard to imagine the scenario on earth without assistance from space. Whether it is about understanding our own world better or improving the world, space exploration is crucial. Without the knowledge of how the universe operates, we would be missing out on safety and many other innovations.
Knowing what is happening outside our world not only keeps us informed but can also help us dodge global natural emergencies. Space exploration has benefited humans in so many ways, from offering precious elements and materials to preventing possible mishaps when asteroids threaten to collide with earth.
What Is Comet Hale-Bopp
When anything makes an appearance as bright and dramatic as the Hale-Bopp comet, it forever stays in mind, even if it happened only once in a lifetime. It isn’t surprising why Hale-Bopp is one of the most watched comets. If you don’t already know what comet Hale-Bopp is, here are the facts about this brightest comet that will blow your mind.
What Is Hale-Bopp?
Hale-Bopp is a comet that falls under the category of long-period comets. Compared with short-period comets, these groups of comets are comparatively less predictable because of their elliptical orbits. Hale-Bopp is a bright comet with blue and white tails.
As per a study by the Swinburne University of Technology, Hale-Bopp has an orbital duration of more than 200 years. This strikingly bright comet came closest to earth in 1997 and remained visible for 18 months. Its majestic brightness was most visible in the Northern Hemisphere.
How Was Hale-Bopp Discovered?
The discovery of Hale-Bopp is two-fold. Both the independent discoveries were made by amateur astronomers Thomas Bopp in Arizona and Alan Hale in New Mexico. And this is where the comet earned its name. NASA had recorded this phenomenal discovery as the farthest comet to be found by amateurs when it was discovered.
The discovery of the Hale-Bopp comet by the two astronomers took place on July 23, 1995, independently near spherical cluster M70. It was a surprising discovery because it seemed to have suddenly appeared in the spot where it hadn’t been two weeks ago.
Alan Hale has a doctorate in astronomy. When he trained his telescope to the M70 area, he was amazed to see a foreign dot that hadn’t been there a couple of weeks ago when he looked. Hale believed that the object was a comet when he discovered its movement after checking back after some hours.
Incidentally, Thomas Bopp also discovered the same comet, and both men reported their findings to the International Astronomical Union’s Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams.
The newly-identified comet was named C/1995 O1 and intrigued every astronomer with its bright emission even at a great distance. As a long-period comet, it’s hard for astronomers to predict Hale-Bopp, which is essentially just a ball of dust and ice.
The Origin Of Hale-Bopp Comet
It isn’t quite clear how Hale-Bopp originated. But most research concluded that Hale-Bopp has its origin in the Oort Cloud, like other long-period comets.
Oort Cloud is a globular collection of ice particles whose position lies at an approximate distance of 2000 to 1000000 Astronomical Units (AU) from the sun.
An Astronomical Unit is a unit used to measure the distance between the sun and the earth. One AU equals 150 million kilometers which is the estimated distance between the earth and the sun.
Because of the distant position of the Oort Cloud from the sun, the objects in it are prone to gravitational turmoil. So, even the slightest forces can unhinge the objects in the Oort Cloud and send them to an elliptical orbit that revolves around the sun.
Hale-Bopp: The Comet That Leaves An Impression
Every time something as remarkable as the appearance of Hale-Bopp happens, the tabloids get full. Hale-Bopp incited the interests of the public, and it was apparent on both the internet and in newspapers.
It wasn’t long before some professionalism was put into the survey. Using the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA reported that Hale-Bopp is a gigantic comet with a diameter that spans 30-50 km.
There aren’t many other significant comets that have garnered the same attention and views as Hale-Bopp. The comet features an absolute magnitude of -1 which means that it is one of the brightest heavenly bodies to orbit the inner solar system.
In comparison, the luminosity of Halley’s comet is nothing compared to the brightness of the Hale-Bopp comet. Speculating the brightness from the same distance, the latter is 1000 times more luminous than Halley’s comet.
Hale-Bopp And The Heaven’s Gate Cult Tragedy
The appearance of Hale-Bopp is revolutionary. Not only did it create mass fascination in space and heavenly bodies, but it is also linked with a tragic incident related to the Heaven’s Gate cult. This refers to the mass suicide of 39 members of the cult in San Diego as the comet passed across the earth.
Heaven’s Gate was a religious cult led by Marshall Applewhite. The cult members follow the belief that their bodies are like vessels that could be abandoned for a higher purpose of the soul and spirit. The tragedy was doomed to happen when the cult started believing that Hale-Bopp didn’t appear alone. They believed that the comet was followed by an alien spacecraft.
NASA reports that March 22, 1997, is the day when Hale-Bopp came the closest to earth. The mass suicide happened around the time when the comet was closest. But how did it happen? The short answer is poison.
Marshall Applewhite, along with 38 other members, 17 men, and 21 women, took their own lives believing that the appearance of the comet was a cosmic sign calling them to leave their bodies behind so that their souls could embark on the ghost alien spacecraft for a new life.
The incident took place in San Diego, and the dead bodies wearing matching clothes were found in bunk beds in a mansion. The members consumed a deadly mixture of vodka and Phenobarbital to die and prepare their souls to be transported to what they believed Hale-Bopp is bringing along with it.
Will We See Hale-Bopp In The Skies Again?
Not likely. At least not in our time. The latest appearance of Hale-Bopp on earth’s sky was in 1997. Before that, it appeared once about 4200 years ago. So this means that it will be thousands of years until the comet makes another appearance.
According to estimates, this comet isn’t set to return to earth’s sphere until 4385. This large active comet has an approximate diameter of 40 km with a speed of 1.2 billion miles in four years.
A good number of amateur astronauts have discovered foreign objects in space. But with more and more spacecraft and satellites emerging, such as the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), the detection of unfamiliar objects has become relatively more relaxed.