28Nov2015

Our Generation Needs To Value Space Exploration

As technology on Earth flourishes, people tend to care less about the space program — and that’s wrong.

Scientist Bill Nye, better known as the “Science Guy,” recently made a guest appearance on the The Nightly Show and gushed about a new and important scientific discovery: flowing liquid water on Mars.

This discovery leads to new possibilities of life existing on the Red Planet. Nye explained the importance of the discovery, saying the possibility of other life forms “would change the way every one of us feels about being alive, about being a living thing in the cosmos.”However, Nye’s earthly counterparts on The Nightly Show were unimpressed by his explanations. As technology on Earth flourishes, people tend to care less about the space program.

We are stuck in our own little worlds, literally.Mars is believed to have had at one point an ocean approximately 4.3 billion years ago, but as for the presence of liquid water, the discovery was confirmed just recently Sept. 28 when NASA held a press briefing to announce the news. It has been well-known for a long time that Mars already held water trapped in ice caps, but having knowledge of the presence of liquid water could potentially lead to a bigger phenomenon: extraterrestrial life.

The Nightly Show host, Larry Wilmore, begins the program by stating people’s disinterest toward this new scientific discovery and asks Bill Nye to elaborate whether it is worth caring about or not. To this question, Nye excitedly responds that this discovery could change the world and further explains its significance. Wilmore, along with Nightly show panel contributors Michelle Buteau and Ricky Velez show no responsiveness to Nye’s explanations until he makes a reference to “that’s what she said” jokes.

Nye goes on to explain that this discovery could lead to the answers of two big questions held in humanity’s inquisitive nature: “Are we alone in the universe?” and “Where did we all come from?” Asking his counterparts if they care at all about that, it was a clear no.

Velez jokingly responded that no one would care if there are Martians on Mars because most people don’t even like each other on Earth. Buteau strongly agreed saying that “Americans don’t care what’s on Mars. If it’s Caitlyn Jenner’s tears, then tell me all about that water on Mars.”

Having no choice but to bring the topic down to Earth, Nye explains without the space program, all of our everyday technology would not be non-existent. The sad squabble ended with Buteau jokingly asking if there could be a sex tape made on Mars in which Nye played along and gave up his explanations.

NASA has influenced modern society more than it gets credit for. Since 1958, the term “spinoff” was used to describe inventions developed by NASA that are used for its missions and can be further implemented for commercial use. NASA has impacted everything from the restoration of art, the safety of the food we eat and the advanced development of military weapons.

Health, transportation, public safety and consumer goods are only a small percentage of the things indirectly benefited by the space program. Modern life would be less efficient and a lot less entertaining without the help of NASA.

As explained by Nye, the space program’s budget used to 4 percent of the U.S. budget and now it is only .4 percent. Making the discovery on Mars even more amazing, the money used on that research and effort was only 9 percent of that total .4 percent of funding.

Sadly, apathy toward scientific discovery only continues to grow as things become more advanced on Earth. If it doesn’t involve celebrities or iPhone applications, things just go unnoticed. All of the culture that envelops us now is essentially a product of science, which is Nye’s point exactly.

We need to learn to appreciate the space program for more than scientific discovery. Nearly every physical product in existence is a result of science. The way 21st century society has flourished could not be possible without the intelligence and development of our space program.

In addition to an improved level of appreciation, we need to implore our national government to bolster the funding of this essential government agency.  Adapted: Maneater

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