4 Reasons Why We Don't Explore Space - And Why They Aren't Reasons At All (Part 3 of 4)

Thursday, 13 October 2016 - 11:47AM
Thursday, 13 October 2016 - 11:47AM
4 Reasons Why We Don't Explore Space - And Why They Aren't Reasons At All (Part 3 of 4)
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The following post is the third of a four-part series developed by our partners at Exosphere. Their efforts to overcome the obstacles to space exploration have been embodied in their Exosphere Academy program, in particular in the Mars Colonization stream. Check out their program here: http://exs.ph/2cP0jKA

We recommend you to start the series from the first part here: Part 1 | Part 2

Reason #3: Negative Public Perception

The history of science is a history of thousands of fails and only a few success stories – not such a good balance for newsmakers.

Usually when you ask people why NASA shut down its shuttle program, they answer: because they crash too often. But of 135 total flights only two shuttles crashed. The Challenger was lost at liftoff and Columbia at re-entry. Since the 1960s exactly 20 astronauts died in accidents.
Recent breaking news with titles like "Russian cargo spacecraft is out of control and falling to Earth" do not contribute to favorable public opinion, which in general has decreased more and more with each accident. Good news doesn't sell, so in the editorials we see mostly space accidents.

The public doesn't consider that despite the misfortunes, space exploration holds enormous potential for scientific advancement and economic growth. Each science experiment conducted in space yields new data and is conducive to the advancement of science, regardless of the success or failure of any particular one of those experiments.

Space mining may seem seem like a grand endeavor likely to fail, but it is through those failures that we get closer to actually succeeding.

It takes time to screen the myriads of asteroids in near earth orbit, find those with high enough value to warrant a mining operation, and then bring the output back to Earth. And we are not too far from it: the Rosetta probe had the mission to gather data on mineral resources in comets and its landing on the Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet was successful. But still, the vast majority of the news pieces about space exploration right now are about SpaceX's (casualty-free) explosions

One of the most long-lasting and far-reaching campaigns for "space as a friendly place" has actually been undertaken by Lego, who have been producing space-related toys since 1978. The next surge of space popularity will likely come from things like 3D movies in Oculus Rift or a horror game featuring the ISS.

Until we routinely send television celebrities to space (and, what is more important, successfully return them), negative views will likely prevail in public opinion and in the minds of those writing about this space.
If you are enjoying the series, stay connected. Next week we will have the fourth and final reason "Why We Don't Explore Space and Why They Aren't Reasons At All."

Elon Musk

This post by the Exosphere Academy team is part of an ongoing series from our partners at Exosphere, a learning and problem solving community based in Brazil. To find out more and be a part of their cutting-edge educational programs visit them at http://exs.ph/2cP0jKA