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Humans should stop trying to explore other planets

Humans should stop trying to explore other planets

Humans should stop trying to explore other planets
August 08
16:00 2020

On July 23, China’s Tianwen-1 was successfully launched into space on a mission to Mars. This is China’s first independent exploration of Mars and will be an almost seven-month journey for the spacecraft. According to China Aerospace and Technology Corporation, the goal for their Mars probe is to complete an orbiting, landing and roving of the planet in one mission. 

This is no doubt a very exciting time for China in their quest for knowledge about space and our universe, however, they aren’t the only ones who recently set out on a Mars mission last month. 

NASA also successfully launched The Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover on July 30 and like the Tianwen- 1, it will also be a seven-month journey for the spacecraft to reach Mars. The  Perseverance is supposed to “search for signs of ancient microbial life, which will advance NASA’s quest to explore the past habitability of Mars,” as reported by NASA Science. 

There are four science objectives of Perseverance and the first three are focused on finding out if there was life on Mars in the past. The fourth objective is preparing for human life on Mars in the future.

Since the beginning of human existence, people have always been fascinated with outer space. Our understanding of our own planet and the ones around us has evolved over the thousands of years of recorded history. When reflecting on all of the knowledge we have gained about how our solar system works, it is truly amazing. Yet there is so much about it that we don’t know and are curious to understand. 

Acting on that curiosity has paved the way for amazing advancements like satellite systems, GPS, telecommunications and moon landings.

Currently, Mars happens to be on top of that curiosity list. Right now Mars is “one of the most explored bodies in our solar system, and it’s the only planet where we’ve sent rovers,” according to NASA Science. The reason it is so explored maybe because evidence has shown that Mars was much warmer and wetter billions of years ago.

It looks like people don’t want to give up on the idea that Martians may have existed but not giving up on that comes with a cost though, and it may not be worth it.

Humans wanting to explore other planets is not a bad thing, it’s in our nature to want to visit and learn about what’s around us. However, how it’s being prioritized could become problematic. 

The first thing to note is the actual money being spent. NASA receives its annual funding from the federal government and its budget for 2020 is $22.6 billion. Of that budget, about 50 percent of it is spent on human spaceflight. That is a lot of money that could be used throughout the U.S. bettering life for people instead of exploring ancient waterless lakes and rocks on Mars. Where is the return on this investment?  

It also seems like space exploration of Mars comes down to bragging rights. There were actually three successful Mars missions that launched last month. China and the U.S. had theirs, but The United Arab Emirates sent a probe heading for Mars in July as well. All three of these countries have the same space mission around the same time, so it makes you think it’s just another space race between governments in competition for status and power. 

We are always in search of more space and can never seem to get enough of it. People even took it upon themselves to name other planets, but what about Earth, who named it? Why is it so different from all the other planets around us and the only one designed perfectly for humans to inhabit? 

It’s not that exploring other planets like Mars is worthless or unimportant, because it’s not. It’s just that putting all the effort into it that we are right now isn’t what’s best. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you Mars is probably never going to be inhabitable for humans. 

While Earth still is inhabitable we should use our technology, money, time, and energy to better the planet that we have caused and continue to cause so much harm to. We have to stop looking elsewhere for greener grass, especially in a case where we can clearly see that grass doesn’t even grow where we’re looking.

Featured Illustration: Austin Banzon

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Alexandria Northington

Alexandria Northington

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