Essay on Space Exploration
Number of words: 527
The human race has been fascinated with the sky and stars since the beginning of time. However, the physical exploration of space has been started only in the past few decades. Space exploration has been expanding and growing ever since Neil Armstrong and Edwin Eugene Aldrin Junior took their first steps on the moon (NASA, 2017). Since then, many scientists and engineers are coming up with new ideas to explore the universe. NASA launched an interplanetary probe in 2006, and the name given to the mission was “New Horizon.”
NASA is a pioneer in planetary exploration, and the ‘New Horizon’ is developed to study the edge of the solar system by investigating a “double planet” consisting of Pluto and its moon Charon. The extension of this mission is to study and investigate the objects in the Kuiper belt. The Kuiper belt is located just outside the orbit of Neptune, and it contains a vast reservoir of icy objects. The location of this belt from the sun is approximately 50 astronomical units. It is believed that the Kuiper belt is a source of comets with less than 200 years of age and scientists are very much interested in comparing the composition and surface properties of these comets with Pluto. The mission ‘New Horizon’ is very significant since no spacecraft has ever explored Pluto and Kuiper belt, yet they hold the information about the solar system’s origin (Howell, 2018; NASA, 2006). The Atlas-V-551 rocket was used to launch the New Horizon into space. The New Horizon was the fastest spacecraft ever dispatched that covered lunar orbit distance in nine hours (NASA, 2017). The cost of the mission was estimated to be $700 million that includes the development of the spacecraft, its instrumentation, launch vehicle, data analysis, mission operation, and public outreach for the course of the mission between 2001 to 2016 (NASA, 2006).
Despite many space missions carried out by different countries, the understanding of space and the universe is minimal; therefore, scientists and engineers need to spend more time to know more about space and the universe. Along with the main objectives of space exploration, such as understanding the universe, search for new energy resources; there are many ‘spinoffs’ of space projects that have earned high commercial value in the last few decades, for example, a global positioning system, memory foam, cochlear implants, cardiac pumps are few of many (Xuejing, 2017). The cost of deep space exploration is very high; however, it is required to advance humanity, and continuous research will reduce this cost soon as commercial companies such as SpaceX are entering into space exploration.
Howell, E. (2018). New Horizons: Exploring Pluto and Beyond. Retrieved from https://www.space.com/18377-new-horizons.html
NASA. (2006). New Horizons: The First Mission to the Pluto System and the Kuiper Belt. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 3-20.
NASA. (2017). Apollo 11 Mission Overview. Retrieved from https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/missions/apollo11.html
NASA. (2017). New Horizons Launch Information. Retrieved from https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/launch/index.html
Xuejing, W. (2017). Justifying the high cost of space exploration. Retrieved from https://news.cgtn.com/news/3d49444e35517a4d/share_p.html