We need to both explore, and save our planet

But many things we take for granted now came from the space program.

We need to both explore, and save our planet

I hated seeing a couple of letters knocking spending money to explore Mars for being short-sighted. That money just doesn’t disappear, it helps the economy and it also helps push the limits of technology which in turn can be used to help save our own planet.

There is something in human nature that causes us to want to explore. Yes, we need to spend more money and resources right here on planet Earth to fix urgent problems.

But many things we take for granted now, like microwave ovens and instant communications around the world all came from the space program. Exploring Mars will focus human efforts towards developing innovations that can have real-life advantages to us mere mortals. Space exploration and fighting climate change are not mutually exclusive goals.

Is anyone going to argue with the money spent which led to the development of satellites? Satellites which not only provide up to date weather reports, communications undreamed of even 50 years ago except by visionaries like Arthur C. Clarke. How vital have been advances in environmental science using technology derived from NASA in mapping out climate change, loss of habitat, changes in ocean currents, all of which have a direct impact on our abilities to fight climate change?

Yes, manmade climate change must be fought, but part of that fight can be from advances in our technologies used to explore Mars. Besides, as has been pointed out by others such as the late, great, Stephen Hawking, the human race is doomed if we do not go out into space. One big asteroid, like killed off the dinosaurs, will cause our extinction, too. Few will have a chance to become the first Martians, but at least some of our DNA will survive if we don’t put all our eggs in one basket.

For these and other reasons too numerous to list out, I totally support the exploration of Mars. I support expanding our universe, quite literally, and expanding our knowledge just for the sake of knowledge itself. We can explore another planet, and we must work harder to fight manmade climate change here to save ourselves and the other creatures which we are currently driving into extinction through loss of habitat and our own human overpopulation.

We must do both and can do both without turning our back on science, as it would be self-defeating in the fight to save our own planet.

Robert T. Rock

Mission City

Cowichan Valley Citizen