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WHY SPACE SYSTEMS?
ANSWERING THE HARD HITTING QUESTIONS ABOUT ITS VALUE TO HUMANKIND

On December 21, 1968, six astronauts were launched into the cosmos aboard the Apollo 8. They returned with a picture taken on Christmas Eve that would go on to become iconic in our relationship with space. It was the“Earthrise”- the first photograph of Earth, seemingly precariously positioned in the quiet of the cosmos. This picture went on to stir in humanity a sense of tenderness for our planet and an intense feeling of belonging on this pale blue dot that we had been lucky enough to call home. This didn’t only invoke in us a reminder of just how beautiful Earth was. Its fragility impacted some so strongly that it went on to kick start entire ecological movements and also fostered a social sense of oneness. Although the Apollo 8 was one of the costliest missions to have been carried out, can we really put a price on the economic, social, philosophical and environmental ripples it led to?
Our romance with the cosmos started before we were able to send out such missions or even think it was possible to. To the ancients, it was the skies that helped them plan out how entire civilizations would function. It was how they decided when to cultivate crops, wage war or prepare for floods. This acute sense of observation that they mastered, and simply their genius, when on to reveal astonishingly accurate measurements of phenomena such as the tilt of the earth and its circumference to name just a few and it set the basis for all that we have found in the more recent times. It would only barely suffice to say that the ancient were beyond their time. Today, the value that space holds is beyond even ourselves in some ways.

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Taken aboard Apollo 8 by Bill Anders, this iconic picture shows Earth peeking out from beyond the lunar surface as the first crewed spacecraft circumnavigated the Moon.

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Arab astronomers study the heavens in this medieval European print from a commentary on Cicero’s first-century-BCE Sominum Scipionis (Dream of Scipio)

Developing space systems help us probe further into understanding different planetary and moon systems that we could one day inhabit. Despite the expenses of the missions, which is often questioned, this is essential as studies of civilization patterns and epochs have shown that they all eventually lead to mass wiping out of habitats.
Another question that is often posed is how we can consider ourselves capable of starting out on a different planet when we have done so poorly in taking care of the one we are on. It would be wrong and utterly unscientific to deny that we have made terrible blunders in exploiting the Earth. However it would be just as unscientific to turn a blind eye to just how much we have grown to respect the finite resources and how we are working, more dedicatedly than ever to come up with technology that is cleaner and more in harmony with its surroundings. This is a testament to the fact that we are evolving to be more responsible inhabitants and we can’t rule ourselves off as being unworthy of expanding into more habitats when we do find them.

Developing space systems that can stand the difficult conditions of the regions that they are sent out to explore, designing and reworking our configurations accordingly upon understanding how our spacecraft was affected is necessary to not just reach further out, but also to find ways to reduce the costs of it all. Space exploration is a science that especially thrives on collaborative efforts of fields like material sciences, structures and aerodynamics to name a few and this working together is key in literally propelling us forward. However, these systems are just as, if not more important in understanding our own habitat.
We are familiar with the use of satellites for transmitting TV signals and telephone calls, and for satellite navigation systems. They have completely revolutionized communication and in the age of information, constantly improving their efficiency and clearer transmission is what the world is running on to say the least. Moving away from anthropocentric uses, satellites have also studied oceans, the atmosphere, clouds, weather, rain forests, deserts, cities, farmlands, ice sheets, and just about everything else on—and even in—Earth. It is very important to the future of life on our planet to understand how what we do affects the delicate balance of the environment. Using information from satellites, we are beginning to understand how pollution from our cars, factories, and even household products affects our atmosphere.

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First China-France Oceanography Satellite

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Art from The Three Astronauts, Umberto Eco’s vintage semiotic children’s book about the role of space exploration in world peace

Space systems is the primary way to ensure faster and more accurate data collection in real time so that we can continuously shape not just our technology, but also policies and businesses in a way that is in tune with the ever changing nature of the Earth. When new ways of doing things is backed by data that is provided by these systems, it holds more value and it helps ensure that our actions are not detrimental, but instead help us in learning to live well.
Thus, space systems are not just for what is out there or beyond us. We have to remember that we are as much a part of space as space is a part of us. Working to improve these space systems helps us understand ourselves, and reminds us that we do have a place among all that is out there.

WHY SPACE SYSTEMS?
ANSWERING THE HARD HITTING QUESTIONS ABOUT ITS VALUE TO HUMANKIND
my img

Taken aboard Apollo 8 by Bill Anders, this iconic picture shows Earth peeking out from beyond the lunar surface as the first crewed spacecraft circumnavigated the Moon.

On December 21, 1968, six astronauts were launched into the cosmos aboard the Apollo 8. They returned with a picture taken on Christmas Eve that would go on to become iconic in our relationship with space. It was the“Earthrise”- the first photograph of Earth, seemingly precariously positioned in the quiet of the cosmos. This picture went on to stir in humanity a sense of tenderness for our planet and an intense feeling of belonging on this pale blue dot that we had been lucky enough to call home. This didn’t only invoke in us a reminder of just how beautiful Earth was. Its fragility impacted some so strongly that it went on to kick start entire ecological movements and also fostered a social sense of oneness. Although the Apollo 8 was one of the costliest missions to have been carried out, can we really put a price on the economic, social, philosophical and environmental ripples it led to?
Our romance with the cosmos started before we were able to send out such missions or even think it was possible to. To the ancients, it was the skies that helped them plan out how entire civilizations would function. It was how they decided when to cultivate crops, wage war or prepare for floods. This acute sense of observation that they mastered, and simply their genius, when on to reveal astonishingly accurate measurements of phenomena such as the tilt of the earth and its circumference to name just a few and it set the basis for all that we have found in the more recent times. It would only barely suffice to say that the ancient were beyond their time. Today, the value that space holds is beyond even ourselves in some ways.

my img

Arab astronomers study the heavens in this medieval European print from a commentary on Cicero’s first-century-BCE Sominum Scipionis (Dream of Scipio)

Developing space systems help us probe further into understanding different planetary and moon systems that we could one day inhabit. Despite the expenses of the missions, which is often questioned, this is essential as studies of civilization patterns and epochs have shown that they all eventually lead to mass wiping out of habitats.
Another question that is often posed is how we can consider ourselves capable of starting out on a different planet when we have done so poorly in taking care of the one we are on. It would be wrong and utterly unscientific to deny that we have made terrible blunders in exploiting the Earth. However it would be just as unscientific to turn a blind eye to just how much we have grown to respect the finite resources and how we are working, more dedicatedly than ever to come up with technology that is cleaner and more in harmony with its surroundings. This is a testament to the fact that we are evolving to be more responsible inhabitants and we can’t rule ourselves off as being unworthy of expanding into more habitats when we do find them.

my img

First China-France Oceanography Satellite

Developing space systems that can stand the difficult conditions of the regions that they are sent out to explore, designing and reworking our configurations accordingly upon understanding how our spacecraft was affected is necessary to not just reach further out, but also to find ways to reduce the costs of it all. Space exploration is a science that especially thrives on collaborative efforts of fields like material sciences, structures and aerodynamics to name a few and this working together is key in literally propelling us forward. However, these systems are just as, if not more important in understanding our own habitat.
We are familiar with the use of satellites for transmitting TV signals and telephone calls, and for satellite navigation systems. They have completely revolutionized communication and in the age of information, constantly improving their efficiency and clearer transmission is what the world is running on to say the least. Moving away from anthropocentric uses, satellites have also studied oceans, the atmosphere, clouds, weather, rain forests, deserts, cities, farmlands, ice sheets, and just about everything else on—and even in—Earth. It is very important to the future of life on our planet to understand how what we do affects the delicate balance of the environment. Using information from satellites, we are beginning to understand how pollution from our cars, factories, and even household products affects our atmosphere.

my img

Art from The Three Astronauts, Umberto Eco’s vintage semiotic children’s book about the role of space exploration in world peace

Space systems is the primary way to ensure faster and more accurate data collection in real time so that we can continuously shape not just our technology, but also policies and businesses in a way that is in tune with the ever changing nature of the Earth. When new ways of doing things is backed by data that is provided by these systems, it holds more value and it helps ensure that our actions are not detrimental, but instead help us in learning to live well.
Thus, space systems are not just for what is out there or beyond us. We have to remember that we are as much a part of space as space is a part of us. Working to improve these space systems helps us understand ourselves, and reminds us that we do have a place among all that is out there.