Space explorations have been one of the most resource consuming ones for the United States in the past decades. The primary purposes of space explorations for the United States are to establish a better understanding of our universe and to explore potential colonies in space for the humans in the future.
However, the traditional chemical fuel rockets abandon most of its body parts after one use, which becomes extremely wasteful (Cornwell, 2006). As one of the possible solutions to the high costs, the US government has been trying to develop aerospace planes to replace the traditional rockets. Such attempts have kept failing at lowering the cost for over two decades, which seized the funding for many other project with great potentials. Setting aside the financial problems caused, the result of the moon explorations of Apollo 11 was just a bunch of stone specimens, with little visible economic and scientific returns. Looking back in history, navigators in the age of the explorations brought countless treasures back home, which was a great inspiration for further voyages. The space stations built in the earth orbit have also derived less visible gains than they are supposed to be. The space mutation breeding is also exaggerated in its rate of success, depending largely on luck. Compared to history, it is hard to see any motivations to increase the investment by the United State in deep space explorations.
As discussed above, the United States has invested billions in space exploration projects that lack adequate motivation. Humans are neither ready mentally for the idea of space colonization, nor are they technically equipped to create a self-sustaining ecosphere in space. There should be less emphasis on the government and NASA’s involvement in space explorations. The transfer of the space exploration industry into private sectors is a solution. A company named SpaceX was set up in the US, which specializes in developing low-cost space launches. The company has managed to lower the price for a single launch mission to 54 million dollars, which is even lower than the Chinese quotations (Quartz, 2013).
The success of SpaceX, in addition to the help it gets from the US government, is largely owing to the fact that it is a profit-driven private company, which is not limited by the voters or the rigid bureaucratic systems of the government institutions. By transferring the industry into the private sector, the financial burdens of NASA would be significantly alleviated. In the future, as proposed by the company CEO of SpaceX, spacing traveling on the consumer level will be made possible by SpaceX. People can pay 500 thousand dollars for a space-traveling experience, which is expected to reduce further. The commercialization of space explorations will bring not only motivations, but real investments into the industry, which would lead to the further perfection of the nearby space explorations, and get the US ready for deeper explorations in the future.
Compared to the high-key of space exploration, ocean explorations have stayed low-profile for recent years. However, ocean explorations are just equally, or even more important for the United States, at least in the recent centuries. The main purpose of government-led explorations should be the establishment of a better understanding of the earth and the environment, potential economic gains, as well as other scientific values.
In fact, the first reason for ocean explorations is that humans are so close to the oceans, yet they know very little about the majority of them. However, oceans play a crucial role in the water cycles within our ecosphere as well as global climate (Berman, 2016). Therefore, it is not adequate to understand only the shallow parts of oceans, if people want to establish a comprehensive understanding of the environment. Unlike the high-cost space exploration missions, oceans cost much lower. The potential establishment of underwater cities is also much easier from the engineering perspective (XPRIZE, 2016).
More explorations would realize the dreams of humans to live underwater, which will generate a significant amount of economic gains (NOAA, 2014). Taking the first steps in such explorations would give the US a head start in future competitions. In addition, there reside large numbers of strange species in deep oceans, which are alien to humans. The study of these creatures will reveal the origin of life on earth, which is a much more visible goal than space explorations. The ocean floors are also great sources to study earthquake mechanisms, which is valuable for geologists.
The missing of flight MH370 in 2014 has shown how powerless humans are in front of the vastness of the oceans. Therefore, the first and most important step in the development of ocean explorations is the investment in technologies that are crucial for deep-sea activities. Secondly, promotion of ocean explorations in the education system is needed, so that more talents will be interested in joining the courses. Such measures would impose little extra costs on the budget of NOAA, except for the investments made in the technologies.
However, the technologies will not only be applied for the explorations but in other areas and industries that would benefit the public and generate revenue. Such technologies include deep-sea diving instruments, telecommunications and filming in the ocean, robotics, as well as factories and scientific expedition stations on the floor of the Oceans. The development of technologies will also enable the United States the extract the enormous amounts of deep ocean resources that used to be inaccessible to humans. Despite the challenges faced in the multiple steps of the plan, it is significantly easier and more motivating than space explorations.
Due to the high costs of space explorations and the relatively low returns, space exploration activities should be reduced to those that are only necessary and crucial. The success of SpaceX has pointed out a solution to the space industry by the commercialization of it. In comparison, ocean explorations should gain more attention than it has since it is relevant to not only the US but the entire mankind. The visible economic gains through the development of technology and extraction of deep-sea resources are strong motivations for further explorations.
In addition, the scientific values brought with the explorations are unimaginable, covering the fields of geology, seismology, biology, and volcanology, which will then inspire countless new findings. Overall, potential plans of transferring the space explorations to the private sectors and the increased investment in technology and education for ocean explorations are made, without incurring too many extra costs for either NASA or NOAA.
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