Sunday, September 18, 2011

Why should we travel to SPACE ....?

Why should humans go to Space ........?

                               Exploration is the inquisite nature of human mind, which has historically led to the discovery of new continents and development of new habitats. Looking back, without these discoveries and advances, living on Earth would have been completely different from what we see today. Rapid developments in human race, limitations in resources on Earth, and the potential threat from weapons of mass destruction necessitates that we will have to boldly go far beyond the Earth's boundaries if the human race has to continue for thousands of years forward. More importantly, space explorations hold the key to unravel the secrets behind the origin and evolution of life and environment surrounding us. These drive the quest for space exploration and colonization.

Where else can earthlings colonize?

                              Being close by and relatively easy to reach, our natural satellite 'Moon' comes as the first choice. Humans have already landed on it and conducted many surveys and studies based on remote sensing and insitu sampling. The discovery of the presence of water in the lunar surface and its extremely thin atmosphere by payloads in India's Chandrayaan-1 has further boosted the renewed interest in moon. Few unmanned lunar orbital missions are currently exploring the Moon (e.g., NASA's GRAIL) and several others are in the pipeline (e.g., ISRO's Chandrayaan-2, NASA's LADEE and ARTEMIS, JAXA's SELENE, ESA's Lunar Lander). In fact, moon can serve as an intermediate base for explorations beyond.
                            Mars is the second choice. Explorations startaed in the 1960s are still continuing. Studies revealed that there is significant quantity of water in the form of ice in the Martian poles. A colony on Mars could use this as a source of oxygen. In contrast, Mercury and Venus are too hot, while Jupiter and Saturn are gas giants with no solid surface and hence may not be suitable for colonization. 

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