Space Exploration (Advantages vs. Disadvantages)

" . . . The United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them. This country was conquered by those who moved forward, and so will space."—President John F. Kennedy, 1962

"In spite of the opinions of certain narrow-minded people, who would shut up the human race upon this globe, as within some magic circle which it must never outstep, we shall one day travel to the moon, the planets, and the stars, with the same facility, rapidity, and certainty as we now make the voyage from Liverpool to New York."—Jules Verne, From the Earth to the Moon, 1865

Space Travel in American History

By NASA via Wikimedia Commons
By NASA via Wikimedia Commons | Source

Space exploration is a huge part of American history, from July 20, 1969 when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon and won the “space race," all the way up to the Mars Rover programs. Yet, there are many opinions about whether space exploration is worthwhile. Some people feel that the disadvantages of a national space program far outweigh the benefits. Many others believe that space exploration should be continued at all costs, that it has proven to be beneficial in the past, and that it will continue to do so.

My opinion probably falls somewhere in the middle. I can understand all of the disadvantages, but I also believe that it has helped our country and our world in countless, irreplaceable ways. While there are many disadvantages to funding a space program, nearly all of them could be solved (or at least partially resolved) with a better understanding of space, better methods, and improved technology. How do we achieve these things? Experience. The more we explore space and experiment, the faster our technology and methods will evolve and the better we will understand our universe and planet.

It is a complex issue. I summarize the arguments for and against space exploration in the table below and go into more detail.

Some Pros and Cons of a Space Program at a Glance

Pollution of outer space
Inventions resulting from space research
Cost of funding space program
Jobs created by space program
Dangers to astronauts
Understanding of natural world

Disadvantages: Space Exploration and Pollution

One of the biggest concerns about space travel and exploration is the possibility of polluting space. There are people who argue that we are destroying space with all of the the old satellites, pieces of equipment, and rocket launch boosters that float aimlessly around the universe. This is indeed a huge problem. We are already polluting earth, and that has caused many problems. We cannot let the same thing happen to outer space.

Two recent events drastically increased the amount of space junk floating through the universe. The first took place in 2007 when the Chinese government tested a missile by smashing an old weather satellite, breaking the it into 150,000 pieces of debris. The next dramatic increase happened two years later, when two satellites crashed into one another.

A 2011 study by the National Research Council suggests all sorts of unusual techniques for cleaning up the space trash. While there are plenty of logistical and diplomatic hurdles before any of them can be tried, methods such as harpoons, nets, tethers, magnets, and even a giant umbrella could be used to essentially sweep up pieces of debris. One idea proposes that a satellite be fitted with nets that could be sprung on pieces of junk. Then an electromagnetic tether could either pull the junk down to a point where it would burn up harmlessly or boost it to safer orbit.

The High Cost of a National Space Program

Apollo 9 astronaut Dave Scott photographed on March 6, 1969. His crewmate Rusty Schweickart, lunar module pilot, took this photograph from the porch of the lunar module.
Apollo 9 astronaut Dave Scott photographed on March 6, 1969. His crewmate Rusty Schweickart, lunar module pilot, took this photograph from the porch of the lunar module. | Source

Another argument against funding a national space program is the very high cost. Some argue that our missions to space are not very cost effective, especially considering the current state of our economy. In 2011 NASA celebrated the 30th anniversary of the space shuttle program. At that time, that program was estimated to have cost $196.5 billion by the end of 2011.

The Dangers of Space Exploration

One of the most tragic accidents associated with the American space program is the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. On January 28, 1986 the space shuttle exploded just 73 seconds into its flight, killing the crew of seven on board. The shuttle program was put on hiatus for 32 months after the explosion.

With more experience, however, comes greater understanding, and with a greater understanding comes better, safer technology. So, once again, continuing to explore space could help mitigate the dangers.

Advantages: Innovations Developed Through Space Exploration

The Georgia Dome in Atlanta uses a Teflon-coated fiberglass as a permanent roofing material. The fabric was originally developed for astronaut uniforms.By Latics (Own work) via Creative Commons.
The Georgia Dome in Atlanta uses a Teflon-coated fiberglass as a permanent roofing material. The fabric was originally developed for astronaut uniforms.By Latics (Own work) via Creative Commons. | Source

Even with the disadvantages to space travel, research conducted by NASA to develop the American space program has benefited society in a number of ways. Discoveries related to space have helped advance medicine, transportation, public safety, consumer goods production, environmental and agricultural resource management, computer technology, and industrial productivity.

A few specific innovations developed as a result of space program research:

GPS technology

breast cancer test imaging

an artificial heart pump based on the design of NASA’s space shuttle main engine fuel pumps that supplements the heart’s pumping capacity in the left ventricle

a mechanical arm that allows surgeons to operate three instruments, while simultaneously performing laparoscopic surgery

a lightweight breathing system for firefighters, credited with significant reductions in inhalation injuries

Teflon-coated fiberglass developed in the 1970s as a new fabric for astronaut spacesuits has been used as a permanent roofing material for buildings and stadiums

Economic Benefits of Space Exploration

It is true that we could spend less money on our missions and make them more cost effective, but space exploration, research, and travel provides hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S.and even more worldwide.

If you think unemployment is bad now, imagine how it would be without space exploration!

Greater Scientific Understanding

One of the components of NASA's research involves satellite missions to observe the earth from a distance. This research helps scientists around the world understand the earth's atmosphere in order to improve weather and natural disaster predictions.

So far, earth is the only planet that we know is capable of sustaining life. Information generated by NASA's earth science satellites helps answer questions about whether earth can continue to sustain its growing population and about changes in our climate.

Space exploration plays a big part in our day-to-day life whether we know it or not. Yes, there are dangers and disadvantages, but if we continue to explore space, test technologies, and take some risks, I am sure that most of the problems can and will be fixed.

Of course, nothing about space exploration will ever be perfect, but nothing is ever completely risk free. In the past, space exploration has proven itself to be extremely beneficial and will continue to do so in the future just so long as we continue to work hard to make it better.

What do you think about space exploration?

  • I think we should continue to explore space no matter how much it costs.
  • I think we should stop exploring space and focus on our needs here on earth.
  • I think we should find a cheaper way to continue funding a national space program.
See results without voting

Comments 94 comments

Georgiachick98 5 years ago

That was amazing! Well thought out and expertly presented. You should write more pieces!;)

caro1120 5 years ago from Georgia; 13 years old Author

Thank you Georgiachick98:) I am definatley planning on writing more soon. Probabaly not until school starts back and I start writing more again though.....I haven't written much this summer:)

Fluent Druid profile image

Fluent Druid 5 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

Yes! We need more of this type of stuff. The public should be more aware of this very real capability of ours.

Sam6511 4 years ago

you spelled "States was" wrong...

grammernazi 4 years ago

you also spelled "Russia was" wrong... sorry, it just buggs me, but otherwise GREAT PAPER BRO!

grammernazi 4 years ago


Wessam 4 years ago

I like your style of writing!!!! The article is so beneficial

fat7i 4 years ago


hayden 4 years ago

right on

barnes 4 years ago

i love space:)

justinprater 4 years ago

this was such a good paper thank you for uploading it

tony miller 4 years ago

science is so cool

arod127 4 years ago

this paper help me get a good grade in school lol

arod297 4 years ago

science is my fave subject of all

adney 4 years ago

tell me the disadvantage of space exploration

4 years ago

good article

pramodgokhale profile image

pramodgokhale 4 years ago from Pune( India)

I am an Indian and proud as Indian Space agency celebrated century of launching satellite, for our developing country it is matter of pride.There is strong critique in our country against this program.

Space mission is a great job involving efforts, dedication and intelligence being utilized to achieve goals. Advantage of space mission and exploration is that spin-offs technologies and later transferred to industry thus creating wealth and employment.

Human passions and ideas has no end.Creative humans never take rest and for benefit of mankind we should encourage them to utilize their intelligence, instead ruining. Military application is a controversial part but we leave to governments .

In India our entire Internet, stock exchanges, IT industry, solely depends on satellite communication and without that it will not work and damage Indian economy too. Very few people know this fact.

Development of new technologies including space is a process and we can not reverse it. It will be disastrous for mankind

thank you for scientific article

pramod gokhale

KUMAR 3 years ago

I am an indian too! WOAHHHH

katie v 3 years ago

I am a space expolation

Kade 3 years ago

I love space because it is cool and I want t live in space

Trula528 3 years ago

I hated this page. I got a D- because of it!

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wrong awnsers

Ruby 3 years ago

Stupid site I hate it carol, your information stinks!!!!!!

Gamer 3 years ago

stop blaming him, who cares if you got a D-. I don't, go find other info else where if you don't like it!!!!!

mackey 3 years ago


Flash Hacker 3 years ago

not really a hackr but thx carol for this info

damini 3 years ago


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I'm a kid and want disadvateges

na 3 years ago

no help with home work thanks anyways

loza 2 years ago

im doing a debate on this at school. please some more disadvantages

Sneha 2 years ago

Hi, I am using your website as resource for my project and am wondering when you wrote this, or the day it was published.

Sneha 2 years ago

Hi, as i mentioned before, this is a resource and I was wondering who is the author and what is his/her qualifications?

Toni 2 years ago

Hi erm could u tell me the advantages and disadvantages plz I'm really silly when it comes to things like this thanks x

mark 2 years ago

this page helped with a 6th grade project lol

kaiwalya&manisha 2 years ago

it helps us t0 get 2nd grade

nishant 2 years ago

Hi! I think the page is nice but must include more advantages .

rimpy 2 years ago

Its nice thanks for this paper

DanielOMG 2 years ago


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Lové it (y)

trincy 2 years ago

It is very helpful to me guiding a debate thank you so much

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kcfan 21 months ago

great article but space has so much for us to learn keep writhing these great pieces

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deez nuts 17 months ago

your mom is filling the space

Neelraj patel 16 months ago

Space rocket is more important to us so according to me, rocket knowledge is improves by government

DEEZ NUTS 16 months ago


lightpony 16 months ago


Ethan Elkstom 16 months ago

This website was so very pleasant and gave copious amount of pleasure even though I am not planning on going to space I can tell you this we will win

David 15 months ago

Cant help with home work thnks

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Caroline 12 months ago


happy llama 12 months ago

hey caroline and fat mamma llama:)

FAT MAMMA LLAMA 12 months ago


happy llama 12 months ago

really "deez nuts"

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fart u!!

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no hate!

YOLO SWAG 12 months ago

HAHAHA happy halloween

TO : caroline and happy llama


Caroline 12 months ago

Thats rude plz not hate!

Caroline 12 months ago

Hey happy llama

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who r u "batman"

happy llama 12 months ago

who is batman?

Caroline 12 months ago

Who r u "batman"

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Hi 7 months ago

Ur mom

cool ;D 7 months ago

Thanks, it's great!! ;P

MISS OLD GRANNY 7 months ago

Thanks it really helps a lot ( Lifesaver)

trlololololololololoolololololo 7 months ago

They should put the price down

oreo 6 months ago

im doing a debate for this at school can you plz have more information. thanks

Fraif 6 months ago

One hundredth comment ¡

oreo 6 months ago

hi faith my name is oreo

Fraif 6 months ago

Who is Faith? Oreo... :/

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Come on guys, it's not that bad. Stop being mean to Carol.

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Midnight's Corner 3 months ago

This helped me a lot for my academy summer project for Science . . . you really should write more articles like this!

Raul 4 weeks ago

So your not for space exploration?

mom 5 days ago

this so cool never give up

your 4 days ago

Space X has made a shuttle that is reusable and that is made by Elon Musk look it up.

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