SPACE: A Positive Human Future?
Many people ask, ‘How does space exploration benefit us, common men? Ordinary people are not even associated with space stations in any way. Why waste so much money on space missions?’ Take a look at the bigger picture. Thanks to the satellites, we are getting to know about what is going on around the world. Because of scientists’ curiosity of peeking into space, the satellites inform us of any disaster-causing obstacle coming our way. Without satellites, we would not have the Internet!
Resources on earth are depleting steadily – thanks to the various sorts of pollution (air, water, noise, etc.). Scientists have already started looking for an alternate planet that supports life. That depends on the presence of oxygen, suitable temperature, gravity, and most importantly, presence of water. For example, scientists have recently discovered a new planet, the Kepler 452b, with conditions similar to those of earth and may be suitable for habitation. The distance at which the planet lies from its nearest star, is very similar to the distance at which Earth lies from our Sun (147.36 million km). Who knows, if we will find life on it someday?
Speaking of which, are we humans alone in the universe? Are there aliens? Scientists have recognized only 4% of the entire universe, and we still don't know what lies beyond. What we do know is that, in 1976, when Viking lander landed on the surface of Mars, no Martians were there to greet it. On Venus, life might have existed billions of years ago, but today the planet’s extreme atmospheric pressure and heat would crush and cook life.
Human exploration will not be limited to our solar system. And where better to start than with our closest neighbour, Alpha Centauri? The Alpha Centauri star system has three stars. In 2012, tiny wobbles in the motion of Alpha Centauri B told astronomers that an earth-size planet is orbiting it. The planet being too close to the star to support life,may often have siblings, and many astronomers believe they will find other planets in more distant orbits.
The star’s habitable zone starts about 6,50,00,000 miles out. What will we find here? A bright blue green world, like our Earth? New forms of life? When we look at the planets of Alpha Centauri B, what will look back at us, a bright future ahead?