Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Pooja. Pooja Wonders, “Why do we explore space?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Pooja!
What do you think it would be like to see Earth from space? Would you feel homesick? Maybe you would find a new appreciation for the planet. Perhaps, like many, you’d be struck by a sense of awe at viewing your home from a new vantage point.
Down here on Earth, it may be easy to forget the relationship between our planet and space itself. After all, we can’t often see much of the universe from where we are. But for those who study Earth and its solar system, it’s obvious: Earth needs space.
Why? There are countless reasons! One is that space gives people an excellent spot for collecting data about the Earth. This data can help scientists better understand what’s happening on our planet. For example, satellite data led to the discovery of a hole in the ozone layer in 1987. The resulting policy changes and restrictions helped stop the hole from growing.
Space helps people learn to better care for the Earth. Scientists can study changes in the climates of other planets, such as Venus and Mars. This data can help them understand climate change on Earth. Comparing the Earth to other objects in space also helps people realize how special and valuable our planet is. It can inspire more efforts to protect Earth.
Speaking of other planets, space also gives Earth . . . well, more space! Astronauts already conduct experiments aboard the International Space Station, but some experts think more people could one day work and even live in space. How would you like to work from an orbiting space station? How about spending a vacation touring the solar system? Options like this could exist in the future.
Of course, space is also full of resources needed on Earth. People could one day mine other planets and asteroids for materials such as rare earth metals. This could reduce the environmental toll caused by mining for these resources on Earth. Some even think it could lead to a “new gold rush.”
How else does Earth need space? It’s up to you to find out. Yes, you read that right! In the coming decades, your generation will have the chance to further explore the relationship between Earth and space.
That’s the vision behind Club for the Future, a nonprofit founded by the company Blue Origin. Its goal is to inspire kids to visualize the future of life in space to benefit Earth. Club for the Future thinks Earth needs space for many of the same reasons we’ve already mentioned. Additionally, it views space exploration as a way forward that unites people on Earth with a common goal.
Why do you think Earth needs space? How can further exploration benefit the planet? Spend some time brainstorming today. Who knows? Your idea could lead to a whole new era of space research.
Standards: NGSS.ESS1.A, NGSS.ESS1.B, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2