The Debate of Space Exploration

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The debate which has been argued throughout the articles given have involved space exploration, human and robotic. The four authors discussed include, David Von Drehle who is an American history and politics journalism and is featured in The Washington Post, Marillyn Hewson who is chairman, president and chief executive of Lockheed Martin Corporation, Dr. Don Lincoln who is senior physicist at Fermi lab, and Alex Mazarr, who is an aerospace engineer student and regular columnist.

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The articles from all of these authors, have all discussed that space exploration, whether it be human or robotic, is a topic which needs more research, and more time spent on to see what is the better route to approach the topic. The articles come to common knowledge that space exploration is a topic which needs to be taken more seriously throughout our nation: the expenses, the danger factor, and if space exploration is a benefit or not. The individuals authors give their personal opinion with facts and data supporting their beliefs, briefly in a few articles giving their own solution.

Each article begins by stating their opinions on space exploration discussing the topics which seem to be the most controversial. Drehle begins discussing the large amount of money space exploration takes up and the fact that nothing seems to change, It would cost vast sums, but we have good credit and high tolerance for debt; the question, is why. The moos is still the same dead, dusty desert we left in 1972. ( Von Drehle 1). Agreeing with those arguments of Von Drehle, the articles of Lincoln and Mazarr also discuss the budget. Mazarr mentions the main question behind space exploration and if it should be cut or not, firmly showing his support for human space exploration, Currently, that debate tends to center around whether or not funding for space exploration and research should be cut in favor of other pressing needs, such as education and the environment, and it should not be, (Mazarr 1). Also discussing budget is Lincoln, who quickly gives solutions to the budget and how things are already being done to drop the expenses of human space exploration, The cost of Thursday’s launch has not been released, but SES, the company owning the satellite that was launched, has said they were interested in an even lower price of $30 million for this first attempt. (Lincoln 2). The final author, Hewson, although also discussing budget and the other problems space exploration brings, she also believes there is much more in space left to do, I believe we have only begun to scratch the surface of our nation’s true potential in space. (Hewson 3). The budget and solutions to the budget seems to be the main, close to agreeable subject in all the articles. Taking some of the agreements seen when discussing budget, is only the first step in finding common ground for all authors to agree upon.

Looking at all of the articles, we see comparison in opinions when viewing Lincoln’s and Mazarr’s. Both seem to be looking at the bigger aspect, space exploration itself. With Mazarr stating how besides all of the repercussions of space exploration, it offers many advancements, We care about knowledge, about exploration, about making a better future for ourselves and our children. Now isn’t that reason enough on its own? (Mazarr 3). Similar to the statement made by Lincoln, The day that mankind returns to deep space is that much closer. (Lincoln 2), showing his main concern of achieving returning humans to space. With the focus of Mazarr and Lincoln, being clear and simple, the main concerns both authors had involved money. Mazarr focuses more around the fact that there is enough money in the budget, it’s worried about the space budget being cut, However, NASA is one of the more isolated departments from congressional interference, and although it does have its share of failures and over-budget projects, it has been invaluable in terms of its contributions to human knowledge and society in general. (Mazarr 2). As compared to Lincoln focusing more on the solutions as to how space exploration can be made cheaper, The reason is simple. The price of the fuel is only about 1% of the total cost of a rocket launch. The rest is the rocket itself, with 70% of the price tied up in the first stage of the booster. Being able to reuse the rocket represents a huge cost savings. Industry estimates suggest that reusing the first stage of the Falcon 9 booster might lead to a 30% reduction in the launch costs. (Lincoln 2). Although each author is concerned about the expenses space exploration brings, Von Drehle and Hewson focus more on the factor of human space exploration versus robot space exploration.

As Von Drehle and Hewson both see expenses as a main concern, their articles focus on another main topic. What will benefit our nation more, human space exploration or robot space exploration? Von Drehle clearly states throughout his entire article that space exploration is a robots job, But space exploration is a job for robots, not humans. (Von Drehle 2). In a direct response to Von Drehle’s article, Hewson agrees with the exact opposite, But robots are limited by some critical factors: Being millions of miles from Earth, communication signals are significantly delayed, and we can’t operate robots in real time. A human can instantly sense, analyze and respond to his or her surroundings in ways that robots never could. (Hewson 1). Although Von Drehle and Hewson have two contrasting views, they both agree that space exploration should continue. During Hewson’s article, she gives the simplest solution to attend to both side of the argument, The best scenario would be for humans to work in tandem with robots to explore, analyze and learn together. ( Hewson 2). With one author giving a conclusion, the overall agreement is easier to come by.

To begin analyzing the main two arguments to the debate regarding space exploration, Hewson, Lincoln, and Mazarr share the overall fact that space exploration and NASA ( National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is an overall key to the United States, Pure science is hard to come by in the private sector because it is often very difficult to be able to gauge its potential monetary returns. Science for the sake of science, then, is an extremely rare thing and one that should be treasured. (Mazarr 2). They each see space exploration as something which citizens should be grateful that our nation has the capability to do something so powerful.

On the conflicting argument opposed by Von Drehle, that space exploration is specifically for robots, if even then it is worth the consequences following it. Throughout his article, he has made it clear space exploration is something which he fairly supports, seeing the name of his article is The Mission to Mars is One Stupid Leap for Mankind. Von Drehle believes the budget being used for space exploration, will be benefited more for making Earth a better place than it already is, If we have money and energy and brainpower enough to build settlements on distant wastelands, we are better of deploying those resources to preserve the bountiful planet we already have. (Von Drehle 3). In the way that Von Drehle supports space exploration in the slightest way, is saying that it is a job which can be better performed by robots, There is no economic enterprise ( apart from space tourism) that can be done more efficiently by humans in space than by robots in space or humans on the ground. It’s all pie in the sky. ( Von Drehle 2). Taking that although he does not agree with space exploration, the idea that it is meant for robots makes the idea of a solution easier to come by than before.

An agreement between these authors can be reached. With the common ground coming from each author, that space exploration is a topic which needs more time to be discussed and with the possibility of it being continued seen in every article. Von Drehle believing that it is a job for strictly robots, Hewson believing it is something which robots and humans can work together on, and Lincoln and Mazarr topic of concern of making it cheaper and being worried about the overall debt the United States already carries, shows many solutions which can be appointed. One solution which can occur is that the budget for space exploration reworked and suitable for each parties concerns. Seeing that space exploration is worth the federal budget, space exploration is being proven to becoming safer with each day, and there is still enough money to explore Earth and make it a better living environment than it already is.

To please the other side of the argument, whether space exploration is meant for humans or robots, has the simplest solution. Taking Von Drehle’s opinion of strictly robots and Hewson’s opinion of humans and robots working together, make each side content with both human and robot space exploration. With the knowledge of both humans and robots, the things which could be discovered, is imaginable. The idea of combing robots and humans was proposed in Hewson’s article stating the same idea, That’s where we can get truly powerful advancements in science. (Hewson 2). It is common ground from both sides of the debate, taking the main supporting ideas and working them into one main solution: sending humans and robots into space.

Taking each side of this argument into consideration, no author tries to come to a conclusion which it involves positive points from each side. An agreement can come from focusing on the topic that each individual wants what is best for our country and that space exploration needs to be taking seriously. Finding the solution involves teamwork from all authors and putting the issue first and opinions second. Whether space exploration needs to be strictly human or only robot, and maybe both. With the help from outside sources and each author’s knowledge, an agreement can be reached, and better the lives, safety, and knowledge of the United States.

Works Cited

Hewson, Marillyn. No, Human Space Exploration is Not a Dead End, The Washington Post. October 13.

Lincoln, Don. Elon Musk is Changing the Rules of Space Travel CNN. April 1 2017.

Mazarr, Alex. Space Exploration’s Benefits Well Worth the Costs Collegiate Times Opinions. April 26 2017.

Von Drehle, David. The Mission to Mars is One Stupid Leap for Mankind The Washington Post. October 6.

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