Spending money in space is spending it on Earth

Amanece en la Luna

Hearing about the wastefulness of investing in space is the daily bread of this newsroom. Understandably, the communication we do in the media, even the specialized media, doesn't help. While the headlines of the most spectacular photos taken by the James Webb make it possible for us to function, they do not change the life of the citizen who reads us.

Photograph of the entire planet Earth taken by NASA's DSCOCR satellite.

Why is so much money spent in space instead of on Earth when so many people are starving?

Well, for starters it's a false dichotomy, no, you don't spend that much on space, or at least not in relative terms.

But beyond that, Aeolus, EUMETSAT, Maxar, Starlink, Galileo, GPS, GPS. All these names so relevant in the space worldpublic, public, and private, dedicate all their activity to serve the EarthAeolus studied only the windswhile Eumetsat provides weather forecasts more than a week away. And they couldn't be more different, one is a small satellite weighing 1.3 tons with an orbit of only 320 kilometers high. While the other is a heavy satellite weighing three times that weight located more than 36,000 kilometers above the Earth. The differences can be even more extreme when compared to one of Maxar's tiny earth observation satellites.

Humanity's beyond-Earth missions are anecdotalare simply faces and with no possible economic return at present. But to buy high resolution images of an area where a natural disaster has just happened, there is a big market. Everyone likes to have internet connectionThe problem is that sometimes getting it to remote locations is very complicated and expensive. However, these same areas can be supplied with internet through swarms, or rather huge constellations of satellites.

And the telecommunications business is a very juicy pie, being one of the main global markets since its emergence.

But all this is to underestimate the role of having humans living outside our planet. There is no more extreme environment in which to do so, not even the bottom of the ocean, which presents different challenges. Humanity faces the problem of living in an environment where there is no resource beyond sunlight, which is also terribly dangerous in this environment.

There is simply no better way to develop technologies such as plant cultivation, resource conservation. But also in the social realm, where astronauts are faced with the fact that going outside "home" would kill them instantly.

NASA is dedicated to compile in different websites everything it does to improve life on Earth. For example, helping people who spend a lot of time in intensive care units, improving exercise and drugs, studying the loss of bone and muscle density of astronauts on the International Space Station.

To really know someone, you need to know their environment and those around them. We believe this is the best possible analogy, the Earth's environment is space, the cold vacuum. And those around it are the rest of the bodies in the solar system, from the gigantic Jupiter to the tiniest asteroid in the Oort cloud. All of them provide us with valuable information about what our planet is like and where it might evolve to. Suddenly, spending in space is not so superfluous, is it?

Isn't it important to know if we are alone in the universe? Isn't it important to find out how Mars and Venus evolved to know if it could happen to Earth? Isn't it important to look for threatening asteroids that could collide with Earth? The dinosaurs didn't have that capability, but we are preparing. We have already been able to deflect one with the Dart mission.

There are many ways to address this nagging question of whether money spent in space would not be better spent on Earth. But perhaps people who use this false dichotomy would do well to remember that those who explore the cosmos are humans, living on Earth. There is no such thing as spending money in space because no one lives in space permanently, we are all earthlings.