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David Grabowsky English 1102 Instructor: Malcolm Campbell Second Draft

The Necessity of Space Travel: Humanities Fast Approaching Doom

The celestial doom of earth is inevitable. As the late Carl Sagan once said, "Since, in the long run, every planetary civilization will be endangered by impacts from space, every surviving civilization is obliged to become spacefaring--not because of exploratory or romantic zeal, but for the most practical reason imaginable: staying alive. Impacts from space are not to be taken lightly. The cosmos is not a kind place nor are the bodies that dwell within it. Celestial bodies are constantly colliding, impacting, and crashing into one another on a regular basis. In fact, it is a miracle that earth has not been hit by one such celestial body. Oh wait! It has! And on more than one occasion! Campbell Brown states, Something the size of a boulder [a couple feet in diameter] hits about once a week." One of the first, and largest, examples of something impacting earth occurred during the actual formation of the planet and resulted in the creation of the moon. There are four main theories on the creation of the moon. The theory currently believed by most scientist is the collision theory. The article Earths Moon on burro.astr.edu states this about the collision that created the moon

When the Earth was quite young, a Mars -sized planet crashed into it. The planet crashed with such speed that it was completely destroyed, and almost destroyed the Earth. The planet was coming in with such force that when it was destroyed, the molten iron in its core continued to travel through Earth, to eventually be included it its core. This explains why the Moon has very little iron. The crash, comically dubbed the "Big Splash," sent tons of rock and debris into orbit. These fragments eventually coalesced to form the Moon. The tidal and rotational forces in play also account for why the moon's day is exactly the same as it's "year." What would happen if an impact event occurred with an asteroid the size of the moon, or even smaller, say with an asteroid a little more than 10 kilometers in diameter Dvices article What would really happen if a huge asteroid hit Earth had this to say, Around 10 kilometers, we're talking about extinction events. The asteroid (or comet) that did in the dinosaurs is thought to have been around 10 to 16 kilometers in diameter. At those scales, Earth would be on fire, longterm changes to the climate would ensue, and mass extinctions would be inevitable. The events above may seem insignificant since they happened such a long time ago but that is simply not true. While an impact as large as the one that wiped out the dinosaurs has not occurred in the past three thousand year, impacts still HAVE occurred. February 15th 2013, the Chelybainsk meteor suddenly explodes over Russian skys. The article Earth at Higher Risk of Asteroid Impact on space.com had this to say about the Russian meteor, The meteor explosion over Chelyabinsk, Russia, on Feb. 15 was the first video-recorded meteor known to cause substantial damage and injuries. It was the largest airburst on the planet since the famed Tunguska event in 1908, also in Russia. Divers recovered a coffee-table-size chunk of the Chelyabinsk meteorite weighing about 1,430 pounds (650 kilograms), the largest fragment

unearthed yet, from the bottom of Russia's Lake Chebarkul on Oct. 16. The shockwave created by this meteor was capable of knocking people off their feet, shattering glass, and sending up to one thousand people to the hospital. If a meteor the size of a coffee table is capable of causing that much damage imagine what a meteor the size of a car or a building is capable of doing. Impacts from space are not the only credible threat to humanities existence. Over population and the resource crisis are also both threats to humanities existence. Simple logic can explain the resource crisis. The earth is a finite object. The matter that is currently present on earth is the total amount of matter that will ever will be present on earth, excluding extraterrestrial impacts. As the human population increases so too does the demand for resources. Eventually the demand for resources will out weight the amount of resources available on earth. Professor Dasgupta, president of the Society for Applied Sociology India (SASI), stated this in his novel, Understanding the Global Environment, The subsistence for survival is finite and limited. Overpopulation created a problem with the food supply and the inability to sustain the current population. The blame was placed on population size for shortages in the means for subsistence. Unless we figure out a way to make matter out of energy then the human race will find itself in quite a predicament. The population crisis has to do with the human races increasing population size and growth rate. The human race continues to grow at an extremely fast rate. With the earth being a finite object eventually the human population will take up most if not all of the habitable space on earth which will in turn lead to conflict. Trovato Frank, professor at the University of Alberta Edmonton, stated in The Granite Garden: Urban Nature that The force of ever-increasing populations will eventually lead to depletion of resources and environmental degradation. With the given situation of rapid population growth, human suffering will increase with food shortages and rising rates of poverty.

With the above mentioned threat to humanities existence, it becomes an imperative that humanity develop space travel. If space travel were to be developed humanity would gain the ability to spread itself throughout the cosmos. This would give humanity the breathing room that its increasing population desperately needs. Space travel would also solve the resource crisis by allowing humanity to add the resources found on other planets and asteroids to its own resource pool. The 36th president of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, is quoted saying, Someday we will be able to bring an asteroid containing billions of dollars worth of critically needed metals close to Earth to provide a vast source of mineral wealth for our factories. While this may have seemed like a farfetched fantasy to many living during Johnsons presidency, recent research has shown how this could be a plausible idea. John Lewis in his novel, Space Resources: Breaking the Bonds of Earth, gives detailed and science based explanations about the plausibility of asteroid/planet mining as well as planet colonization. Lewis had this to say about the value of mining asteroids, Only one other space resource seems as attractive as the volatiles in carbonaceous meteorites. That resource is native metals. Most classes of meteorites, most asteroids, and all classes of chondrites that are not carbonaceous contain large quantities of native metals. In his novel Lewis also makes note of how space travel could alleviate the population crisis by colonizing mars. We may then face a much less demanding problem: to identify what can be done to assure that environmental conditions suitable for life can be maintained in a Martian base, and to sketch out the initial steps that can be made towards a selfsufficient Martian colony. However, not everyone agrees that space travel should be a priority investment for the human race. The primary argument against space travel is that for the money being invested into it there is virtually no return. The money that is being spent could be spent on other issues like

curing cancer or feeding the hungry. Basically these people say that would should be fixing the issues on earth before we venture beyond earth. A supporter of this mind set is author, explorer, and campaigner Robin Hanbury. Rabin states in his argument against space exploration on E and T, The amount of money being spent on space research is in the billions and it has achieved extraordinarily little except for a bit of improved technology which would probably have come about anyway by other means. Whether or not global warming is real, and whether or not we are facing imminent catastrophe on this planet, we are certainly facing serious issues here on Earth, and they are getting worse as we simply watch them. These include the disappearance of the rainforest, the pollution of the oceans, and increased desertification of an area about the size of England every year. A large supporter of developing space travel is Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson. For the past few years Richard Branson has invested into creating the first commercial space craft. This space craft will ferry passengers into the space located directly around earth for the price of two hundred thousand dollars. This is an extremely large step towards the development of space travel, after all nothing booms like the commercial industry. In any case, Richard Branson has taken one of the first non-government related attempts to venturing into space which in turn will open new possibilities for the public in the future. The development of space travel is an imperative if the human race hopes to survive into the future. If space travel were to be developed then humanity could solve both its population and resource crisis by spreading through the cosmos. Humanity will never truly be safe while it stays grounded on earth. The constant threat of an impact from space means that humanity can experience true peace, as a race, while it remains solely on earth. After all, if an asteroid were to

impact the earth tomorrow and wipe humanity off the face of the earth, then we would be no better than the dinosaurs. If humanity wants to survive into the future, the development of space travel must become a priority.

I really enjoy the points you made in this paper. I feel as though there is a lot of information in here as well as out there, in space. I feel like, while it definitely gives a good flowing feel in the writers head, Im not sure it is entirely conveyed throughout the paper. I can see where all your points are connected but I feel like it could be a little more concrete in the paper, defining the actual inquiry question in order to give all of the points a link back to a central topic. Obviously the central point is the need for space exploration and travel, but I feel like the paper could use better transitions between subtopics and linking them back to the central idea. Maybe a better introduction would help? Just some things to think about

Craig Davenport

Dasgupta, Samir. Understanding the Global Environment. New Delhi: Pearson Education, 2009. Print. Lewis, John S., and Ruth A. Lewis. Space Resources: Breaking the Bonds of Earth. New York: Columbia UP, 1987. Print. Trovato Frank, Spirn, Anne Whiston. The Granite Garden: Urban Nature and Human Design (New York: Basic Books, 1984).