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Exploring the Benefits of Space: An Astronaut's Message to His Sister


The global commons refer to those shared resources and spaces that are open and accessible to everyone. These include resources such as the oceans, the atmosphere, outer space, and the moon. The concept of the global commons became increasingly important in the 20th century as human activities and technological advancements expanded beyond national boundaries and began to impact the global commons. International space law is the set of rules and regulations that govern the use and exploration of outer space. This body of law emerged in the late 1950s and early 1960s as countries began to explore the possibilities of space travel and the use of satellites for various purposes. The most important international agreement in this area is the Outer Space Treaty, which was signed in 1967 and is still in force today. This treaty lays down the basic principles of international space law, such as the peaceful use of outer space, the freedom of exploration and scientific investigation, and the principle of the non-appropriation of outer space.


In 1970, a Zambia-based nun named Sister Mary Jucunda wrote to Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger, then-associate director of science at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, in response to his ongoing research into a piloted mission to Mars. Specifically, she asked how he could suggest spending billions of dollars on such a project at a time when so many children were starving on Earth. Stuhlinger soon sent the following letter of explanation to Sister Jucunda, along with a copy of “Earthrise,” the iconic photograph of Earth taken in 1968 by astronaut William Anders, from the Moon (also embedded in the transcript). His thoughtful reply was later published by NASA, and titled, “Why Explore Space?”

The astronaut provides an analogy of a count who supported a man working on developing optical gadgets in medieval times. This work eventually led to the invention of the microscope, which has contributed greatly to the progress of medicine and the elimination of diseases. Similarly, the space program is contributing to the solution of problems on Earth, such as food production and distribution, technological development, scientific knowledge, and international relations.

He provides an analogy of a count who supported a man working on developing optical gadgets in medieval times. The townspeople were angry that the count was wasting his money on a useless hobby, but the count remained firm, knowing that something good would come out of it. Indeed, the work led to the invention of the microscope, which has contributed more than any other invention to the progress of medicine and the elimination of diseases such as the plague. The astronaut then explains how the space program is contributing to the solution of problems on Earth. He argues that the best tool for improving food production and distribution is the artificial Earth satellite, which can screen wide areas of land and provide information on factors such as the status and condition of crops, droughts, and rainfall. The space program will also stimulate technological development and generate scientific knowledge, as the requirements for precision and reliability in space travel lead to the development of new technologies and the discovery of new laws of nature.


The astronaut also notes that the space program is among the most promising agents for improving international relations, as it provides a competition between nations that is full of promise but leaves no room for the bitter fate of the vanquished. He believes that the space program will lead to a better understanding of our Earth and a deeper appreciation of life and humanity. In conclusion, the letter written by the astronaut to his sister highlights the importance of space exploration and the benefits it brings to life on Earth.


From a sociological perspective, the space program has the potential to bring people together, fostering cooperation and collaboration between nations. This can help to improve international relations, as well as promoting the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and technology. The space program can also contribute to the development of new technologies and the discovery of new laws of nature, which can have far-reaching impacts on society and the world as a whole.


The global commons, including outer space, are shared resources that are open and accessible to everyone, and international space law governs the use and exploration of these resources. The space program is contributing to the solution of problems on Earth, such as food production and distribution, technological development, scientific knowledge, and international relations. The astronaut argues that the space program is worth its cost as it provides a unique opportunity to improve life on Earth.


In conclusion, the letter written by the astronaut to his sister highlights the importance of space exploration and the benefits it brings to life on Earth. The global commons, including outer space, are shared resources that are open and accessible to everyone, and international space law governs the use and exploration of these resources. The space program is contributing to the solution of problems on Earth, such as food production and distribution, technological development, scientific knowledge, and international relations. The astronaut argues that the space program is worth its cost as it provides a unique opportunity to improve life on Earth and to promote cooperation, collaboration, and understanding between nations.

Bibliography:


  1. Outer Space Treaty. (1967). United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. Retrieved from https://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/spacelaw/treaties/introouterspacetreaty.html

  2. Stuhlinger, E. (n.d.). Why Explore Space? NASA. Retrieved from https://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/history/news/backstory/why-explore-space.html

  3. Earthrise photograph. (1968). NASA. Retrieved from https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/apollo8/apollo-8-earthrise.html

  4. Global Commons. (n.d.). Oxford Research Encyclopedia of International Studies. Retrieved from https://oxfordre.com/internationalstudies/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190846626.001.0001/acrefore-9780190846626-e-21

  5. International Space Law. (n.d.). International Institute of Space Law. Retrieved from https://www.iislweb.org/what-is-space-law/

  6. The Benefits of Space Exploration. (n.d.). NASA. Retrieved from https://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/about/information/sustainability-report-2011-2012.html


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