Environmental Challenges of the Future

Approximately 47 years ago, a revolutionary event occurred that changed how the world viewed human capabilities: mankind landed on the moon. The hard work of engineers, scientists, astronauts, and many others finally prevailed in the space race. Knowing that we have the capabilities to send human life into space gave us hope for finding more information on the surrounding planets in our solar system. Is life sustainable beyond Earth? Today, this question still remains unanswered. But, many are hopeful in finding the resources necessary on distant planets to continue human life when planet Earth can no longer support our self-destruction.

Global warming and pollution problems are a worldwide problem that have caused significant changes on our environment. While activists are raising awareness on ways we can improve these problems, dramatic changes have still not occurred. Unfortunately, byproducts of our environmental waste are being transported into the exploration of space. Today, there are more than 500,000 pieces of space debris orbiting Earth. These various objects entered the Earth’s orbit from human spacecrafts, lost maintenance tools, satellite collisions, and various other factors. While these problems are not only negatively impacting the environment of space, they are putting many astronauts in danger. This space junk has the power to severely harm or destroy the space stations and other objects we have orbiting Earth.

While the possibilities of extending life into space are exciting revelations, does the human race deserve these capabilities? With the current slow destruction of our own planet, we are now venturing into uncharted territories, unharmed by human inhabitants. Yet, with the limited time we have spent in space, the pollution has already begun. The question remains, will we take responsibility and preserve these uncharted territories?

http://www.economist.com/node/16843825

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