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Microgravity: living on the International Space Station
Microgravity: living on the International Space Station

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5 Space research and its impact on social issues and problems

Does space research help or hinder social issues and problems? Table 1 shows the advantages and disadvantages.

Table 1 Advantages and disadvantages of space exploration
Advantages Disadvantages
Scientific discoveriesResearch and development costs
Positive life changes to humankindNot reducing poverty in underdeveloped countries
Finding essential minerals in spaceSpace travelling costs
Finding other living species in spaceRisk to astronauts
Challenge of adventure 
(APECS, 2014)

What does space research do for you back on Earth? Recall Week 3 where you looked at the quantum devices in your household and the importance of atomic clocks and internet security (encryption). Can you imagine a life without your smartphone, Smart TV, Blu-ray player, CDs and DVDs, GPS (SatNav) in your car, and secure banking transactions? These are all as a result of space research, And all for the cost of a few dollars per person on Earth! The cost of space exploration could therefore be considered as reasonable in comparison.

You will now look at whether science can be separated into ‘good science’ and ‘bad science’.