Science & Society
A Global Addiction and Its Impact on Society and Social Power
The obsession and curiosity of space and the unknown has become a major factor in today’s society that continues to influence and affect other imperative issues that need to be addressed. New technology, space, and the unknown are things that everyone desires to learn more about and cannot get enough of. It is a fact that cannot be ignored whether one wants to or not. However, new space technology needs to be utilized in a realistic manner and not irresponsibly. Currently space technology seems to be more focused on curiosity and not on soon impending global issues and data. Although space encourages science to excel, innovate, and strive to succeed, some current technology needs to be focused on more than future technology.
“NASA continues to wrestle with its own identity,” says Anthony Janetos of the Pacific North-West National Laboratory. “Is it about exploring space? Is it about human exploration, is it about science, is it about exploring the outer universe, is it about exploring the solar system, is it about the space shuttle and station, (or) is it about understanding this planet?” (Musser, 69) There are many things that we, as the human race, want to know and learn about space and the unknown. However, at the moment, there are current issues that are undoubtedly known that need to be addressed. “People sometimes take the mundane yet urgent task of looking after our own planet for granted.” (Musser, 70) Budget cuts, cost overruns and inconsistency of purpose have cast long shadows over NASA and space science in general.
Science & Society
There are many issues and conflicts in the world; but the largest global threat in the 21st century is climate change. This is an issue that affects everyone, no matter what. Whether or not it is influencing people now, everyone will be affected by this problem. Climate change is the dominant cause of the dramatic boost of infectious diseases throughout the world. The changing climate can modify and influence areas to allow new diseases to thrive in new places along with other life threatening affects. Monitoring the earth and its climate should be the top priority for not only science, but for all people. The current system of environmental satellites that record ice cap levels, carbon dioxide levels, and climate change are extremely important but seem to be put on the back burner. On April 8th, 2012, Envisat, Europe's largest Earth-observing satellite, abruptly stopped responding to Earth. (The Economist) With no data being recorded by it, scientists are desperately trying to find a solution.
Envisat takes data from the
temperature of the oceans to the chemistry of the stratosphere. Scientists have used it to meter ocean conditions for shipping and to investigate earthquakes.
NASA’s priorities don’t seem to be focused on Earth as well. NASA shifted $600 million over five years from Earth science to the shuttle and space station. The system of environmental satellites is at risk of a total collapse. (Musser, 70) Due to the NASA budget changes, scientists are forced to improvise with the future Earth monitoring satellites to replace the current ones. For example, the National Polar-
Science & Society
Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System ran seriously over budget and had to be downsized, stripping out instruments crucial to assessing global warming, such as those that measure incoming solar radiation and outgoing infrared radiation.
Another issue that is of much more importance is asteroid defenses. This could be a matter of the survival or extinction of the human race. It is an issue that, like earth monitoring, hasn’t had the attention it deserves. To avoid a disastrous asteroid, it would take years to form a successful defense against it. That is with the necessary technology, which we don’t have. “Right...
Cited: (2007): 69-75. Print
Postmodernity. Wiley-Blackwell, 1991. 226-239. Print.
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