“The Final Frontier… where no man has gone before.” A widely known quote that originated from the popular science fiction show, Star Trek. The quote refers to mankind’s journey to overcome obstacles and successfully venture out into interstellar travel to boldly face the vast unknown nature of space and explore new worlds. That is humanity’s final frontier, or in other words, humanity’s final obstacle and goal.
Six decades ago, the world witnessed an era of great technological achievement. This era was the space age, the period where the two superpowers of the world competed against each other to dominate space territory and secure political dominance. This era firmly defines the pinnacle moments of human achievements and accomplishments. Without the existence of the space age, or rather the Cold War, which fueled the ambitions for the space race, we wouldn’t be who we are today as a society and world as a whole. Unbeknownst to some, the technologies from the space age contributed to majority of the technologies we have today. These technologies have been so well integrated into our society that we forget the origins of them. We forget the significance and contributions behind the scenes of just the rocket launches and moon landing during the space age.
People during this era dreamed big. They dreamed for the future of mankind. We were effectively building towards the reality of what we regarded as “science fiction.” But as the Cold War tensions faded, all ambitions for space exploration faded along with it. Neil deGrasse Tyson, whom you may know as the narrator for the recent T.V show Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,
regards the demise of space exploration the moment when people “stopped dreaming.” The space race stimulated progression not just in America, but the world as a whole. It allowed people to dream about tomorrow. As a result, it inspired generations to come and children grew to become inspired and fascinated by science and technology.
Space exploration has significant cultural impacts. More specifically, it’s technological impacts has largely influenced the culture during the space race era and our modern-day culture. Some examples of technologies built during the space age includes: satellite GPS system, laptop, microchips, various medical equipment, etc. We use these technologies on a daily basis.
NASA’s budget has been drastically cut since its peak during the 1950’s and 1960’s. It current budget only consisting of 0.5% of the total federal budget. Which is why people like Neil deGrasse Tyson advocate for increasing the budget in space programs. Instead of spending majority of the budget on military, slight budget increase in space programs can help a lot in the long term aspect. During the space age, NASA created thousands of jobs because it stimulated supply and demand in the economy. NASA worked together with various companies to build technologies that would aid them in space exploration. The efforts to build these technologies has allowed us to advance technologically to where we are today.
Space exploration is an important necessity for humanity to grow and progress. It stimulates our ambitions to strive beyond our home and venture out to interstellar space. The final frontier is really humanity’s final obstacle. Striving to achieve it will be the pinnacle moment of the entirety of human history.