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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4905||2009||9 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Futures, Volume 41, Issue 8, October 2009, Pages 514–522
Possibly the greatest barrier to progress in space exploration is the lack of compelling motivations to justify the necessary investments. Spaceflight, a concept that gained currency in the middle of the twentieth century, may not be well adapted to the twenty-first century without significant modification. This article assesses the traditional motivations for space exploration, documented in a Harvard study carried out over two decades ago, in the light of subsequent developments. It then reports on a recent NASA study of justifications for a renewed Moon program, and concludes with the conjecture that the very meaning of human travel in space needs to be redefined.
A classic challenge for space exploration is the Fermi paradox, named after the physicist Enrico Fermi who supposedly discussed it with colleagues over lunch one day in 1950. If life evolves naturally on many planets across the cosmos, why have aliens not colonized or at least visited the Earth? Setting aside popular myths about UFOs, granting Fermi’s premise raises the possibility that intelligent species do not develop extensive space travel for the simple reason that they lack sufficient motivations to do so. If every other civilization across the galaxy feels no need to come here, where would we find the motivation to go there? In the second half of the twentieth century, humanity did summon up the motivation necessary to visit the Moon, send robot probes throughout the solar system, and undertake a wide range of economic, military, and scientific activities in Earth orbit. The question then becomes whether we will find motivations to do more during the twenty-first century. We can distinguish three kinds of motivations for space exploration and development. First, some goals were valid in the beginning, but are no longer valid, often because the claimed benefit has been fully achieved. Second, we may begin to pursue purposes that were not possible in the beginning, but are becoming possible, some of which remain unrecognized. Finally, some continuing justifications were never valid reasons for promoting spaceflight, but may have been somewhat effective in garnering support under past political conditions. Thus, to understand future motivations for spaceflight, we may wish to begin with an analysis of past justifications, evaluating them in the context of today’s changed circumstances and improved knowledge