The next step in space exploration is private sector

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Space travel is one of those things that either elicits excitement or a lack of interest.

No matter what side of the fence you are on, there’s no denying that a number of important discoveries have come from our attempts to understand the unknown.

Not everyone is curious about what’s out there. And for good reason; there’s a lot to worry about on the surface of the Earth. 

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With hurricane season in full swing, the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors considering increasing the road fund budget through a tax increase and the next season of (insert favorite show title here) coming up, there are more pressing matters at hand. 

But for those who want to take a break from worrying about their day-to-day, space travel and what that would entail is a pleasant distraction. 

The desire to explore the unknown has been one of the keys to the human race’s success. If we didn’t have a drive to reach out beyond our comfort zone, a lot of what we know would have remained undiscovered.

While we can gain a general understanding of how things work through observation from a distance, the greatest discoveries come from close contact with the unknown. 

That is why space travel is important in order to gain a better understanding of how the solar system, and therefore the universe, functions. 

Federally funded space programs have provided humans with a plethora of knowledge, but with funding being cut left and right to fund other, arguably, more important things close to home, it is time for the private sector to step up and take the reigns. 

There are some issues with this new approach. While NASA feels inclined to share their discoveries with the public to garner more funding, the private sector may not be so inclined. 

As the private sector gains more leeway to explore the unknown, we should be ensure that, no matter who makes them, those discoveries are shared with the rest of the world to further our understanding of the universe.