The coming years announce a multiplication of missions in space, for the period 2020-2024, it is a budget of 14.4 billion euros which is allocated to the ESA (the European Space Agency).
In the current health and economic situation, it is normal to ask the question: “Why? »
Why invest so much money in space programs?
Couldn't we use this money to solve problems at home on Earth?
This question comes up regularly, not without being illegitimate, the reasons are often unknown to those who ask it.
Beyond the need to satisfy humanity's curiosity, the space domain has a significant impact on our daily lives.
According to the American agency (NASA), the technologies developed for space are the source of billions of euros in savings and profits and also tens of thousands of jobs throughout the world.
The space sector and the use of space-related services reportedly brought in up to $300 billion in 2019.
The French space research budget (CNES and contribution to ESA) in 2020.
In order to better understand the impact of the space field on our everyday life, we are going to tell you about some everyday objects, which would not exist without research related to the aerospace field.
Satellites and GPS
According to the association UCS (Union of Concerned Scientists), 2,063 operational satellites were in orbit around the Earth on April 1, 2019.
A number that will increase considerably with the new constellations of satellites like Starlink from SpaceX, or Kuiper from Amazon.
We refer you to our video at CNES, where we talked about the problems linked to this overpopulation of satellites in our atmosphere, and mainly the debris that this activity generates.
The usefulness of satellites no longer needs to be demonstrated.
Between geolocation, when you use your GPS, the mobile phone network, which allows us to get in touch instantly with the other side of the world. Monitoring climate change, predicting fires, floods, or simply having the morning weather forecast on our screens.
All these technologies depend on data collected from the various satellites in orbit around the Earth.
To stay in technology, we can talk about laptops. Indeed, since the Apollo missions intended to send Man to the Moon, the miniaturization of the material is very quickly taken into account.
Small economy point:
Sending 1kg of material into orbit costs from 4,700 to 12,600 dollars at SpaceX, between 8,300 and 18,700 at Arianespace.
Prices that may seem impressive to simply send the kilo into orbit and not to the Moon… (2018)
The miniaturization of the material has therefore become a considerable challenge.
Thus, in 1966, the Apollo rockets embarked the first integrated circuits, the ancestor of your laptop...
We can also add the increasingly powerful photo sensors of our devices and smartphones that convert electromagnetic radiation into digital value, originally developed for the field of astronomy.
You can thank the space realm, because it's thanks to it that you no longer have to use rectal thermometers.
Indeed, we owe this invention to Diatek Corporation, which was part of a technology affiliation program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
The thermometer measures the infrared radiation emitted by the eardrum.
An object derived from a technology developed by JPL for its infrared astronomical satellite (IRAS), which made it possible to analyze the temperature of a star from the infrared radiation emitted by the latter.
Gamepads, phones, drills, or even headphones.
So many products using wireless technology, allowing us to free ourselves from the physical constraints of connecting a cable to the mains.
For the example of helmets, it was during the Apollo missions (and yes again), that NASA developed a wireless telecommunications system. It is thanks to her that we were able to hear the famous words of Neil Armstrong from the Moon.
Over the years, this technology was improved and miniaturized for use by airline pilots in the 1970s, eventually replacing our old wired headsets in our homes.
We could still have talked about many everyday objects, such as the memory foam mattress, the survival blankets, the kitchen utensils, the insulin pump, the MRI, etc.
The important thing here is to understand the extent of space advances that are upsetting our daily lives and our uses.
Technology is so developed these days that we tend to get used to it very quickly and no longer ask ourselves the question "How?" For what ? ".
You now have some leads to understand why it is important to invest in space for the future of humanity.
And if you are asked the question, you can always send the link of this article.