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Space exploration could be Earth’s saving grace | Science | In-depth reporting on science and technology | DW

Space exploration could be Earth’s saving grace | Science | In-depth reporting on science and technology | DW

Thema: 50 Jahre Sendung mit der Maus

Alexander Gerst, a German astronaut, was overwhelmed when he took off into space for the first time. He’d seen satellite photos of Earth before, but they were nothing in comparison with the real thing.

“I [saw]I saw the Earth with my eyes for the first time. The huge, massive planet I thought was infinite suddenly seemed small in the face of the blackness that is infinity. That was what made me see Earth differently.

Gerst was part the International Space Station (ISS), Expedition 40 and 41 between May and November 2014. He returned to space again as part of Expedition 56 and 57 in June 2018.

Thema: 50 Jahre Sendung mit der Maus

German astronaut Alexander Gerst

“It was revealing.” [for me] to fly to space for the first time,” he said. “As a geophysicist, we know exactly the diameter of the Earth, the thickness of the atmosphere. I thought I knew everything.”

Gerst spoke last week at the 14th European Space Conference. He said that space exploration can help solve the climate crisis by looking at the problem from the outside.

“We astronauts need to transport that view, this change in perspective.” [back]”To Earth”

Space budget spent on new technology

While Space exploration requires a lot of money from the EU budget. Gerst argues that it’s worth it.

He said that the benefits of technologies designed to support space exploration go beyond sustaining human life in space. 

Space experience helps lead researchers to “develop technologies that we can use on Earth, things that we need to save the planet,” Gerst said.

Gerst explained that experiments were done on the space station in which they investigated how plant roots determine which direction to grow. This question is being extensively researched to help develop plants that can quickly grow roots to find water deep within dry soil.

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“That is something that will come in very handy if climate change really changes a lot of areas that formerly were green and now they’re dry,” he said.

European Space Agency (ESA) Director General Josef Aschbacher noted that more than half of the climate parameters – such as sea surface temperature, glacier melting, the melting of the polar ice caps and sea level rise – are measured in space. 

“Without satellites, we wouldn’t know the extent of climate change,” Aschbacher said, adding that without this information, it would be difficult to make and implement decisions related to the climate crisis.

‘We are eyewitnesses of all this’

Last week, Matthias Maurer, a German astronaut and materials scientist, spoke via video to President Ursula von der Leyen about the many details of climate change that can be observed from space.

Maurer stated that they could see the slashed and burnt forests, drought, and lakes from the air at a height of approximately 400 km above the Earth. They also circle the planet 16 times a days.

“We can also see that human mining puts a lot of scars into the surface of our planet,” he said.

Maurer stated that they can also observe natural events in real-time, such as the recent flooding in Brazil. eruption of the underwater volcano in Tonga.

He also stated that the Copernicus Earth observation flotilla provides data that can be used by politicians to make decisions.

Copernicus is an EU’s Earth observation program. It offers information services that draw upon satellite and nonspace data.

Maurer was launched on the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft in November 2013 for a mission that advances scientific knowledge and demonstrates new technologies for future robotic and human exploration missions.

Space junk!

One of the most common issues in space exploration is the It also leaves debris in space.

There are concerns that more junk could be produced by more private companies, such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

According to the January 2022 update by ESA on space junk, there are approximately 30,600 debris objects being tracked by Space Surveillance Networks. 

Maurer claimed that his space station received a warning about a space debris collision two weeks ago. The station’s planning teams on the ground had to calculate if the debris had the potential to hit them.

“This shows us that space is full of debris, and it’s a very serious topic, not just for the ISS, because it puts us at danger, but also because we have older satellites.”

Maurer pointed out that action must be taken to prevent future space debris. The ESA declared that, by 2030,They want to make a net contribution towards space debris. Maurer said this would not only mean they need to take action to remove massive parts from space, but also to reduce the introduction of new space particles.

Gerst and Maurer are both optimistic that space exploration will help scientists and politicians find solutions to climate crisis. Gerst also believes that NASA’s findings could be used by scientists and politicians to solve the problem. Gerst famously said, “There is no Planet B.”


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