Foreign Affairs Article

PrintPrint EmailEmail ShareShare CiteCite
Style:MLAAPAChicagoClose

loading...

The Case for Space

Why We Should Keep Reaching for the Stars

Author: Neil deGrasse Tyson
March / April 2012
Foreign Affairs

Share

In 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama articulated his vision for the future of American space exploration, which included an eventual manned mission to Mars. Such an endeavor would surely cost hundreds of billions of dollars -- maybe even $1 trillion. Whatever the amount, it would be an expensive undertaking. In the past, only three motivations have led societies to spend that kind of capital on ambitious, speculative projects: the celebration of a divine or royal power, the search for profit, and war. Examples of praising power at great expense include the pyramids in Egypt, the vast terra-cotta army buried along with the first emperor of China, and the Taj Mahal in India. Seeking riches in the New World, the monarchs of Iberia funded the great voyages of Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan. And military incentives spurred the building of the Great Wall of China, which helped keep the Mongols at bay, and the Manhattan Project, whose scientists conceived, designed, and built the first atomic bomb.

Subscribe to Foreign Affairs—the world's leading authority on foreign policy.

Read full article at ForeignAffairs.com.

More on This Topic

Foreign Affairs Article

Can Economists Learn?

Author: Alan S. Blinder

A recent book of essays by top economists suggests that many of the lessons of the 2008 financial crisis were ones that should have been...

Op-Ed

How the Fed Flubbed It

Author: Sebastian Mallaby
The Atlantic

CFR Senior Fellow Sebastian Mallaby reviews economic historian Barry Eichengreen's newest book Hall of Mirrors, which argues that history...