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Science 9 Unit E Section 4.0 Society and the Environment are Affected by Space Exploration and Technologies
4.1 – The Risks and Dangers of Space Exploration • Space exploration is very hazardous • There have been several deaths associated with space flight, including the destruction of the Apollo I capsule (on the launch pad) and the Space Shuttles Challenger (shortly after launch) and Columbia (upon re-entry)
Due to the risks involved, much planning and training goes into manned missions • Limited supplies of fuel and oxygen, as well as dangerous radiation, floating debris and meteoroids must be dealt with • In particular, space junk is a growing problem • Every spacecraft that is launched leaves little bits of junk in space • Even a tiny bolt, screw or bit of paint moving at thousands of kilometers per hour can punch holes in spacecraft
As well, space debris can fall to Earth • In 1978, a Soviet satellite crashed into the Great Slave Lake area in NWT • During re-entry, the disintegrating satellite showered radioactive debris from its power plant over a 124 000 km2 area • The clean-up carried out by the Canadian and US military cost about $15 million
4.2 – Canadian Contributions to Space • One of the main Canadian contributions to space is the “Canadarm”, a robotic arm used on board the space shuttle • This arm has been used to place and fix satellites, and to construct the International Space Station
Canada has also launched a number of satellites, including Anik 1, which provided all of Canada with telecommunications coverage
Canada and the ISS • Canada has provided the ISS with the Canadarm 2, an improved version of the original Canadarm • The new arm has “fingers” for delicate assembly work and can move itself around the station along a set of rails
Canadian Achievements 1839 – Sir Edward Sabine establishes first magnetic observatory & discovers that the Northern Lights are associated with solar activity 1962 – Canada launches its first satellite, Alouette 1 1969 – Canada provides the landing gear for the first lunar lander 1984 – Marc Garneau is the first Canadian in space 1992 – Roberta Bondar was the first Canadian woman in space 1997 – Canada provided the ramp used by the Mars Pathfinder mission 2001 – Chris Hadfield becomes the first Canadian to walk in space while delivering the Canadarm 2 to the ISS
4.3 – Issues Related to Space Exploration • Space exploration is very expensive – it costs billions of dollars per year • Many people suggest that the money would be better spent somewhere else (such as healthcare and education) • Others argue that space exploration is necessary because it may help us to find improvements to our way of life here
Space and its Resources • Space may have numerous resources to offer • It is estimated that a single 200 000 tonne asteroid could yield $350 billion worth of resources
As well, if we found fuel and other resources needed for space travel in space, it would be much cheaper to travel to other planets • For instance, rocks on the Moon could be used to obtain both hydrogen and oxygen (both of which are used for fuel)
Issues with Space Exploration and Exploitation • There are several issues to consider with space exploration and the use of the materials found there: Political: • Who owns space? • Who has the right to use those resources? • Who will determine how space is used?
Ethical • Is it right to spend money on space exploration when it is needed here on Earth? • Do we have a right to alter materials in space to meet our needs? • How can we ensure that resources will be used to benefit all of mankind instead of only one nation or group?
Environmental • Who is responsible for protecting space environments from alteration? • Who is responsible for cleaning up space junk, and who should pay for it? • One possible solution is to treat space like Antarctica • In 1959, the 12 countries that had bases on Antarctica agreed that “Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord.”
End of Section • Assignment: Section Review p. 469 # 1 – 8 • Unit Review p. 474 – 475 # 2 – 20