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Space Exploration: Our Salvation or Demise?

            Since the dawn of man, people have been looking at the stars, yearning to go to them. For centuries, our ancestors have dreamed of going to another world or finding out what is in the heavens. Only in the past half century however, have we actually been able to leave our world and travel beyond Earth. The topic of space exploration though, has caused a rift between people however. Supporters believe that it is our destiny to travel beyond Earth and that it is necessary to our survival as a species. Naysayers however, say that the negative aspects such as cost and risk to human lives outweigh anything that we would gain. While both sides have valid claims, I believe that it truly is our destiny to go beyond Earth and travel the stars.
             The very first words spoken in Star Trek are "Space, the final frontier." This sentence characterizes what space exploration is for mankind. Humans have always explored the frontier, from hunters going following their prey past the known lands, to American colonists exploring what lied beyond the Appalachian Mountains. There lies a deep desire in all of us to find out what lies beyond what we can see, and traveling space helps us feed that desire. One possibility however, is that while exploring the vastness of space, we may find something that will change the way humanity looks at itself forever, Life.
             One of the biggest questions that we ask ourselves as we look up at night is "Are we alone?" The last time anything remotely close to a first contact happened would be when Columbus made contact with the Native Americans. While there are good and bad sides to this, the pros outweigh the cons. If we found life beyond our planet, it would fundamentally change the way we look at ourselves as living beings. Knowing that we are not alone in the universe would give us a feeling that we can't imagine because there has been nothing even close to it in our short history.

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