The Significance Of Astronomical Science To Humanity

Ever since the ancient times, people have been interested in the world above and beyond us. We want to know what’s out there because humans are inherently curious. It may as well be the start of astronomy as we know. After all, it is the oldest science.

The very first civilization tried to make sense of what they see. Their observation has been the basis for timekeeping, navigation, as well as the rich stories of myths and legends in different cultures. A good example of it is how they used the stars and sun in the sky as a tool for navigation.

Even the first calendars were based on the Moon’s movement and as well as the measure of a second. Even up to this day, we are still in pursuit of learning, looking for the meaning of celestial occurrences in our little ways. But given all of that, how exactly is it beneficial for mankind today?

  1. Planetary survival

One of the reasons why astrological science is significant to us is because it helps us to be ready for any hazardous phenomena that originate in space. Organizations even have a catalog of celestial bodies that are at risk of crashing into our planet.

Astronomical science also makes us aware of our planet as well as Earth’s environment. Moreover, we are constantly in pursuit of sustainable planets that may exist out there in case ours fail to harbor life in the future. Without astronomy, these might not be possible.

  1. In different fields

In order to learn more about space, we keep on investing in astronomical researches. Certain technological developments are also needed to be able to push through with space exploration. These researches have resulted in innovations that have been beneficial to different industries.

  • Medicine

Imaging with aperture synthesis that was first developed by a radio astronomer has been used for multiple medical imaging tools, including CAT scanners and MRIs. Furthermore, a software that is used for processing satellite pictures from space is now helping medical researchers to easily screen Alzheimer’s disease.

AlzTools 3d Slicer was created by Elecnor Deimos by applying his knowledge and experience with the ESA’s Envisat satellite. There’s also the development of the charge-coupled device (CCD) that helps reduce exposure to x-rays. These were first used in astronomy back in 1976 for capturing images.

  • Security

Video Analyst System (VAS) that helps FBI agents analyze video footage was based on NASA’s Video Image Stabilization and Registration (VISAR). VISAR was first used for enhancing video images from nighttime recordings via camcorder.

Ultraviolet (UV) photon detection technology that is originally invented by astronomers is also being used by the military for defensive electronic self-protection systems against missile attacks.

X-ray detectors that are capable of detecting single X-ray photons used in astronomy are now being utilized in airports, specifically on X-ray luggage belts. A gas chromatograph that is designed for a Mars mission is also used to analyze luggage for explosives.                 

  • Communication, Technology, and Others

Most of the technology used in space are improved and used in different industries. Just like the gamma-ray spectrometer which is used for the elemental and isotopic analysis of airless bodies like the Moon and Mars, they are now being used to probe structural weakening of old historical buildings.

The CCD that was mentioned earlier is also used in most cameras, webcams, and phones. This functions as special sensors to capture images and turn it to a digital value. This was developed by Willard Boyle and George E. Smith to help in capturing astronomical images.  This earned the two physicists a Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009.

The world’s largest telecommunication company, AT&T uses IRAF to analyze computer systems. IRAF is a collection of software written at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory used for reduction of astronomical images in pixel array form.

Interference in radio-based computer networks was reduced which is a great improvement to wireless technology. This is because of the technique developed in 1970 that was made to analyze signals from radio telescopes.

Finally, most people don’t know that memory foams weren’t originally meant for beddings and pillows. It was first intended to reduce the impact if ever a space shuttle crashes.

  1. Promotes collaboration between nations

Because of astronomy, people and organizations from different parts of the world have come together for a common goal. Researchers and astronomers usually travel around the world to exchange ideas and explore space with different telescopes.

In 1887, 18 observatories from around the world participated in a massive international astronomical project to catalog a map of the entire sky.  The Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) which is the largest astronomical project in existence was also made possible because of the international partnership between Europe, North America, and East Asia and the Republic of Chile.

Lastly, The European Southern Observatory (ESO), also located in Chile, is from the joint efforts of 14 European countries and Brazil.

Although astrological science doesn’t necessarily have much of a direct significance to us, our continuous quest for what is out there results in a lot of advancements and innovations in different areas.

Ultimately, astronomy is on the process of making more in tune of our place in the infinite cosmos.

Jason Cook

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