Uses of space in the 21st Century.

Essay by Alexa5151High School, 10th gradeA, June 2003

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Many people are unaware of just how much space exploration affects them everyday. When people plan their day, or holiday, and want to know whether it's going to be sunny or rainy, they check the weather forecast for that day. Thanks to weather satellites that take photos of Earth and send them back by radio, meteorologists can accurately predict the weather for up to 10 days. When those same people are at home watching their soaps, they don't realize that they wouldn't be able to watch TV or use a phone to ring up their mates if it wasn't for geo-stationary communication satellites, which travel around the Earth at the same speed as the planet, so they're always above a certain part of a country, to send phone messages and TV pictures. Satellites also help us preserve the environment in a lot ways, especially land survey satellites that take detailed photos which can be used to detect, and in result stop forest fires, bad crops and oil leaks.

When those blissfully ignorant people are going on a holiday, and are travelling by water or air, they probably don't know that navigation satellites are sending pictures to the ship or plane for up to 10 metres away right at that very moment. Although it might seem like it doesn't affect ordinary people directly, but astronomy telescopes, that take detailed photos of the planets because they are outside Earth's atmosphere, can in the future have a great effect on lives of ordinary people by investigating the planets and stars around us, for up to 36, 500 km away. Space exploration also affects diplomacy and sometimes helps prevent wars, as military satellites can be used for spying. From 1957 when the world's first satellite was launched - Sputnik 1, by the Soviet Union,