Present a written argument or case to an educated reader with no specialist knowledge of the following topic.
Space exploration requires vast sums of money. Is the amount of money spent on space research justifiable? Could the money be better spent?
What is your viewpoint on this issue? Give reasons for your answer.
You should write at least 250 words.
You should spend about 40 minutes to complete this task.
Model Essay 1:
We all know that there is no perfect country in this world of ours. People face death through starvation every day due to the lack of money to buy food and other necessities, such as medication. Sometimes, there is a scarcity of these resources even if money is available. In my view, it is wrong for governments to spend enormous funds on their space exploration and astrophysics programs when there are poor people who are hungry and sick in their various countries.
I believe that governments should make it a priority to spend money on providing the basic needs of people here on Earth before they use it for research towards exploring other planets. First of all, regardless of what country they may happen to live in – all people require food, clean water/sanitation, shelter and medication to protect themselves from viruses and bacterial infections. Apart from these most basic and fundamental requirements, people also need a good education so that they can find stable jobs in order to support themselves and their families. Instead of allocating additional funding for space exploration, governments should realise the importance of maintaining a healthy populace. For example, the USA has spent more than 23 billion dollars in the last 30 years on research, rather than spending it on the basic needs of its citizens. Moreover, in America, there are over 6 million homeless people and more than 2 million others who have lost their houses because of foreclosure. Also, there are more than 5 million people who are HIV-positive and in need of treatment. If the U.S. Government would decide to spend an equal amount of money on medical research as it does on its space program, then scientists might be able to find better treatments for this devastating disease so that many lives could be saved.
Secondly, many people in Africa have a lack of food, clean water and electricity. I believe that we have a moral and ethical duty to help Africa and other poor countries around the world. It is worthier to help those who share our own planet before we travel to the moon. As for myself, I did my pharmacy internship in Egypt, where I witnessed many examples of why it would be wise for the government to spend more money in the area of medical / pharmaceutical research. Many people there face pain and death every day because of the Hepatitis C Virus. This insidious virus is responsible for causing the deaths of more than 1 million people in Africa each year. The cost of medication to treat it is very high — approximately 20,000 dollars per patient. On the other hand, Egypt has spent more than 200 million dollars on space exploration and researching other planets. I think that it would have been a much smarter choice for them to have used the money to provide medication for those who could not afford it.
In summary, it is my viewpoint that governments should concentrate on solving their own internal problems by offering their citizens the basic requirements of life such as food, clean water/sanitation, shelter and medication. They should use any excess money for improving the lives of their inhabitants by providing them with educational opportunities so that they can find decent jobs in order to become independent. It is important to fund academic pursuits such as space exploration and research in the field of Astrophysics, of course, but not at the expense of the lives of human beings who live on this planet.
[ Written by – Busra Cangut ]
Model Answer 2:
There has always been considerable discussion and debate about whether governments in many countries should spend taxpayers’ money on space research. In my view, it is impossible to justify the amount of money spent on space research. Generally speaking, the main reason for this position is that there are several areas in which the money could be invested better. When we have so many problems and hungry people in the Earth, spending money on space is not a good choice at all.
The first point to make is that governments have a responsibility to spend public money on projects that bring a benefit to the citizens. This has not been the case with space research as most developments have been limited to helping astronauts in space or have been very specialised. For example, it is not of great value to the general public that we now have pens and biros that can write upside down. This does not merit the huge amount of money spent. Little success has been made so far on space exploration except landing on the Moon or knowing that Mars had once been a place for living being. What good that can bring to people who are starving in many countries?
The second point to make is that there are many much more urgent projects on Earth that require investment. If governments spent less money on space research, then they would be able to help solve some of these problems such as population control, elimination of diseases like cholera, global warming and food shortages. It seems to me that all of these issues are more important because they affect the lives of millions of ordinary people. An illustration of this is that the US government could provide food for all the starving people in the world if they did not spend so much on NASA.
My conclusion is that politicians should not fund space research. The grounds for saying this are that it is very costly and provides little real benefits. Furthermore, there are several more urgent issues that need to be funded.
( This model answer can be followed as an example of a very good answer. However, please note that this is just one example out of many possible approaches.)