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The duel: Is space exploration worth it?

Should we venture out into the cosmic vastness—or put the resources to use elsewhere? Our panellists discuss

McCloskey is not convinced by "the lovely photos from Nasa’s journeys out into the solar system." Dmytro Olegovich Zakharchuk / Alamy Stock Photo

Yes—Marcus Chown

Paradoxically, space exploration teaches us about the Earth. And the things that we learn are arguably priceless because they are crucial to our survival.

The critical point is that other planets show us what the Earth would be like if things were different. So, for instance, we can see what the Earth would be like if it were smaller or larger, hotter or colder, if it had a different atmosphere, and so on.

Venus is Earth’s twin in terms of its mass. Yet when space probes visited the planet in the 1960s, they discovered…

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