10 Reasons Why Space Exploration Matters to You

It's Important for National Security
The International Space Station and the docked space shuttle Endeavour orbit Earth during Endeavour's final mission on May 23, 2011. Could one country launch space-based weapons at another? Paolo Nespoli - ESA/NASA via Getty Images

The U.S. needs to detect and prevent a hostile nation or terrorist group from deploying space-based weapons or attacking its navigational, communications and surveillance satellites. And while it and other major powers such as Russia and China are signatories of a 1967 treaty that forbids nations from claiming territory in space, it's not hard to think of examples of past treaties that were tossed aside when someone saw a benefit in doing so.

Even if the U.S. privatizes much of space exploration, it still wants to ensure that companies can mine the moon or asteroids without worrying that interlopers will usurp their claims or steal their production [source Minter]. That's why it's crucial to back up diplomacy with a NASA spacefaring capacity that could be converted to military use, if needed.