Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

8/8/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Why spend billions in space when there's work to do on Earth?

Readers of Catholic Online and beyond commonly ask why we care about what happens in space. After all, if our purpose is to love and serve the Lord, what need do we have of space exploration? Why bother sending rovers to Mars when there are children to be fed, diseases to be fought, and souls to be saved right here on Earth? 

When we look to the cosmos, we cannot help but see God. This image is of the core of M51, the 'Whirlpool Galaxy' in Ursa Major. The cross is likely formed by lanes of dust obscuring the light from the galactic core of the galaxy, where a super-massive black hole resides.

When we look to the cosmos, we cannot help but see God. This image is of the core of M51, the "Whirlpool Galaxy" in Ursa Major. The cross is likely formed by lanes of dust obscuring the light from the galactic core of the galaxy, where a super-massive black hole resides.


By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

Catholic Online (

8/8/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Space, Mars, exploration, Christian, God, study, astronomy, science, exploration

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - These are excellent questions that demand immediate answers. The US spends tens of billions of dollars annually on space exploration and activities that take place outside of the Earth's atmosphere. Other nations spend likewise. Wouldn't we do better to feed people, give them medicines, and spread the word of God with that money?

Astronomers and astronauts actually help with all of the above. The problem is that the connections are not always very clear, and astronomers aren't very good at marketing. 

Every day, we use and take for granted dozens of things that we have as a result of space exploration. We also appreciate a growing understanding of our universe and our place within creation. 

While the scriptures give us sufficient answers to these questions, insofar as our souls may be concerned, it turns out that the benefits of such exploration, when applied to our good works on Earth, can do a lot to further our Christian mission. 

Humans have always been inquisitive. It is very much in our genes and a direct product of our creation. It is in our nature to explore frontiers. God did not create humans to live comfortably in cradles, but rather to go forth, work, and to seek Him wherever we go. In so doing we serve God and one another. 

Among the best examples of this is the work of great evangelizers such as Father Junipero Serra. Although contact between the Europeans and Native Americans can hardly be described in positive terms, the one benefit that did come from the experience was the spread of the gospel and the conversion of millions to the faith. 

Father Serra set an example for us. He was not content to stay safe in Spain, secluded in prayer or busied with work at home, but rather he travelled far afield to evangelize people who had no specific knowledge of God. 

In exploring space and doing science, we have an opportunity to serve one another, and in so doing, perform the work of the Lord. And the good news is we can do this without conflict and pestilence, a tragic reality that cast a pall over the good works done by so many among the native peoples of the Americas. 

So what has the space program given us? Consider these specific examples and how they are used to promote the faith. 

Enriched baby food, water purification, portable coolers and warmers, quartz crystal timing equipment, solar energy, weather forecasting, plant research (better crops, stable food supply), environmental analysis, sewage treatment, ultrasound scanners (used for seeing babies in the womb!), a wide variety of medical advances, cellular communications (your phone and mobile devices), and many, many more in different areas. Here is a more thorough list, yet by no means complete.

In short, research done for the space program has given us technology that we use every day to go about our daily business. And this technology, developed to send people into space and rovers to Mars, can be used right here on Earth to do Christian service to our brothers and sisters. 

Consider weather and environmental forecasting. We can predict drought and other weather disasters where before it was mostly guesswork or short notice. We can now shift food and resources to needy regions in advance of disaster. This work saves countless lives each year, all around the world. 

Consider the work missionaries do. Missionaries could work without the safety and benefit of modern technology, but why? The printing press allowed missionaries to carry the scriptures to the corners of the world. Likewise, satellite phones, water purification systems, and modern engineering techniques, help to stabilize native economies and protect missionaries as they go about their work. The end result is more people are brought to the Lord now than ever before. 

But this still doesn't explain why studying Mars or a black hole in deep space is practical to us as Christians. That's because it can be difficult to draw these connections outright. For example, the printing press means more Bibles for more people. Billions of dollars spent on evangelization and food makes for a clear connection to faithful living. A new rocket or a space telescope does not enjoy such a clear connection. 

Yet, these objects are tools. They serve as test beds for new technology, and they inspire designers to do more. That means even more tools. And the tools given us by the space program are perhaps some of the most practical tools invented since the printing press for doing the Lord's work. 

It may be that these tools are not invented with God in mind. Yet, with a little modification, we can repurpose them for the Lord's work. 

Why spend millions to study a black hole or a distant galaxy? Because for the believer, as we delve deeper into the mysteries of the universe, we delve deeper into the mysteries of God. As a child, I once asked my father a question he could not answer. In the backyard with my telescope, marveling at the stars, I asked "Why would people ever turn to drugs or alcohol when God has created all these amazing sights for us to enjoy?" As a child, I felt I could see the very face of God in the cosmos, and I had no need for anything more to sooth the anxieties of youth. It was difficult for me to understand anyone needing anything more. 

I believe that when we follow our inquisitive nature, a nature given to us by God, we learn more about Him and our place, just as he wanted us to do. When we repurpose the tools of our finest scientists and engineers for His work, we glorify God and find new opportunities to perform works of charity, mercy, and faith. 

We have science and our space program to thank for these tools and understandings. Certainly, they cost time, money, and energy, but once developed we, as faithful believers, apply them to our calling as Christians and we cannot fail to follow in the footsteps of the great evangelizers of the age of exploration. 

In this time, when our Holy Father calls us to a mission of new evangelization, I cannot think of a better ally to have than science and all the tools it provides for the work of the Lord. 



Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Technology

Bet you've never seen a space rocket do THIS! Watch

Image of The New Shepherd rocket, safe on its West Texas launch pad, after the first-ever such landing made by a space rocket.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a technological upset, Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos has successfully tested a reusable rocket by flying it into space and landing it back on Earth. The test puts Bezo's Blue Origin ahead of Elon Musk's Space X in the race to develop a reusable rocket. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

What the heck is Dark Matter and what's Triangulum II? Watch

Image of Triangulum II may have a greater concentration of dark matter than any other object yet observed.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Scientists have discovered a galaxy that may be composed mostly of dark matter. Dark matter is an elusive substance that is yet to be described by scientists. They know what it does, but not what it is. The discovery could help solve the mystery. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

Anonymous VS ISIS: Hacker group launches counter-terrorism attacks from the shadows Watch

Image of Hacker group Anonymous takes on ISIS (YouTube).


While ISIS supporters and member utilize social media to attract recruits and sympathizers to their cause, hacker group Anonymous has stepped forward to fight back. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Following the Paris terror attacks Friday, hacker group Anonymous ... continue reading

3 reasons why having sex with robots is wrong, according to the Catholic Church Watch

Image of Should we have sex with robots? Not according to the teachings of the Church, and Natural Law itself.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

As robotics manufacturers look to the future, they're planning to tap into the multi-billion dollar sex industry. In the not-too distant future, people will be able to keep robot companions that provide them with sexual gratification. What happens when people begin ... continue reading

Ever wonder why the other line always moves faster? This book has the answer Watch

Image of The practice of lining up is taught in school and is a quintessential aspect of modern civilization.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Why does the other line move faster than yours? This is a question explored, and answered in a new book which used science and history to study standing in line. In "Why Does the Other Line Always Move Faster: The Myths and Misery, Secrets and Psychology of Waiting in ... continue reading

The unimaginable truth behind Facebook's threat to society that you need to know NOW Watch

Image of Has social media taken over?


Teenage internet sensation Essena O'Neill decided to leave social media behind after realizing it did nothing but make her dependent on anonymous "likes" and "shares." Her dependency on social media is just one of many. What else does social media cause? LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading

Move over Uber - Check out the newest 'Air Taxis' that the richest people will ride Watch

Image of Magnetic levitation technology produces the lift and forces the car to propel forward, which makes the system energy efficient.


Futuristic, "Jetsons" -styled "air taxis," that glide 20 to 30 feet above the air on elevated tracks will be debuting in Israel shortly. The dream project of Skytran, based in Mountain View, California had been perfecting the technology over the past five ... continue reading

Here are five shocking surprises from Comet 67P that are keeping scientists awake at night Watch

Image of Rosetta and the Philae lander. Both are on a three-year mission to gather data about comet 67P, but so far they've served to mystify as much as they have explained.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The recent announcement that Comet 67P/Churymov-Gerasimenko (67P) is rich in oxygen molecules has sent scientists scurrying to explain this extraordinary finding. It is the latest in strange discoveries reported by the Rosetta spacecraft in orbit around the enigmatic ... continue reading

If it's not an alien megastructure, could it be... a black hole? Watch

Image of Could it be aliens? No.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Astronomers continue to puzzle over a distant star that for some reason, is having a substantial quantity of its light blocked from reaching Earth. The find is one-of-a-kind and is fueling speculation that intelligent life could be at work. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading

Are you under surveillance? Watch

Image of The government sanctions the use of tech that is able to connect to your phone and pull anything they want from it.


Stingray is the name of a device called an IMSI-catcher or a "cell-site simulator," and is roughly the size of a briefcase. It works by impersonating cell phone towers and strips metadata or content from phones that connect to them. What does the government have to say ... continue reading

All Technology News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: God is good
  • Prayer For Courage HD Video
  • St. James Intercisus: Saint of the Day for Friday, November 27, 2015
  • Daily Readings for Friday, November 27, 2015
  • Happy Thanksgiving Day: Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart
  • Bet you've never seen a space rocket do THIS!
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Daniel 7:2-14
2 Daniel said, 'I have been seeing visions in the night. I saw that the ... Read More

Psalm, Daniel 3:75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81
75 Bless the Lord, mountains and hills, praise and glorify him for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:29-33
29 And he told them a parable, 'Look at the fig tree and indeed every ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 27th, 2015 Image

St. James Intercisus
November 27: James was a favorite of King Yezdigerd I of ... Read More