Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

8/8/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

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.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/8/2012 (2 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 June 2015
Universal:
That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Evangelization: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Technology

Hundreds of iPhone users hit with worrisome 'blue screen of death' Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Complaints have piled up against Apple iPhones, reaching social media, after several iPhones of various models were hit by the "blue screen of death" just before rebooting without any notice. The random occurrences became somewhat of an outbreak, after people revealed ... continue reading


Samsung's amazing new technology promises to help lower car accident fatalities Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Traffic accidents are horrifying and in an effort to prevent road accidents involving trucks, Samsung has introduced its new product, the "Safety Truck." The common response of drivers annoyed by a blocked view of a slow running big truck is they want to get ahead, but ... continue reading


Tokyo's Lexus creates levitating hoverboard -- A reality? Or another hoax? Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

You may find it hard to believe, but a working model for a hoverboard is actually here. The Tokyo branch of Lexus in Japan has developed a model for the hoverboard. It seems to act like magic - at least for now - as the hoverboard promises to carry a person using ... continue reading


Facial recognition technology taking over the world, even APPEARING IN CHURCHES Watch

Image of Facial recognition technology can identify you, even if you're not completely facing a camera.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Companies and events are utilizing facial recognition technology to identify a person's face, even if the face is partially hidden. Facebook uses their vast facial recognition database, which can recognize a face even when it's hidden. Google's new Photos app can now ... continue reading


Strange new COCKROACH ROBOT squeezes through impenetrable gaps Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A team of researchers from the University of California, Berkeley have created a robot based on a cockroach. The new technology is so innovative; it is hard not to find yourself stunned to witness the cockroach bot escape into an extremely miniscule gap. MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading


Extra-terrestrial life exists - but not at Area 51 Watch

Image of There is life on other planets - but there are no little green men hiding out at Area 51, according to NASA Administrator Major Charles Bolden.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There is life on other planets - but there are no little green men hiding out at Area 51, according to NASA Administrator Major Charles Bolden. He was on hand to greet a crowd of curious British schoolchildren, and said that there are so many planets like our ... continue reading


Is there water - and life on Europa, one of Jupiter's moons? Watch

Image of Jupiter is about 390 million miles from Earth when the two planets are at their closest.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Europa, one of Jupiter's larger moons, and is approximately the size of Earth's moon. Many astronomers say the moon has the greatest potential for life in our solar system. To this end, NASA is planning a more in-depth study and mission to this mysterious ... continue reading


Is a 706 MPG car possible? BMW hopes of creating stunning new electric car Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Several months after the release of BMW's i8 hybrid sports car, rumors are circulating about a new model. According to the rumors', the German automaker is currently focusing on the development of a more efficient model than the previous i8. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES ... continue reading


'Jurassic World' creates fear of bioengineered animals in real life Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Jurassic World," the fourth installment of Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park", took takes place on Isla Nubar. Fans will remember that Isla Nubar was where the first "Jurassic Park" movie took place, 22 years ago. "Jurassic World" showcases a world where dinosaurs ... continue reading


HALF HUMAN? Google engineer predicts humanity will be hybrid - by 2030's Watch

Image of By the time we get to the late 2030s or the early 2040s, Ray Kurzweil believes our thinking will be predominately non-biological . man becoming machine.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Google engineer and scarily accurate futurist Ray Kurzweil sees human consciousness gradually becoming part of an immense cloud and that humans will be able to "back up their brains" as a result. While this seems fantastical and hard to believe, Kurzweil ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 21:5, 8-20
5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 34:7-8, 10-11, 12-13
7 The angel of Yahweh encamps around those who fear ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 8:28-34
28 When he reached the territory of the Gadarenes on ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 1st, 2015 Image

Bl. Junipero Serra
July 1: Miguel Jose Serra was born on the island of Majorca on November ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter