It struck me that the majority of the audience was unaware of the thousands of technological inventions and medical therapies that have been developed due to space research. Space exploration has created new markets and new technologies that have spurred our economy and changed our lives in many ways, including infrared ear thermometers, artificial limbs.
Space is one of the only scientific topics that has successfully managed to bridge the gap between science and society. It offers the chance to explore not only our past by searching for extra-terrestrial life, but also the possibility to explore the future, and our capabilities to inhabit other solar system bodies and develop interstellar flight.
Today's planned launch of the twin GRAIL (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory) spacecraft, which are being sent into orbit about the Moon at the end of the year, are the latest in a series of unmanned spacecraft that have in the past few years revolutionised our understanding of our nearest neighbor in space.