For many centuries the skies have sparked humankind's curiosity. Some thought the Earth was enclosed inside a glass ball, and that if a person could climb high enough they could touch the glass. Others told stories of the gods and spirits that lived in the sky. Today we no longer wonder as much. We have developed the technology to leave Earth.

While leaving Earth and exploring space sounds like it could be quite an adventure, there are many other reasons why humans take part in such a dangerous and expensive mission.

Humans are curious creatures. We are driven to find out more about the unknown. We are thirsty for more knowledge of our world and what lies beyond it. Humans make the impossible possible by pushing the limits and boundaries of what we think we can do.

One of the most important payloads on a spacecraft are the humans in it. Scientists have been doing research in space, and sometimes they perform these tasks by going on spacewalks. They learn many things, such as the effects of weightlessness on humans, how to make better equipment, and how to develop invaluable medical technologies.

Humans can take a closer look at different planets or other phenomena in space with flybys. The spacecraft flies close to another body, but does not land. Its mission is to get more information about the target. It's a relatively quick way to get more information that can be studied in detail later.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, going to space helps to improve our daily lives on Earth. For example, the cameras that are on cell phones were first developed as small cameras for spacecrafts. GPS, which allows us to find our way around, uses space technology as well. Other examples include weather prediction and internet access.

A lot of the improvements made to our lives are also commercialized. Companies are making money from offering us internet access and the ability to stay connected with others around the world. Many think that commercialized space travel is not far away.

In fact, there are some people with a lot of resources that are in the space race. These billionaires are competing to launch rockets, orbiters, and tourist spaceflights. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, has a dream of millions of people living and working in space. Elon Musk wants to send people to Mars and to make spaceflight more affordable.

We may travel to space via space shuttles and spacecrafts. Spacecrafts do not need to always burn fuel. Solar sails can propel the spacecraft and allow travel between planets and stars. They are able to use light energy from the sun. Perhaps a close translunar trip to our moon will become a reality.

Space habitation is also being explored. Maybe humans can live in space in the form of a space colony or an orbital settlement. There are many benefits to living in space.

Earth may run out of space for everyone if our population continues to increase. There just isn't enough room for everyone. If we expand into space, our population can continue to grow.

Earth may be depleted of all its natural resources and accumulate too much waste that cannot break down. Or Earth could suffer from a major worldwide catastrophe that makes our planet no longer habitable. Space could be our second home.

There are a lot of good reasons to explore space; however, there are also reasons against it. Space exploration creates a lot of junk. Some spacecraft parts are often only required at a certain stage and will later be jettisoned to open space. All of this junk could hinder future space travel.

It is also currently dangerous to travel to space. Astronauts are exposed to the sun's radiation. Weightlessness could negatively impact their bodies long term. Others think that we might run into other intelligent life in space and cause conflict.

Even though space exploration is difficult, humans are enduring. There have been space accidents in the past that suspended space exploration short term, but we are always determined to improve and learn from our mistakes. Space exploration may lead us to discoveries beyond our imagination.