By Rocco Golden
Recently, nearly a year after it was launched into outer space, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope discovered something remarkable. Around 5,000 light years away from our home planet lies, at a minimum, 17 concentric dust rings coming from two stars. The two stars are known as Wolf-Rayet 140.
The rings are formed by the compression of gas once around every eight years. When the two stars come close in their orbits, the gasses released meet and compress to form the dust rings. The shape and look of all the rings resemble that of a human fingerprint. The “fingerprint” is about 100 years worth of dust production. It also represents the power of the new James Webb Space Telescope, as it was able to detect several times more dust rings than that of a ground telescope.
Before the James Webb Space Telescope was launched into space back in late 2021, ground-based telescopes could detect only two dust rings. The James Webb Space Telescope can detect 17 dust rings. Since rings are formed once every eight or so years, the amount that can be seen will increase as time goes on.
This discovery represents a new era and stepping stone for humanity. Outer space is the last frontier, if ocean depths are excluded. There are a multitude of benefits when it comes to space discovery and exploration.
One of the largest benefits of increasing space exploration is jobs on earth. Thousands of people are employed by NASA, SpaceX and other space-based companies. If the industry continues to expand as it is doing right now, more and also new jobs will be needed in the future. New jobs in the space exploration sector will bring some much needed expansion to the ever changing and evolving job market and economy.
Not only is space exploration good for the economy in many ways, it’s also inspiring for generations to come.
People are naturally curious. Wanting to figure out how the universe works isn’t something that is 100% a choice. With many new modern discoveries, a lot of people, especially those of younger generations, will be inspired to one day accomplish the same or even better actions. Being able to advance the country even further in technology, exploration and discovery is bound to happen if one allows for it.
Regarding the world economy, it is not in a good spot right now. As time goes on, precious metals and natural resources will get more scarce and higher in demand if technology keeps advancing. Many countries around the world are strangled by restrictive trade and being able to access certain materials is more of a privilege held by countries. What many do not know is that asteroids are some of the most valuable assets on and around Earth. According to Little Astronomy, a website that publishes articles on astronomy, it is said that the world’s first trillionaire will be made through asteroid mining.
Many asteroids within our solar system contain vast amounts of precious metals. Some have more gold or platinum than Earth does. With that being said, being able to harvest these asteroids would mean that precious metals would more or less just be metals. According to the New York Post an asteroid named “16 Psyche,” which was discovered a couple years ago, has an estimated value of $10 quadrillion, that’s 10 followed by 18 zeros. That is well over 70,000 times more worth than the entire world’s economy, and it is just sitting out there in space waiting to be harvested.
Asteroids also contain lots of ice, which is becoming an ever more valuable resource here on Earth. With the right technology, humanity will hopefully one day be able to accomplish asteroid mining. A lot of problems would be solved by this, and it is rarely spoken about.
Hopefully in the future, humanity can work together for some of these great solutions, instead of fighting amongst ourselves for the problems these solutions would solve. There is some hope that one day people will not be fighting over gold and water and will instead be making investments in one of the only things in the universe that is an actual get rich quick scheme, save the scheme part, and maybe the quick as well.