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Pte 70 Score Essay on “Scientists are the Explorers of Today”.

Scientists are the Explorers of Today


Exploration in the commonly accepted sense began with people like the sea-faring Columbus when, in the middle ages it was realized that the earth is a globe, not flat. It held a crucial role for centuries in colonization and trade expansion. In the 19th century startling results were achieved by wealthy and gifted amateurs. However quite early in this century virtually the whole of the earth’s surface had been mapped in outline, and most of it surveyed by explorers on foot. The process has more recently been completed by the use of the aircraft and the helicopter. Attention is now concentrated on underground and undersea exploration and in recent years on space exploration.

Before the First World War the international attitude towards exploration was competitive, as in the case of space exploration today, the USA. and USSR constantly trying to surpass each others achievements. After the first war the attitude was more co-operative. An international council of scientific unions was set up, its role being assumed by UNESCO after the Second World War. This organization co-ordinates results end supplies a limited amount of cash. This work culminated in the International Geophysical Year, 1957, in which 70 nations participated, producing a systematic study of the earth end the environment. A stop was put on territorial claims in Antarctica. The solid earth was examined scientifically by means of a series of deep probes, but since deep drilling is increasingly expensive, a stop was eventually put on this method.

Since only 30% of the earth’s surface is above sea level end only 10% habitable, attention has naturally been diverted to underground end undersea exploration for human reasons. It is necessary to drill for minerals, for fuel end for water in order to plan new facilities. Although modern exploration is  largely pragmatic, the scientific aspect provides most interest, e.g.

the work of the Upper Manke Committee. All observations are naturally indirect. They are based on drilling into the earth’s crust where it is known to be most shallow in order to find out its physical properties.

In the process of drilling more is discovered about an area’s liability to earthquakes, its underground radioactive end magnetic values etc. The/ USA. pioneered this venture, end a drill of 35,000 feet was aimed at. Since it proved so expensive US Project Mohole was abandoned in 1967. Seismic methods are used for the discovery of oil end gas deposits and today there are airborne devices for detecting minerals such as oil end gas. These operate by detecting slight changes in the earth’s magnetic field. There is also a scanning infra-red sensor of greet use in geo-chemical exploration.

Undersea exploration is of equal, if not greater importance since its results have led to immense discoveries. Offshore oil end gas rigs now proliferate. However, much underwater work is a matter of scientific surveying. Sound echoing devices now enable scientists to map the ocean bed accurately end to discover far more about the seabed under the polar icecaps. Deep-see drilling produces core samples which provide useful information. Today the work is co-ordinated by a consortium of oceanographic institutes. If space exploration is to be included then obviously science plays the dominate role in all ventures. The earth is now surrounded by hundreds of orbited satellites which provide various kinds of information, from weather reports to international communications. Many are in orbit for purely scientific reasons. They measure natural phenomena in space, solar end cosmic radiation, magnetic fields. They assist in technical observation of stars and lead to an understanding of the evolution of the solar system. There are also lunar end inter-planetary programs which further extend human knowledge. The manned projects must partly depend on the scientific know-how of the space explorer himself. Has modern exploration lost glamour and the old dependence on self-reliance? Partly; but human nature being what it is, outward-bound ventures in relatively unknown areas of the earth’s surface will always persist.


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