Importance of Space Exploration on Children and their Toys

Space is seen as a vast, uncharted territory similar to how exploration of new lands by different nations across the world was seen in the past. Naturally, humans are enchanted by the unknown and will always harbor a feeling of curiosity. Our world is now too small for power-hungry, curious humans, so space is a new possible expansion to our territory, however, there are bound to be conflicts that arise.

The accessibility of space exploration is extremely limited due to both financial reasons and the safety liabilities. However, a large number of US citizens are heavily invested in America’s space-related feats despite the most major ones occurring approximately half a century ago. The pride in our nation and sheer impressiveness of space exploration has impacted careers according to a 2009 study that, “found that the Apollo program had inspired half of scientists surveyed” (Chatzky, Siripurapu, and Markovich 2021). People typically choose a career based on future salary or workload, so space is extremely important if many people are choosing their life career on a space-related historic mission. Additionally, the pride of America being on the forefront of space exploration is because of the American focus in today’s educational system. American schools’ display of these events sparks an interest in space in many children.

Figure 1. A variety of space toys collected over multiple years. Photograph by Phillips Toy Mart.

Referring back to the limited accessibility of space, despite people not being able to physically go into space, they demonstrate interest in space based on the items they buy. It is not uncommon to walk into a toy store and see toys depicting astronauts or spaceships. These toys are often beneficial to children because it creates an interest in science and technology which can later impact their career just like the Apollo mission. Learning about science at a young age can give children good communication skills, organizational skills, and allows them to form conclusions based on observational skills. All of these skills can be applied in life in analytical and problem solving situations. One can even walk into a grocery store and find “astronaut ice cream” which has not actually been used in space because it is too crumbly and chalky despite it being, “developed under contract to NASA for the 1968 Apollo 7 mission” (Jemison 2018). Companies are aware of the novelty and popularity of these galactically-labeled commodities and can now capitalize on it. This circles back to the idea that space is heavily related to capitalism. 

Figure 2. Astronaut ice cream on a store rack. Photograph by Smithsonian.

Additional Reading

Why STEM toys are important –,and%20adapt%20to%20new%20situations.

Vast array of space toys –


Chatzky, Andrew, Anshu Siripurapu, and Steven J. Markovich. 2021. “Space Exploration and U.S. Competitiveness.” Council on Foreign Relations, September 23, 2021.

Jemison, Micaela. 2018. “Space Is the Best Place to Eat Ice Cream.” Smithsonian Sparks, July 3, 2018.

Discovery of 2,000-Year-Old Medical Instruments Uncovers Roman Medical Practices

The constant discovery of past technology undoubtedly changes our perception of how different advancements were made. Although it is true that today’s doctors have developed new techniques and methods, the doctors of the past, specifically Roman doctors, used many of the same medical tools that are currently used. 

Figure 2. A Roman fresco depicting an arrow being removed from Aenea’s thigh. Photograph by  Carole Raddato

In 2022, archaeologists discovered the 2,000-year-old remains of a Roman doctor near Jászberény, Hungary, and alongside the body was a collection of medical instruments including: “a forceps, for pulling teeth; a curet, for mixing, measuring and applying medicaments, and three copper-alloy scalpels fitted with detachable steel blades and inlaid with silver in a Roman style” (Lidz, 2023). People created products with metal alloys because they were discovered to be harder and tougher. Additionally, copper has antimicrobial properties, and in a time where hygiene was not at the same standards as it currently is, it was important to limit the chance of infection as much as possible. However, the tools were probably made without this intention. Egyptians first mentioned the use of antimicrobial effects, and they used it to sanitize drinking water and to treat chest wounds. 

Figure 1. Copper alloy medical instruments that were uncovered at the site in Hungary. Photograph by Rusznák Gábor/ELTE

The detail and material of these instruments indicated that the doctor was high-ranking and traveled to this area to perform his duties. Jászberény was part of a region outside of the Roman Empire and had a lot of conflicts. It was odd that a well-equipped medical professional would be there unless they came to the aid of a prestigious figure. Doctors were very rare according to Dr. Samu, research fellow at ELTE and member of the team on the dig, as, “Studying medicine was only possible, at the time, in a large urban center of the empire” (Lidz, 2023). Limiting the practice to a certain part of the empire, made medical work a very important occupation. Although this was not the first medical kit to be discovered, it was a rare find. Also, the limited amount of education offered, created many inexperienced medical professionals. Building a reputation in the empire would be important, indicating why this body that was discovered had such well-made instruments. Firsthand medical experience could also be found on the battlefield adding another possibility as to why the body could be found in this region.

The grave was purposefully chosen, and the doctor was most likely buried with his instruments as a sign of respect. However, as with all discoveries, it is not the only possibility and others must be considered.

Additional Information

How medical instruments were used –

More uses of Roman medicine –


Arendsen, Linda P, Ranee Thakar, and Abdul H Sultan. 2019. “The Use of Copper as an Antimicrobial Agent in Health Care, Including Obstetrics and Gynecology.” Clinical Microbiology Reviews. U.S. National Library of Medicine. August 14, 2019.

Lidz, Franz. 2023. “Scalpel, Forceps, Bone Drill: Modern Medicine in Ancient Rome.” The New York Times. The New York Times. June 13, 2023. 

Renfrew, Colin, and Paul Bahn. 2018. Archaeology Essentials: Theories, Methods, and Practice. Fourth edition. Thames & Hudson.