Gold has a mysterious quality. For centuries, people have craved, purchased and invested in the precious metal, all the while finding innovative ways to include it in their clothing and accessories. However, beyond the traditional rare coins and gold bullion, it has played a pivotal role in space exploration.

The metal is highly reflective, conductive and resists corrosion. These qualities make the use of gold in space all the more important, as many materials react poorly to the extreme temperatures found in our galaxy.

NASA, for example, has used gold's reflective nature to protect its astronauts from coming into contact with lethal amounts of radiation. The suits these space explorers wear typically come with a layer of gold on the helmets, which deflect much of the sun's rays and heat.

However, gold has also been used in the construction of spacecrafts such as the U.S. Columbia, reports Nova Gold. In fact, the U.S. Columbia used approximately 41-kilograms, or around 90-pounds, of gold in its design.

Consumers too often view gold as a way to measure monetary wealth in the world, but it symbolizes so much more. Its use in space exploration has been well documented and has helped scientists gain a better understanding of the universe. In many ways, as people have progressed intellectually, the precious metal has been used for a variety of other purposes besides luxury goods like jewelry.

It is common for people to continue to think of the metal solely in terms of gold coins, but as humans venture deeper into space, the metal may be of even greater importance. The future is in the eye of the beholder, and those who utilize gold for human progress may be the ones who are using it to its full potential.