Is NASA worth Funding?

Is NASA worth Funding?

Public apathy toward NASA, a lack of understanding of the benefits of a space program, and more pressing matters all lead people to ask: is NASA worth funding at all?

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This feels a bit like a rebuttal of No Right answer. I told them though! I said 'you're going to get Neily DT on you' but you said what he would said so it is good enough! I hope those guys feel dumb for ever questioning NASAs importance.

I think the really sad thing from those figures is how little Education receives when compared to the military budget. You know, maybe public apathy about NASA and space in general wouldn't be so high if we funded education better so that the kids of tomorrow actually realize how important studying the sky can actually be.

But no, even if the US spent even a dime less on military budget we are suddenly "showing weakness as a nation and our enemies will capitalize on it." *sigh* Call me odd or unpatriotic, but I still think budgets should be spent on good education for a country, seeing as children are, and always will be, the actual future of a country.

Scorpid:
This feels a bit like a rebuttal of No Right answer. I told them though! I said 'you're going to get Neily DT on you' but you said what he would said so it is good enough! I hope those guys feel dumb for ever questioning NASAs importance.

Wow, high praise! Thank you, kind sir. I was thinking of bringing up NDT's quote: "Right now, NASA's annual budget is half a penny on your tax dollar. For twice that-a penny on a dollar-we can transform the country from a sullen, dispirited nation, weary of economic struggle, to one where it has reclaimed its 20th century birthright to dream of tomorrow."

We need to fund the space program because we need to get the hell off this planet. Once everyone who wants to go to space has gone and colonized a new planet, then you can stop funding it, because I assure you the second people who want to live the good life in on the Earth 2: Now With Less Idiots With No Vision, we're not going to want to come back.

Neronium:
I think the really sad thing from those figures is how little Education receives when compared to the military budget.

It's not really a fair comparison. The U.S. federal government doesn't spend much on education, that's true - but state and local governments do. The combined total is actually higher than baseline national defense.

I will happily support NASA, because if no one did then we wouldn't have the technology to complain about it on this forum then. I can think of a lot worse things for tax dollars to go into than space exploration.

NASA needs funded because I don't want to leave it all in the hands of private billionaires. NASA stuff usually ends up feeding out into private industry after it's been designed, so the general public reaps the benefits. If somebody like Google does extraplanetary work, you damn well better believe that's not going to open source any time soon. Private industry can do things very well, but sharing isn't among its strong points. SpaceX has been a bit of an exception, but it's just that - an exception, not the rule.

Also, as pointed out previously, we've never had a choice as to leaving the planet or not. People won't stop breeding, and without some kind of draconian population control measures we're just going to pile more and more folks on top of one another. And that's discounting the possibility of a planet killer asteroid or comet deciding to drop in and say 'Hi!'. We need room, and we need to make sure that humanity doesn't fade away at the drop of a single very large hat.

As far as the military/everything else spending dichotomy, I'm a bit torn. On the one hand, we'd get a lot of value out of giving NASA massive amounts of funding, to say nothing of ramping up education spending and the like. On the other hand, just to put it bluntly, someone's got to have the big hammer. If it's not the U.S., it's going to be champions of human rights and national sovereignty like China or Russia. That's not to say that the U.S. is full of saints and angels by those standards, but compared to a lot of other actors on the world stage we're not too bad.

Of course NASA should be funded, if not then I'd be out of a potential job!

I quite like the NdGT Space as Culture speech. Check it out if you haven't already.

I don't mean that in a "I'm just gonna leave this here" kinda way cause that's sad. It's just he explains in a way better than I could.

How bout you take some of that military funding and divert it to NASA instead?

Less military, more space exploration!

fenrizz:
How bout you take some of that military funding and divert it to NASA instead?

Less military, more space exploration!

Because most politicians are sitting on the board of directors for "security" companies (war companies) and make a lot of money voting in more money for their military. Hell, both Bush Jr and Sr ran one of the biggest while in charge (and they were starting plenty of wars).

Yes. The US seems to be slipping pretty fast in terms of scientific discovery and innovation, and also the scientific literacy level of its population. More science and education funding can only be a good thing.

Pyrian:

Neronium:
I think the really sad thing from those figures is how little Education receives when compared to the military budget.

It's not really a fair comparison. The U.S. federal government doesn't spend much on education, that's true - but state and local governments do. The combined total is actually higher than baseline national defense.

That's a fair point, but I'm also slightly disgusted by the low priority paid to the Department of Justice. A well funded DoJ is one that is more likely to actually seek Justice.

OT: Can we call NASA's current budges its discretionary budget and then make it a department of the military, while simultaneously reassigning military R&D to civilian projects so that, instead of producing tanks that will just sit in a bone yard, the military is producing fuel-efficient tractors and researching energy production?

I grew up in the 80's and 90's, very much wanting to be an astronaut. I envisioned space exploration to be a huge part of life, even if I never was able to make the cut, I still saw it to be the future. I watched Challenger explode, not far from Cape Canaveral, felt shock and awe and sadness all at the same time. I went to Space Camp in 6th grade, got to fly the simulator in the mockup shuttle cockpit for a few moments. I ate space food bought from the gift shop, toured the space center many times in the years of my childhood, saw many more launches and felt very privileged to live in Florida.
As I got older and graduated high school, realizing I was probably not astronaut material hurt a lot but I never gave up on the space program. I still haven't, I still believe that NASA has some of the brightest folks working there. I even played a pickup game of Dungeons and Dragons at DragonCon in Atlanta one year from a few guys from NASA, one of the coolest experiences I've ever had.
But I also feel we've gotten so far away from the mindset we once had not 20 years ago I can't honestly say we'll be doing anything bigger than what I've already seen in my life so far. I used to think that one day, even if I was too old to do so, there would be civilians going into space on a regular basis. That us mundane folks would live in a world where it was possible to leave this planet, to go out there and see new things.
I believed in Star Trek, maybe not the warp drive, maybe not a first contact, but I believed in exploration. I don't know if I believe that any more... And it really hurts the kid in me who built rockets and launched them in middle school, the kid who lovingly crafted rocket ships with LEGOs. To think that what I feel is the future of the human race, not just America, but every human's future is seen by so many as a waste of time. To know that NASA is basically an afterthought...
I am hurt and angry that the promises I felt were made in my childhood have become the forgotten words uttered by an uncaring parent to shut the kid up who asks "When are we going to space?" Much like a kid would ask "when are we going to Disneyland?" only to hear "someday" repeated over and over.
I disagree with the notion that "we must solve our problems here on Earth", as if we'll ever get anywhere if all we do is try fix whats broken and never make strides toward the future.
We can't afford to be a solely introspective species, we must have the courage to look outside our own boxes else we'll never be free from our own short-sighted follies.

Imperioratorex Caprae:
*snip*

This touched me. Thanks for sharing. Completely agreed about not being able to wait to solve our Earthly problems -- they will never be solved. We can't wait forever.

fenrizz:
How bout you take some of that military funding and divert it to NASA instead?

Less military, more space exploration!

Speaking as someone currently serving, it's a little more complex then that. I do agree with funding NASA and that DOD does take a huge portion of the budget, however, cutting the military budget by itself doesn't help. Right now the DoD is struggling with not having enough money for all the commitments and it's a problem when budgets come into play. Some things you just aren't going to cut(like Paychecks and benefits) which take up a rather large chunk of the DoD budget, and then there's things like Logistics and Training which you cut back on at your peril(unless you like the idea of troops who suck at their jobs and don't have spare parts for things that break).

I could go on about why it's not just that simple, but the real issue is that our military is spread out around the world. If we want to cut the military and not damage it for decades to come, we need to actually start cutting back on our commitments around the world. Otherwise you have ships on deployment for 10 months at a time, crews burning out and then things start breaking because they aren't getting proper shipyard maintenance, or pilots who can't afford to fly their plane to keep their minimum flight proficiency.

We're often told "Do more with less" but we can't do everything with nothing.

Dalisclock:

fenrizz:
How bout you take some of that military funding and divert it to NASA instead?

Less military, more space exploration!

Speaking as someone currently serving, it's a little more complex then that. I do agree with funding NASA and that DOD does take a huge portion of the budget, however, cutting the military budget by itself doesn't help. Right now the DoD is struggling with not having enough money for all the commitments and it's a problem when budgets come into play. Some things you just aren't going to cut(like Paychecks and benefits) which take up a rather large chunk of the DoD budget, and then there's things like Logistics and Training which you cut back on at your peril(unless you like the idea of troops who suck at their jobs and don't have spare parts for things that break).

I could go on about why it's not just that simple, but the real issue is that our military is spread out around the world. If we want to cut the military and not damage it for decades to come, we need to actually start cutting back on our commitments around the world. Otherwise you have ships on deployment for 10 months at a time, crews burning out and then things start breaking because they aren't getting proper shipyard maintenance, or pilots who can't afford to fly their plane to keep their minimum flight proficiency.

We're often told "Do more with less" but we can't do everything with nothing.

The Pentagon could do with not wasting billions on a piece of crap like the F-35 and save a ton of cash.

Rhykker:

Imperioratorex Caprae:
*snip*

This touched me. Thanks for sharing. Completely agreed about not being able to wait to solve our Earthly problems -- they will never be solved. We can't wait forever.

You're welcome. I'm very passionate about space exploration, probably due to being fed Star Wars and Star Trek at an early age mixed with how front-and-center NASA was growing up. I still hope for the future, I'll never give up on that but its hard to watch a once great program whittled down to almost nothing post-Columbia.

It's an extremely sad day for Americans when we ask if our national space program is worth funding.

Tell ya what, we'll get that answer when the other countries of the world not only step up their game, but surpass us in science and space technology. Then, instead of it being US making the amazing break throughs and discoveries and inviting over other countries, places like Sweden will be taking that crown and inviting US to witness their history defining moments.

Soviet Heavy:

The Pentagon could do with not wasting billions on a piece of crap like the F-35 and save a ton of cash.

And that's a valid point. This is where you run into issues like senators/reps complaining "The engine for the F-35 is produced in my state/district and we need it because otherwise people will lose jobs and I'll lose votes".

 

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