The United States government seems to be in huge debt. Deficits experienced each year have added to this. Thus, in view of such, many have raised concerns, including the push for a more balanced budget.
But the bigger question still remains: Should the government’s spending be reduced or should the revenues be increased? The approach has been phenomenal, to say the least.
The government, in view of the aforementioned, has made some drastic moves, most notable one including withdrawing financial support for particular programs. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration( NASA) has been the most affected.
Huge financial support initially awarded to NASA has largely been sliced. In 2011, a budget of $18.5 billion was allocated to NASA. But as it can be noted, the amount has consistently been cut to extremely low figures. In 2012, only $ 17.8 billion was allocated to them. The figure has drastically gone down over subsequent years and apparently, the united states government thinks they deserve nothing more than 0.4% of the federal budget. This has prompted mixed reactions. But a look at expert analysis reveals more than can meet the eye.
Is NASA worth it?
Both Werner Von Braun and James Van Allen, who were notable forces behind the evolution of space exploration were ardent and vocal and believed passionately in the value of human and robotic exploration.
G Scott Hubbard, a distinguished professor at Standford University, Aeronautics department, and also former director of the NASA’s Ames Research center notes the following ” Without space exploration, no human civilization will ever be established on another world, for instance, Mars”.
Space exploration is the moving force behind new technologies. He further states that for every dollar spend on any space program, the U.S economy receives $8 worth of economic benefit.
It’s worth noting that the economic, technological and scientific returns of space exploration have far exceeded the investment. Close to 43 countries globally now have their own satellites( both communication and observing) roaming around the Earth’s orbit. Global Positioning System( G.P.S), meteorological forecasts, Natural disaster management e.g hurricane management, Global environment monitoring, surveillance, intelligence, name them, are all available courtesy of space exploration.
Satellite communication has been at the forefront in enabling cell phone communication, global banking, TV and Radio communication and other business and computer operations.
New treatments, understanding of osteoporosis, as well as balance disorders have all been enabled due to the study of humans on the microgravity of space.
Other fascinating innovations in the field of medicine include the availability of wealth-generating medical devices, instrumentation, for instance, digital mammography, outpatient breast biopsy procedures and the application of telemedicine to emergency cases. All these can be alluded to manned exploration which as it seems, is being taken for granted.
Overall, with the USA’s national debt problems, NASA has been able to do so much with very little resources. Space exploration is nothing close to a drain on the economy. In fact, all the royalties on NASA licenses and patents directly go to the U.S Treasury.
George Mallory, when asked why he insisted on climbing Mount Everest, replied ” Because it was there”. Nature is phenomenal and this makes exploration a necessity. It’s like a fight between man and nature fused with a desperate need to conquer. It’s something that sparks up curiosity, creativity and inspiration. Thus, the human spirit will forever seek to discover the unknown, and through the process, explore the physical, psychological and other aspects of human endurance.