The United States government will continue to struggle with decreasing the country’s debt as it is projected to break twenty trillion dollars by the end of the 2017 fiscal year. Along with this, politicians maintain with citizens their tax break bribery in hopes that they may elect them leaving only the options of reducing funding towards programs and slashing them altogether. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is one of these such programs. NASA has come under fire recently because of the nature of its purpose. Most government plans have an objective that produces tangible results for its citizens. Unfortunately for NASA, the only tangible things they have given people are memory foam, space blankets, and other spin-off technologies. These facts make it difficult to see the value in NASA, but it must be decided whether their impact is worth an investment by the government.
A majority of proponents to the funding of NASA recognize that the issue of funding itself is a general misconsensus by citizens. Overall, the majority of Americans believe that NASA receives more funding than it actually does (Miozzi par. 1). Over the past couple of years, NASA has received on average 0.5% of the national budget, a percentage that is roughly thirty-five times less than the annual allocation for the department of defense (Miozzi par. 2-3). The portion of one’s income that goes towards NASA is minute, but whether or not one believes their money should go towards adventuring into space, NASA has accomplishments that must be taken into account.
The 1960s were the peak years of NASA. The Apollo missions were introduced and became huge successes, the United States became the first country to put a person on the moon, and many research facilities were constructed (Ryba par. 12-15). All of this was done during the time period in which NASA was allocated the most funds it has ever received (Rogers table 1). The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was used to bring United States citizens together during a time of anxiety. The competition with the Soviet Union during the cold war led to numerous advancements and is still in the memories of many citizens. Besides the moon landing, NASA has discovered countless planets, comets, black holes and other important spacial objects. The journey NASA has taken led to many important scientific discoveries.
Even though NASA has accumulated a list of accomplishments, the reasons for persuing such information is enough. As Joseph Mascaro states, “Exploration and discovery are not luxuries that we can do once we have fixed the rest of our problems. They are simply part of our humanity” (par. 7). A majority of Americans believe that NASA and their space exploration missions will distract us from the problems that are more important. Many are found saying, “We need to focus on the problems in our country and on Earth.” This is not the case. In fact, space exploration and its related fields bring humanity closer to the problems that we face. Engineering, energy, and manufacturing have solved countless problems in society and NASA is a flagship in these studies (Mascaro par. 8).
From the beginning of time humans have wondered where we came from, what we are doing here, and what is going to happen. Space exploration is the application of natural human curiousity. Fortunately for us, these studies have led to more than just an appeasement of our interest in the cosmos. The cancellation of funding towards programs like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration would be a stab in the backs of all scientists who came before us, searching for the answers to mysteries we did not know existed.
Mascaro, Joseph. “Humans Should Resume Exploring the Moon and Outer Space.” Space Exploration. Ed. Michael Ruth. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2016. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from “Following Newt to the Moon.” Thespacereview.com 13 Feb. 2012. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.
Miozzi, CJ. “NASA Should Continue to Receive Funding.” Space Exploration. Ed. Michael Ruth. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2016. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from “Is NASA Worth Funding?” 11 June 2014. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.
Rogers, Simon. “Nasa Budgets: US Spending on Space Travel since 1958 UPDATED.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 01 Feb. 2010. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.
Ryba, Jeanne. “1960s: From Dream to Reality in 10 Years.” NASA. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 29 June 2012. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.