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According to the 2016 fiscal year budget request, NASA wants 18.5 billion dollars. What would
happen if we… I dunno. Doubled it?
Hey space rangers, Trace here for DNews. NASA is owned by the people of the United States
of America. If you pay taxes here, you're helping support space exploration. When NASA
landed on the moon, we the people did that. The thing is, excepting the Space Race (which
was during cold wartime), the U.S. has spent roughly the same amount on NASA every year,
between one-half and 1 percent of the Federal budget. Currently, that's about 18 billion
dollars. Americans spend 27 billion on pizza annually, for comparison, and 97 billion on
alcohol. So, we got to thinking, what would NASA do
if the government gave them a few billion extra bucks?
Well, according to Jeff Matthews of the Space Frontier Foundation, a well-funded NASA could
send more crew to the International Space Station, provide money for Commercial Spaceflight,
boost deep-space human missions, and help us send a robotic mission to Europa. Because
of the current budget, we don't even staff the ISS fully. Matthews wrote, "we are missing
out on direct, near-term science," Meaning, there are more science proposals submitted
then there are crew on the International Space Station to carry them out.
If NASA's budget were doubled, or tripled, that would still leave it 10 billion less
than the Department of Education, or 12 billion less than the intelligence budget. And as
Micah Walter-Range of the Space Foundation wrote to DNews, if money were no object, NASA
could "invest heavily in developing new technology…" They could, say, maintain the ISS after 2024
when it's slated to be abandoned AND fund the human spaceflight program -- right now
it's either/or. It would be great to have both, as the ISS can provide more research
and support as we venture into deep space. As Walter-Range wrote, "There's a huge need
for more biological research if we are going to try to send people to live away from Earth.
We may even need to do some tinkering with our physiology in order to survive in different
levels of gravity."
Unfortunately, a fully-funded NASA probably isn't in the cards. Previously cuts have reduced
NASA's public outreach, the office dedicated to helping the American people understand
what NASA is doing with tax dollars. And, in 2015, Congress cut the Earth science budget,
the department that looks at the "the Earth as a whole system [to] understand how it is
changing." Interestingly, "earth science" is where Climate Scientists get much of their
data… Congress cut that budget... ? Huh. The Space Frontier Foundation's Policy Director
Aaron Oesterle wrote to DNews that NASA is used as a "political football by various special
interest groups… [meaning] people will cheer NASA on and support programs that could result
in dead ends, when what is needed is a real discussion about goals and strategies."
Instead, According to Matthews, a tripled budget could get a manned Mars landing in
the late 2020s, sustained exploration, and "significant value for the American public
and other beneficiaries of NASA." What beneficiaries? Glad you asked! Well, the taxpayers for one,
but also private companies like SpaceX, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Raytheon, Orbital ATK, Lockheed
Martin, and dozens of others who are all contracted with NASA. Meaning, there's a real return
on investment for these tax dollars.
And yet, alas, NASA's next human mission to Mars, and the new rocket that will take us
there are both "slated for significant cuts under the proposed" budget for 2017.
Look, as Dr. Tyson says, NASA costs Americans half a penny per tax dollar. That fraction
of a dollar bill is not enough from the edge to reach the ink. Increases like this could
restore and boost standard missions like weather, atmospheric and earth sciences, while accelerating
and securing contracts for new launch systems, human and biological study, as well as robotic
and human-based missions to the edges of our imagination. Wouldn't that be awesome? Yeah,
it would. Sponsorship?
If you're as into space as we are at Discovery then make sure you tell your phone to remind
you about global premiere of Telescope, Saturday, Feb 20th at 9/8c on Discovery channel.
If you're thinking, all this sounds great, but what would all this do for me? Guess what.
A lot. Check this video here for all the ways space exploration has benefited you, right
Special thanks to both the Space Frontier Foundation and the Space Foundation for their
help with this story! How much money would you give NASA? What would you fund?
Let us know in the comments!
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What Could NASA Do With Double The Budget?

39 Folder Collection
王杰 published on February 19, 2020
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