Sunday, February 24, 2013

What Has NASA Given Us?

There are those out there who think that space exploration, and therefore NASA, are a complete waste of federal funding.  After all, what has NASA given us?

Well, there's improved artificial limbs.  And scratch-resistant lenses.  And improved radial tires.  And better fire fighting equipment.  And enriched baby food.  And freeze drying.  And better water purification.  And better solar energy collection.  And improved mine safety.  And improved food safety.  And that's just some of what's listed on Wikipedia.  

So how much of the budget is spent on NASA as a whole?  2%?  5%?  Try 0.48% of the 2012 federal budget.  Sound like a lot?  The entire cost of NASA, including the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and STS (the shuttles) programs, is less than the entire amount spent in the past two years on the US military.  I support the military, but I would rather my tax dollars go toward building something than destroying something.  I'm willing to bet there are plenty of officers and enlisted would would agree with me.  And that bank bailout?  Also larger than the entire budget of NASA. 

Need another reason to fund NASA?  How about this:

Earth from Space

Or this:

Earth from space

Or the classic:

Earth from the moon iPhone wallpaper

If you don't recognize that last one, it's from Apollo 8, where we first orbited the moon.  This picture is known as Earthrise.

Then again, what do I know?  I'm just some guy sitting at his computer, saying whatever he wants to say.  I had better let an astrophysicist explain:

And part 2:

If you agree, sign this.  It's a minor way to say:  let's keep going.

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