FrugalNinja250 (Crankcase) View all posts in this topic  
Thu Oct 24, 2013 1:14 pm
Here is my opinion        

Scientifically: Pure research doesn't always pay off, but when it does, it does it in spades. Funding NASA for pure research has paid off quite well over the decades, both in direct results and in indirect results (developing the technology itself increases payback).

Militarily: Whomever owns the high ground owns it all. Currently we have no means to put a human in space, instead we pay the Russians, and Putin since he gets a cut of every transaction running through his corrupt government. Last I checked it was twelve million dollars a butt delivered. Behind them are the Chinese, and we all know how interested they are in sharing resources.

Our future: Building out a real space infrastructure, manned or otherwise is humankind's only real way to ensure our future. We are consuming resources, particularly energy resources, at a rate that even the most backwards-thinking among us can admit is completely unsustainable. Outside of Earth's gravity well are virtually unlimited resources in both materials and energy, there for the taking. All we have to do is to decide to go get it.

Our end: The tiny asteroid that blew up over Chelyabinsk last February was barely over 50' in size and exploded almost fifteen miles up, yet it injured thousands of people and did millions of dollars worth of damage. We're tremendously lucky it was a rocky body, rather than a metallic. If it had been the latter it likely would have made it to the ground and done far, far more damage. The effects on weather would have been felt around the northern hemisphere for months, if not years. And that's not even, by far, the biggest one out there. Our planet has been hit by larger bodies in the past, impacts that have collapsed the world ecology to the point of causing extinction of millions of species.

And we have zero means of doing anything about it because we, in our national and species shortsightedness, have decided it's better to ignore our future.

NASA's budget is currently less than half of one percent of the national budget, a level that somewhat sustains it at some minimal level but doesn't allow it to do a whole lot. It's akin to feeding a child the bare minimum of calories to keep it alive, though stunted and underdeveloped. It has been as high as 4.41%, back when we realized the Soviet Union claimed the high-ground with Sputnick. Now, we're ignoring the competition and looking the other way as nations smarter than us realize that space is where the future lays.

What do I think? I think that the budget should be 1.5% at a minimum, with the emphasis on developing permanent space infrastructure, both manned and otherwise. Long-term planning should be done, not this BS year to year grasping at straws.

For certain, if the human species is to survive, one of our planetary nations will have to become spaceworthy in a real way, and if it's not us it will be the Chinese, perhaps the Russians (though not as likely because Putin and the oligarchy there seems more interested in personal wealth development than anything long-term) or maybe even the EU.

TL:DR If we don't fund NASA, we will be buying our space access from others who don't like us all that much and won't need us for much else if they can develop meaningful space resources.

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