Pro/Con: Raising or lowering the NASA budget
November 15, 2018
Pro: Raising the budget for NASA
Humanity’s fascination with the deep, starry unknown has followed the species since the early stages of its history. The forefathers of stargazing established the need to study our black sky and its twinkling lights.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was founded in 1958 by the United States government to study these unknowns. At the height of the space race, NASA brought the United States to the moon on its masterful Apollo 11 mission.
The federal agency went on to progress the study of space and its many unknowns. Those technological advances came at a price, however – enough to make one small step worth billions.
“The focus of the issue should be shifted to where the money is going,” Coppell High School junior president of the Aerospace and Rocketry Club Tomas Olivas said. “The agency is currently focusing on lunar missions, which are important. However, Mars missions and the further studying of our atmosphere and climate should take priority.”
A 2014 study by the National Research Council found that a manned mission to Mars must require less than $220 billion. The agency, as of 2017, operates on a $19 billion budget, which only takes up about 0.5 percent of the U.S. annual federal budget.
NASA receives small numbers compared to the $590 billion set aside for defense or $939 billion for social security according to the White House’s U.S. Budget Rundown. It can be argued those two categories are more important than funding a trip to Mars, but there is a glaring issue with that line of thought.
If not now, then when?
“NASA’s budget should definitely be increased,” CHS senior vice president of the Technology Students Association Alexander Gross said. “If [NASA’s] budget increased to one percent of the federal budget, it would have the ability to advance research on Mars exploration and beyond.”
The money currently being funneled into NASA is a hindrance to the pace and scale of its projects. If the agency received more money, it could greatly advance its progress on current ventures such as the Space Launch Program and Mars 2020 Rover projects.
NASA’s projects take time and money to develop, launch and maintain. Even if NASA does not receive a significant budget increase in the near future, President Donald Trump might have already set things in the right direction.
On Dec. 17, 2017 Trump initiated the Exploration Campaign. The campaign works as a refocusing for the agency’s current and future projects. The campaign would put forward NASA’s work on getting Americans back to the moon, a manned trip to Mars and further exploration of the cosmos.
The campaign could be all NASA needs to restructure itself and promote the overall advancement of the human species. That prospect is excluding my proposed budget increase. Not only would the budget increase supplement the campaign’s efforts, it would also allow for future efforts to sprout more quickly and easily.
“Space exploration is the definite future,” CHS AP Physics teacher Dayna Bryant said. “We need to put some more money into it. NASA is definitely the foundation for our country’s space exploration.”
Space is the final frontier. Humanity only has one way to go and that way is up. The future of Earth has natural and man-made destruction written all over it. One day, the entire species will have to fling itself towards the great unknown.
However, we will not be completely running away from our past – we will be running towards the future NASA, or any other space trailblazer, set out for us.
Follow Andrés @_andresbear
Con: Raising the budget for NASA
According to a study conducted by UNICEF, 20,000 children die from living in poverty each day. People all over the world are starving to death, and while those of us who are financially well-off wonder when we will have our chance to send a man to Mars, the people in poverty that are dying from hunger are wondering where their next meal will come from.
It is unfair to funnel billions of dollars into a space project while people on the other side of the world, who have no way to provide for themselves or their families, are struggling in the dirt in desperate need of help. There are definitely more humanitarian things we can do with the bulk of the money the taxpayers fund NASA with, even if a few scientists are out of a job.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration reported a $19 billion fiscal year in 2017. There are roughly 550,000 homeless citizens in the United States. Using half of NASA’s budget in order to shelter and feed the homeless folks living stateside would totally eradicate homelessness in the U.S. altogether.
Feed A Billion, a non-profit company dedicated to serving one billion meals across the world to those who need it most by 2020, has the ability to serve 10 meals with only $1. If this company was equipped with just one quarter of NASA’s budget -$4.75 billion- Feed A Billion could theoretically serve 16 meals to each person living in poverty on Earth -roughly three billion people.
There are countless humanitarian efforts we can implement with even a fraction of the NASA budget. Charity for natural disaster victims, reconstruction, funding for the Red Cross Association, funding for local soup kitchens, homeless shelter and day care, the Peace Corps, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, the World Food Programme and others. The list is endless.
“While we are spending a lot of money on science and space and whatnot, there are people who are starving and living in poverty that need our help, especially after a disaster occurs,” American Red Cross member Kimberly Townsend said. “There is a lot of good to be done but we need the proper funds to do it.”
The U.S. government has engaged itself in a new kind of space race, in which rather than facing off with a second world superpower, NASA is competing with private companies such as SpaceX that are advancing technologically at a quicker rate than NASA.
In order to get the upperhand in this race, the needs of the many have been ignored and the needs of the few have been made priority.
At this point in time, humans do not need to venture into space. Humans do, however, need food, water and shelter, and without these things, human life cannot be sustained.
“I really like the idea of exploring and going further into space, but there’s a lot of people in need right now,” Coppell High School junior Tyler Rose said. “We could definitely use the money we’re spending on the space program to feed people and give them homes. The people in need are more important than exploring planets in the solar system.”
While exploring the final frontier has its appeal to a star-gazing species, we have to put humanity ahead and provide for it before expanding into outer space. If we leave problems unsolved on Earth, how can we rationalize or justify settling on Mars?
The world we live in is a broken one, and escaping to outer-space is not a viable option. It is in humanity’s best interests to fix the planet it is native to before venturing further into the galaxy.