Simpson: NASA deserves larger budget
- Oct. 10, 2012
- 9 Comments
When I was a little kid, my Dad would drag my brother and I out of the warmth of our beds at 3 a.m., all so we could drive to No-where, Kan., and stare at the stars.
In the city, you can look up and see all of five constellations. Out in a cornfield, 50 miles from the nearest man made light, the true depth of space is unveiled: light from thousands of unique stars, light that has journeyed billions of miles and is millions of years old, gently hits your eyes. You are literally looking into the past of the universe. It installed a sense of peace in me, and an undiminished yearning to explore the amply named “final frontier.” It was nights like those that made we want to be an astronaut.
Sadly, like most children, reality soon reached my aging self. Only 1 in 10 million Americans become astronauts, and that number of astronauts has only diminished since the great Space Race of the Cold War. It has been almost 40 years since man has set foot on the Moon. And why? Because after the Soviet Union fell, NASA’s budget was slashed, and then slashed again. The Apollo program was used by Congress as a powerful emotional weapon to demoralize the Communists, and that was it. You see, Congress gets easily bored by science done only to expand humanity’s knowledge, and after the great enemy fell, there was no need to keep putting lots of money into NASA.
Right now, of every $1 you pay in taxes, only half of a cent goes to the organization that put the American flag on the moon, the organization that built what is essentially a castle in space, the organization that shot a robot 350 million miles to Mars and hit a 1 kilometer wide target during this years Olympics. Obviously, NASA has been able to do work, and truthfully nothing short of the greatest achievements in human history, on a half-cent budget. But imagine what NASA could do with a 1-cent budget, or even with 2 cents of every tax dollar.
You really don’t have to imagine, because NASA will gladly tell you. If NASA had double the budget it had now, it could have sent 17 Curiosity rovers ($2.5 billion each) to Mars. NASA has plans of building a new rocket engine that could send people to Mars in 45 days, instead of 365. NASA wants to start sending people to the moon again, and establish a moon base for further solar exploration. You remember the warp drive that made the spaceships from “Star Trek” go faster than the speed of light? NASA is actually going to start testing warp theory, and needs more money to do so.
I’m going to jump out on a limb and simply declare: the U.S. was at the head of the world in education and scientific discoveries, and really everything else, when NASA was in it’s prime. When more children wanted to learn and grow up to be astronauts and engineers than grow up to be new Taylor Swifts and Justin Biebers.
So I, and Bill Nye the Science Guy also, believe NASA needs a larger budget. So we can explore the galaxy. So we can unite mankind behind a single cause. So that at the very least, NASA can hire more astronauts, and kids like me can grow up and travel to the stars.
Simpson is a freshman majoring in chemical engineering from Fairway.
Andrew Simpson is a Chemical Engineering major from Fairway, Kansas Read more from Andrew Simpson.