What’s At Stake

Among the many things that are at stake given the decreasing of NASA’s funding are: The continued advancement of scientific knowledge – answering the ultimate questions.
  • We were the first to put a man on the moon, and the only manned space faring country to no longer have the capability to send our own astronauts into space.
  • We have had plan after plan over the last 40 years to bring us back to the Moon, to Mars and beyond. All of which have seen their budgets slashed, and their programs eventually dismantled.
  • The White House’s FY 2013 budget requested a 38.5% budget cut to NASA’s planetary exploration budget. This means that NASA was forced to halt their plans to partner with the ESA on the ExoMars mission, included possible further cutbacks in Mars missions, and others.
  • NASA’s FY2013 budget is slated at $17.77 Billion, which represents 0.48% of the total US federal budget allocations. This is the 3rd lowest funding level by percentage, higher only then the budgets of 1958 and 1959, NASA’s founding years.
  • In terms of constant 2007 dollars, NASA’s FY2013 budget is slated at $16.014 Billion, which is the 23rd lowest budget by constant dollar value. Ironically, 23rd is also the United States position in worldwide Science test scores.
  • The Curiosity Rover (Mars Science Laboratory) was a huge 10 year undertaking that culminated in a rover with all the scientific equipment of a small laboratory, miniaturized and now sitting on Mars ready to unveil the secrets hidden within sedimentary deposits on Mount Sharp in Gale Crater, find the answers to whether Mars has the conditions and makeup conducive for life as we know it.
  • Ask any expert and the next step in Mars exploration is a sample return mission, something that will not happen unless NASA receives the proper funding allocation.
Continued economic prosperity and competitiveness of the United States
  • A huge amount of the funding invested in NASA comes right back into the economy both through revenues created by new technologies made possible through NASA science and research, and also through contractors of all sizes which NASA depends on. That’s an extremely valuable aspect of NASA’s relationship with our national economy, and this economic benefit is enough to warrant 1% of the US annual budget.
  • NASA research and development consistently comes back into the economy as new technologies. These are called NASA Spinoffs, which can be found here. Here is a short list of some of our favorites.
    • Laser Angioplasty – A system that vaporizes blockages in coronary arteries without damaging arterial walls
    • Body Imaging – The Apollo era spawned what has now become some of the most widely used medical diagnostic tools, including the CT, CATscan and MRI
    • Global Positioning System (GPS) – NASA was the first in the US to develop the technology to put a satellite into orbit, to develop the communications abilities and subsequent discoveries that lead straight to the capabilities of GPS.
More to be added…