According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to provide $18 billion in funding to NASA for the coming fiscal year. A plan for long-term funding still remains a topic of disagreement among both parties.
The strange thing about this authorization bill is in that it contains $540 million more than the amount requested by the Obama Administration.
The bill also requires NASA to further detail plans to send humans to Mars and study asteroids that may pose harmful to Earth in the future, as well as developing a robotic mission to one of Jupiter’s moons.
The thought of NASA receiving any funding at all can be a topic of hot debate. There are those who believe that space exploration is an incredible waste, and those who see its value, despite the costs.
Thanks to space exploration, we are now fairly certain that the moon is not in fact made of cheese, and this is definitely a plus. But, some argue that the superficial pieces of knowledge we can gain from space exploration isn’t truly worth billions of dollars.
In the same vein, space exploration can help us learn about the possibility of life on other planets, which seems compelling when written on paper, but is this truly practical?
The answer must be “yes.”
Regardless of what we gain from space exploration in the future, the advances in technology and science that have been proven to come with it are incredibly valuable. According to the official NASA website, space exploration has led to the development of LED lights, infrared ear thermometers, artificial limbs, enriched baby food, cordless vacuums, and even harnessing solar energy. The list goes on and on.
Additionally, NASA is responsible for studying Earth, the atmosphere, biosphere, oceans, and the land surface, which has given us a better understanding of the Earth as a whole. The information we now possess regarding weather and cartography would be unavailable without if NASA hadn’t been funded.
Is is also important to consider the economic benefits that come with NASA’s research.
The innovations developed for NASA missions have not only shaped the future of science, but the future of our everyday lives. One third of the U.S. Economy is influenced by natural occurrences, such as climate and weather. We are inclined to study the Earth to better understand these phenomena, and as a result, advance in the way of our economy.
Of the $18 billion on the table, I believe that only good things can come of it.
NASA is something worth investing in, for we gain far more from its research than mildly interesting factoids about the solar system. We gain technology that will enable us to survive and thrive in a growing world. We gain a deeper understanding of the planet that is our home. Most importantly, we gain a better future as we reach for the stars.
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