The Case for NASA

Steven Petryk

(probably to scale)

Cassini–Huygens

Photo credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Mission Overview

European Space Agency, 2015

  • Launched in 2004, still going strong
  • Analyze Saturn's atmosphere
  • Determine composition and shape of rings
  • Observe Saturn's natural satellites
  • Photograph everything possible
  • ... and more. Tons more.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Foundation

Mission Results

  • Over 3,000 scientific papers in 10 years (NASA, 2014)
  • Liquid water on Enceladus (NASA, 2014)
  • Hydrocarbon oceans on Titan (NASA, 2008)
  • Insights into rings and moons
  • ... and more.

US Contribution

$236m/year

(.006% nat'l budget)

Why we oppose NASA

  • Americans assume NASA is expensive
    • Average guess is 25% of budget (Plait, 2007)
  • Urgent matters should be focused upon
    • Hunger, Poverty, Social Security, etc.
  • Lack of relevance in everyday life

Cost of NASA

$17.65B

FY2014 budget

(0.5% of $3.78 trillion budget)

Source: Phil Plait, 2015 & Washington Post, 2013

NASA as a priority

NASA historically is in 16th-20th place in terms of national budget allocation. 

  1. Social Security
  2. Defense
  3. Income security
  4. Medicaire
  5. Health care

  6. Flight and space tech.

The Proposed 2014 Budget

Source: Washington Post, 2013

$866 B
$627 B
$542 B
$531 B
$443 B

$30 B

 

...

Budget cuts

Despite all of this, the budget is decreasing at a rate of 1% per year (Plait, 2015).

Photo credit: Wikimedia Foundation

The Case for Space

Science

  • Studies of atmospheric chemistry
  • Tests of theoretical physics
  • Understanding of our own geology
  • Gaining insights into the formation of the Solar System

Space travel allows for:

Technology

  • Miniaturization of electronics
  • Drove the development of computer science (Bell, 2013)
  • Development of new materials
  • Advancements trickle down into everyday life

Social aspects

  • Humans thrive on exploration
  • Most missions are multinational efforts
  • Creates excitement about a governmental organization
  • Encourages involvement in STEM fields

Questions

The Case for Space

By Steven Petryk

The Case for Space

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