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Q: Why make space exploration a budget priority? ( No Answer,   4 Comments )
Subject: Why make space exploration a budget priority?
Category: Relationships and Society > Government
Asked by: zappachance-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 28 Sep 2005 17:09 PDT
Expires: 28 Oct 2005 17:09 PDT
Question ID: 573998
When I hear laypeople advocate for space exploration, I am baffled as
to how they can make that an urgent priority, given all the
threatening and expensive social problems to be solved. Perhaps some
just aren't thinking, but I wonder if others are commonly making the
assumption that space exploration is important because we may need to
evacuate the planet. Have reputable space advocates voiced that
rationale, or otherwise justified their priorities?

Clarification of Question by zappachance-ga on 29 Sep 2005 06:29 PDT
thanks for that flag. Interesting, but my question assumes that NASA,
or others who've made careers of space science, are going to be
promoters of it. What I'm interested in is why someone who's not a
stakeholder would look at public sector spending and choose space
exploration over other forms of social investment.

Clarification of Question by zappachance-ga on 29 Sep 2005 10:26 PDT
Thanks for your comment on uses of it. I acknowledge that there are
immense potential gains from it; my question concerns prioritizing,
and cost-effectiveness in coping with immediate threats to our
existence here on earth.  How do knowledgeable laypeople who are
interested in social challenges as well as economic potential justify
diverting limited funds away from basic social needs (towards space)
at this point in history, when we are fiscally so overextended?  I'm
trying to keep an open mind, but have never heard that comparison
made. Maybe advocates just don't think the social challenge is that
real or that pressing.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Why make space exploration a budget priority?
From: easterangel-ga on 28 Sep 2005 22:29 PDT
You maybe interested in reading an answer to a slightly similar question.
Subject: Re: Why make space exploration a budget priority?
From: elids-ga on 29 Sep 2005 09:23 PDT
The number of reasons why space exploration is not only important but
primordial is mindbogling. So I will simply point out the first three
that come to mind, and then for the sake of it point out a major
current US policy blunder.

The amount of knowledge, new technologies, expertise and economic
windfall that is derived out of space exploration far exceeds the
investment on the exploration in of itself. Listing them all would be
impossible so I'll list three a) composite materials that permeate our
life today b) GPS technology and the myriad of companies that provide
services and employment based on that c) Satellites improved
communications, weather and farming forecasts among countless others
d) better ways of determining natural resources i/e oil, fish schools
etc. early warning of impending dangers for instance the growing ozone
hole over Antartica etc. The list goes on and on, the easiest way to
get an idea of how discovery through exploration can propel or keep a
nation on top would be to make a comparison with Spain in the 15th
century. When Columbus sailed west and discovered America the Spaniard
kings invested enough to maintain 90 people on board 3 (very small)
ships for 6 months, and the result was Spain becoming the dominating
power for the next 4 centuries.

Not to mention the direct economic benefit of employment of the people
in this sector, gives instant returns to our society. All of the money
invested is spent in this economy.

Major blunder in US space exploration, sending man back to the Moon
and on to Mars. I wouldn't have a problem with this mandate in of
itself, however, it is an unfunded mandate. NASA is now forced to
cancel hundreds of scientific proyects in which they have already
invested billions of dollars over a very long time in order to come up
with the funds needed to make this 'vision' a reality. Killing ongoing
scientific research to fund a new ambitions program with absolutely no
new scientific value is idiotic and shortsided. It would be great if
this administration would give a mandate and then fund it, but it
simply gave the mandate. Did the same thing with the 'no child left
behind' policy and we now see the disastrous results. The same thing
with the Iraq experience, and now with the devastation in the Gulf due
to Katrina. Give expenditure mandates and not fund them... idiotic.
Subject: Re: Why make space exploration a budget priority?
From: elids-ga on 29 Sep 2005 14:01 PDT
Clearly it is a matter of opinion, and you know what they say;
opinions are like noses... everybody's got one.

That said, in my opinion it is not a matter of diverting funds from
social programs towards space exploration, one thing has nothing to do
with the other. If I was king of the world and there was something I
would cut in order to fund social programs it certainly would not be
space exploration. There is a myriad of programs of dubious value at
best that I would cut, once those had been addressed I would cut the
national defense budget. I would be very generous in those cuts and I
am willing to bet that any cuts made there would pay off for
themselves in no time at all. We in the US spend over 50% of our
budget   in matters that are
of 'national defense' interest, no other nation in the world spends as
much as we do on a % per capita basis (except Taiwan and Israel, and
most of that is paid by us).

I would bet my bottom dollar that if instead of having spent $380
billion (and counting) and over 10,000 lives (between dead and maimed)
if we would've spent $ 100 billion in the middle east on education,
health and improving living standards, we would be the heroes of the
world (insted of the villians) and Bin Laden's network would've been
destroyed a long time ago.

So again IMO it is not space exploration vs. social programs since
Nasa's budget is merely 1% of our budget, compare that to the 8
billion given to NASA to the amount given in tax breaks to oil
companies in a single bill this year, the trasnportation bill recently
passed included a $ 9 billion credit to oil companies... credit! that
is money the government will have to give them back for taxes already
paid! to fund social programs I would cut things like that instead of
space exploration.
Subject: Re: Why make space exploration a budget priority?
From: elids-ga on 29 Sep 2005 14:17 PDT
the last paragraph should've read " the 8 billion given to
NASA to the amount given in tax breaks to oil companies ..."

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