NASA, the government funded company that produces ten dollars for every dollar put into it; gets its budget cut more and more every year. NASA is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. From 1946, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the NACA, had been experimenting with rocket planes. In the early 1950s, there was a challenge to launch an artificial satellite for the American Project Vanguard.
After the Soviet space program’s launch of the world’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, on October 4, 1957. The attention of the United States turned toward its own fledgling space efforts. The U.S. Congress, alarmed by the perceived threat to national security and technological leadership, known as the “Sputnik crisis”, urged immediate action. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his advisers counseled more effort. This led to an agreement that a new federal agency mainly based on NACA was needed to conduct all non-military activity in space.
The Advanced Research Projects Agency was also created at this time to develop space technology for military application. From late 1957 to early 1958, the already existing National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) began studying what a new non-military space agency would include, as well as what its role would be. On January 12, 1958, NACA organized a “Special Committee on Space Technology”, headed by Guyford Stever. On January 14, 1958, NACA Director Hugh Dryden published “A National Research Program for Space Technology” stating: It is of great urgency and importance to our country both from consideration of our prestige as a nation as well as military necessity that this challenge [Sputnik] be met by an energetic program of research and development for the conquest of space. It is accordingly proposed that the scientific research be the responsibility of a national civilian agency. NACA is capable, by rapid extension and expansion of its effort, of providing leadership in space technology. By stating this the NACA was telling the world they were taking control of the space race and were going to do everything in their power to become the world leader in space technology and exploration. In April 1958, Eisenhower delivered to U.S. Congress an address favoring a civilian space agency and submitted a bill to create a “National Aeronautical and Space Agency.” In the bill NACA’s former role of research alone would change to include large-scale development, management, and operations. The U.S. Congress passed the bill as the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, on July 16. Then shortly after on July 29 of the same year, Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, establishing NASA. When it began operations in October, NASA absorbed the 46-year-old NACA; its 8,000 employees, which came along with an annual budget of $100 million. NASA’s creation comes mostly from the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States and we owe lot of their greatest inventions to this.NASA has created many things that we use daily and we wouldn’t be where we are today, technology wise, without the company. Since 1976, NASA created 1,400 inventions that later became products or services. These include kidney dialysis machines, CAT scanners, freeze-dried food, memory foam, baby formula, hearing aids, ear thermometers, active pixel sensors for cameras, artificial limbs, ATM machines, GPS systems and many other things that make today’s technology so advanced. So why is the company that has a one-to-ten dollar return and has invented most of todays technology getting their budget cut more and more every year? A 2002 study by Professor H.R. Hertzfeld of George Washington University showed one-way NASA helps the economy. Hertzfeld observed a significant return to companies that work with NASA on its research contracts. These companies can commercialize the products developed and market them. The 15 companies studied received $1.5 billion in benefits from a NASA R&D investment of $64 million. Small businesses didn’t receive as much benefit because they didn’t have the ability to market the technology on a larger scale. The study concludes that NASA could create a greater economic advantage by continuing the relationship with the companies they work with. NASA could also help open additional financial and marketing doors for these companies. NASA’s current budget is $20.7 billion after a 1.7% increase requested by President Trump. This might seem like a large amount of money and more then suitable for the company. NASA receives just 0.4% of the $4.7 trillion 2020 federal budget. Compare that to the Department of Defense. Its budget is $750 billion, or 16% of the total. This budget would pay for 35 NASA departments and would bring in a lot more income then it currently does. Some people don’t see it this way at though, some think that we shouldn’t be funneling billions of dollars into space exploration when there are better things that we could be putting the money into. According to a study conducted by UNICEF, 20,000 children die from living in poverty each day. People all over the world are starving to death, and while we wonder when we will have our chance to send a man to Mars, the people in poverty that are dying from hunger are wondering where their next meal will be. There are roughly 550,000 homeless citizens in the United States. Using half of NASA’s budget in order to shelter and feed the homeless folks living stateside would totally eradicate homelessness in the U.S. altogether. Feed A Billion, a non-profit company dedicated to serving one billion meals across the world to those who need it most by 2020, can serve 10 meals with only $1. If this company was equipped with just one quarter of NASA’s budget, which is around $5 billion, Feed A Billion could theoretically serve 16 meals to each person living in poverty on Earth, roughly three billion people. This argument isn’t completely fool-proof though because you must think of the more then 17,000 people that work for NASA. Cutting their budget even further would just cause more unemployment for people who have worked extremely hard to get where they are today as a NASA employee. Recently NASA has been working a new project called DART, which is short for double asteroid redirection test. I personally think this is the most important thing NASA is currently working on and is extremely important for the future of human life. Everyone knows about the asteroid that caused the dinosaurs to go extinct, and how much of an impact asteroid can have on life on Earth as we know it. This is important because in Stephen Hawking book that he published just before his passing Brief Answers to Big Questions, he predicted a large asteroid to strike Earth and end life. He says that Earth is overdue for an asteroid of this size and I predict in the next 100 years, one will strike if we don’t have the technology to stop it. This makes NASA’s DART mission more important than ever to keep life on Earth thriving. If we cut NASA’s budget this project could be one that has to be cut and could be the end of human life because people decide there are more important things to put the money into. All of this information concludes that raising NASA’s budget should be one of the most important things that money is allocated to. Of course, there are issues on Earth that are urgent and need to be dealt with, but they shouldn’t be defunding a company that raises ten times the money it receives yearly and invents many of the most important things that people use on a daily basis. This is also a company that protects the citizens of the United States from any space threats that might occur as well as threats on Earth. NASA is one of the most important companies to continuing research on technology and space, and it should not even be thought of to lower the budget.