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Edited 1 year, 26 days ago

How important is a space program / NASA to you? (222 votes)

Very important - Shut up and take my money! 72%
Not very important - Make sure they stay funded 14%
Meh - I'm comfortable here in my trailer 4%
Not important - Why are we wasting our money on this crap? We've got real problems down here! 7%
There is no such thing as outer space, it's turtles all the way down. 4%

I am severely disappointed by the current political attitude towards space travel and exploration. Here in the U.S., NASA has seen deep, deep cuts during the recession and has not rebounded since. Manned space flight has gone backwards in the last 20 years, with our most monumental achievement being sustained life in low-earth orbit.

When will we take the next step?

With the recent explosion of the Chelyabinsk meteor in the earth's atmosphere, there should be a groundswell of support for increased capabilities in space. When there was a House of Representatives panel held to ask NASA what could be done if a similar meteor was to be on course to hit within the United States, NASA administrator Charles Bolden had this to say:

"Pray."

NASA had asked for funding to track near-earth asteroids for years, but "the funding did not come". We are woefully helpless if there is going to be a repeat incident any time soon.

But I understand that there are those that are more resigned to fate. How can we possibly be bothered by something that is so difficult to predict, and if we could, could be nigh unstoppable? Perhaps it would be best to solve earthly problems before we worry about intercepting meteors, or setting up other human colonies. We've done a lot of harm here, and there's much suffering that can be alleviated by putting that money toward curing disease or solving the world's hunger problems.

Where do you stand on this issue?

tl;dr: Where is my hoverboard.

#1 Posted by Sanity (1853 posts) -

Im totally ok with it, long as taxes don't take a hike. They could cut defense a bit to fund the space program easy and still be well enough armed to blow up the earth a few times.

#2 Edited by Krullban (984 posts) -

It's hard for us to explore space when we barely even have our shit together on Earth.

#3 Edited by ManU_Fan10ne (662 posts) -

Neil deGrasse Tyson on why we need a space program.

I love Neil deGrasse Tyson.

#4 Edited by Video_Game_King (34618 posts) -

Dismantle it. Space doesn't want you here.

#5 Edited by JasonR86 (9379 posts) -

It used to be way more important to me. As I've gotten older I seem to care less. It's just so unimportant to what I do on a daily basis or what seems to be more important in the here and now. Maybe I have a short view of things but I'm more interested in my country staying solvent rather then exploring space and learning about the nature of the universe. I'm happy with it staying funded but only if my country can afford it and not at the cost of more important causes like health care.

#6 Posted by AlexanderSheen (4672 posts) -

@manu_fan10ne: Whenever I hear him talk, I think to myself "Science is fucking awesome!"

#7 Posted by Kidavenger (3380 posts) -

The amount of money that gets dumped in vs. what's been accomplished, is disappointing but I do think it's important; significantly more important than a lot of the other stuff governments spend money on.

#8 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5750 posts) -

I guess that even if it doesn't lead to any significant discoveries, the technology and research that comes out of it will still be highly valuable.

So it's probably important.

#9 Edited by FunkasaurasRex (847 posts) -

Seems pretty important, at least if we want to do little things like ensure the survival of the human race. There's plenty of other shit Americans should get way more pissed about their government wasting tax dollars on.

Also I will always pick the joke poll option.

#10 Posted by Daneian (1172 posts) -

The future of space travel is in the private sector and John Carmack.

#11 Edited by Nickieroonie (140 posts) -

From what I understand, it would take very little funding (relatively speaking) to support most of NASA's operations. Curiosity only took ~$312 million per year to achieve. It's strange to me that NASA doesn't receive additional funding. Even if you call space achievements not worthwhile from a scientific standpoint (debatable), they tend to build morale and solidarity. It seems like a low price for something that is generally hard to attain.

#12 Posted by Rokkaku (214 posts) -

I won't be alive to see it, but the sooner Mass Effect becomes reality the better in my opinion. I would pay a lot of money for even a glimpse of what the future of civilisation holds, and space is the answer I want to see!

#13 Edited by ProfessorEss (7123 posts) -

@daneian said:

The future of space travel is in the private sector and John Carmack.

I think the future of space exploration may be better off in the hands of the private sector. When I think of all the money wasted in an average department of the government I can't even imagine how much waste there would be in their space programs and how slow their progress would be nowadays.

#14 Posted by Jams (2956 posts) -

I'd like to see us get our own shit together before we drop duckets on NASA. They're a luxury that we can't fully afford right now. Should we drop them entirely? Probably not, but we can't throw money at them either.

#15 Edited by psylah (2153 posts) -

@jams said:

I'd like to see us get our own shit together before we drop duckets on NASA. They're a luxury that we can't fully afford right now. Should we drop them entirely? Probably not, but we can't throw money at them either.

I don't consider ensuring the survival of life on this planet a luxury... but I can understand if you think things are so bad down here we're not worth saving.

#16 Edited by Daneian (1172 posts) -

@daneian said:

The future of space travel is in the private sector and John Carmack.

I think the future of space exploration may be better off in the hands of the private sector. When I think of all the money wasted in an average department of the government I can't even imagine how much waste there would be in their space programs and how slow their progress would be nowadays.

I agree. And money will always motivate people more than the science that makes it anyway.

#17 Posted by Azteck (7447 posts) -

Cut military funding and give that surplus to NASA. I'd rather see space travel than the US engaging in more wars.

#18 Posted by ModernAlkemie (356 posts) -

I believe that the continued pursuit of manned space flight is an important and laudable project, but it must be done responsibly when there are so many other pressing issues of public welfare that have to be considered.

It also irks me whenever the success of NASA is solely determined using the metric of manned space flight. The probes and satellites launched in the last two decades have done a lot to revise our theories of planetary formation, solar system structure, the early moments of the universe, and the origins of life. NASA has also done some really awesomely cool stuff like the Kepler satellite discovering tons of new exoplanets, the Deep Impact probe that shot a freaking comet, and Curiosity-a 2,000 lb, radioactive-powered, car-sized robot full of incredibly sophisticated and delicate instruments that is currently tooling around the surface of Mars.

If I've got any problem with the current direction of NASA, it's the need for a larger budget/system for the detection of Near-Earth Objects.

#19 Posted by Claude (16251 posts) -

I was four years old when man first stepped onto the moon. It's very important to me. I do wish they would have taken the Video_Game_King down while they were there. Oh well, maybe in the future!

#20 Posted by McGhee (6091 posts) -

I want to get my ass to Mars, damn it!

#21 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11019 posts) -

No, I'm pretty sure I would prioritize government spending in at least half a dozen other places before NASA. Like perhaps our nation's underfunded system of public schools?

#22 Edited by psylah (2153 posts) -

@daneian said:

@professoress said:

@daneian said:

The future of space travel is in the private sector and John Carmack.

I think the future of space exploration may be better off in the hands of the private sector. When I think of all the money wasted in an average department of the government I can't even imagine how much waste there would be in their space programs and how slow their progress would be nowadays.

I agree. And money will always motivate people more than the science that makes it anyway.

This is a slippery slope leading us directly to Xenomorphs. Is that what you want?!

#23 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6077 posts) -

Being the narrow minded cunt that I am, the only thing I care about is in the center of the Balkans. Everything else can burn.

#24 Posted by gogosox82 (413 posts) -

I would like to keep it funded and it shouldn't take too much money to keep NASA funded anyway. It just seems like a scapegoat right now because the government doesn't wanna raise taxes so the only other thing they can do is cut funding in other programs and not a lot of people(public figures like politicians, talking heads, or activists for that matter) are fighting really hard for it. They seem to be fighting for things that they deem more important to save so NASA gets put on the chopping by process of elimination.

#25 Posted by Jams (2956 posts) -

@azteck said:

Cut military funding and give that surplus to NASA.

I'd be okay with that. Though if we cut military funding, we'd probably need that money to pay other shit off before we gave it to NASA.

#26 Edited by Breadfan (6586 posts) -
#27 Posted by ShadowConqueror (2994 posts) -

Very important. It's the future of the human race. The only things of equal importance are education and protecting the environment.

#28 Posted by ManU_Fan10ne (662 posts) -
#29 Posted by MarkWahlberg (4497 posts) -
@psylah said:

@daneian said:

@professoress said:

@daneian said:

The future of space travel is in the private sector and John Carmack.

I think the future of space exploration may be better off in the hands of the private sector. When I think of all the money wasted in an average department of the government I can't even imagine how much waste there would be in their space programs and how slow their progress would be nowadays.

I agree. And money will always motivate people more than the science that makes it anyway.

This is a slippery slope leading us directly to Xenomorphs. Is that what you want?!

...yes?

#30 Posted by Breadfan (6586 posts) -

I saw this one a week or two ago. It's very true.

I love this video. I'm still stuck in between on classifying it as either extremely inspiring, or incredibly tragic. Neil deGrasse Tyson is truly amazing. I am not scientifically literate, but I often find myself watching his lectures. Hopefully his contributions to the field of science will inspire more support for the funding of NASA, or some other space program.

#31 Posted by Canteu (2814 posts) -

We will only develop interstellar travel once we reach world peace.

So, we'll probably never get there.

#32 Posted by bennyboy (327 posts) -

I'm all for it as long as taxpayers' money doesn't fund it. We have way more important things to spend it on at this point.

#33 Edited by isomeri (1172 posts) -

It's sad to see the US falling behind in science and space exploration. NASA has been a very cheap investment for the country if you weigh the achieved benefits. It would be easy to double NASA's budget by cutting the nuclear stockpile in half for example.

But luckily China, Japan and the EU have stepped up to the plate. Not to mention private companies. And Russia has mostly been the leader in space exploration anyway.

#34 Posted by Demoskinos (13878 posts) -

Its really important it furthers our understanding of the universe we live in and all the shit that gets developed for NASA makes it way into consumer tech and products. WE WOULD NOT HAVE TANG IF IT WASN'T FOR NASA. THINK ABOUT THAT.

#35 Edited by Chop (1965 posts) -

Incredibly important. Scientific progress of any and all kind should always be a priority.

#36 Edited by Corvak (568 posts) -

First off, lets own up to the fact that we will NEVER have our shit together on earth, unless the developed nations of the world does the impossible and collaborates to eliminate societal problems.

So instead, lets at least learn what we can from space - the real world benefits of the last fifty years of space exploration have been immense.

#37 Edited by zenmastah (837 posts) -

Space is where we have go as a species at some point, if we dont you know, blow ourselfs up first.

#38 Posted by Daveyo520 (6597 posts) -

If we don't have a space program how can we eventually get to cool awesome future scifi things? Exploration and the search for knowledge just for the sake of it is great. Also we get tech that eventually goes on to the public from NASA and that is a good plus.

#39 Edited by Toxin066 (3197 posts) -

In a government full of grown adults that can't create a proper budget (sequester, hooooooo), I think it's impossible to also rely on that government to sustain a space program. While I'm incredibly in favor of NASA funding (STEM major here), I just don't see it being practical.

#40 Edited by Azteck (7447 posts) -

@jams said:

@azteck said:

Cut military funding and give that surplus to NASA.

I'd be okay with that. Though if we cut military funding, we'd probably need that money to pay other shit off before we gave it to NASA.

Oh yeah definitely. They could call it a long time investment.

#41 Posted by Alekss (327 posts) -

I like doritos

#42 Posted by Ryuku_Ryosake (193 posts) -

Well as an Engineering major, I'm extremely bias as NASA funding could be money in my pocket. But really the importance of NASA really can't be understated. As almost anyone who has had to do any sort of science project can tell you the hardest part is just coming up for the idea for the project. It is the same for actual scientists. The primary driving force of scientific advancement is not education or economics it simply comes down to asking the right questions and finding tough problems. Most Scientists and Engineers will be asked to "fix this", "make this cheaper, faster, and cleaner", or "find a better way to do this." Less likely you get to advance science for science sake. If your very lucky you might get to find new ways to kill guys better which leads to lots of innovation.

However with NASA you get asked to stop meteors from destroying the Earth, solve the mysteries of the universe, or just plain old get this guy's ass to Mars. Those are clearly the right questions to ask and usually lead to the discovery of many problems. That's also not o mention that it can also solve a lot of those same problems you would seen before but with much more motivation behind it. "Fix this $2 billion instrument in space", "Make this cheaper, faster, and cleaner or it won't reach Mars", or "Find a better way to do this only using resources found on the Moon".

#43 Edited by audioBusting (1305 posts) -

I remember hearing Neil DeGrasse Tyson on a podcast saying that they detected a big-ass meteor in outer space that might crash into the ocean in a few decades. I don't personally care much, but it's probably important they stay funded just in case. Also the outer space is cool.

#44 Posted by Blu3V3nom07 (4030 posts) -

We gotta take stock photos, from the moon, to pwn in muh CoD, dawg!

Teabag that Venus.

#45 Posted by SlashDance (1758 posts) -

I want to be alive when we find extraterrestrial life. We're so fucking close, I will be bummed if I don't live to see it.

Give Nasa all the money.

#46 Posted by PenguinDust (12414 posts) -

I was born about a month after Armstrong and Aldrin went for a stroll on the moon. I still believe it is the most significant accomplishment in human history above written language and agriculture, but these days I'm not so certain we should be looking to the government to keep the dreams of space alive. As we progress through the 21st Century, I really expect private business to make the biggest breakthroughs and develop the tools needed to take mankind to the stars. Don't get me wrong, government funded space exploration still needs to exist, but it won't be as vital as it was last century. NASA and similar organizations across the globe will pick up the slack for all the crap science that isn't sexy or profitable. If you want to know if ants can be trained to sort tiny screws in space, NASA is where you go. If you want to see attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion and c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate then book a flight on Virgin Galactic.

#47 Posted by katimanic (84 posts) -

It is so unimportant to me that I rarely think about it. I think space travel in SciFi is pretty cool but in real life it is a waste of money.

There are so much many better ways that money can be spent.

#48 Posted by Pr1mus (3520 posts) -

I guess it'd be nice to know if there's a big rock heading our way to kill us and that we are able to do more about it than just dying.

#49 Edited by edwardt (62 posts) -

At this point in time there's nothing much to be gained by actually sending manned spacecraft. Most experiments can be carried out by robots and data sent back to Earth. Plus you only have to send the payload there so theres no extra weight from the fuel you need to come back let alone the shuttle/craft. Manned missions are more of a political statement than a scientific need.

#50 Edited by Fredchuckdave (4484 posts) -

It's a nice thing, but completely and utterly meaningless aside from satellites for the time being, obviously in the future space exploration will become extremely important but for the time being there is little to be gained in so doing (though that's not to say something couldn't randomly happen to change that at any time). When the whole world is either unified or divided into a handful of economic groups like the EU is when it makes more financial sense for those large conglomerates to start extensive astronomy projects.