Saturday, April 5, 2014

NASA: Is It Necessary?

Since 1958, NASA has received money annually to help accomplish its vision: to reach for new heights and reveal the unknown so as to benefit all of humankind.

Today, NASA’s budget is under the spotlight, as many people question if the money given to NASA is money well spent. Many people argue that it is a “ridiculous” amount of money that is given to NASA and believe it could be better used to alleviate problems here on Earth. For instance, an acquaintance said, “What is Mars going to do? It is a great discovery, but what does it matter? We should spend that money on education.” But is it really a “ridiculous” amount of money? $18 billion might sound like a lot of money, but by recognizing that the US annual budget is around $3 trillion, which means that NASA’s budget only takes 0.6% of US spending budget. Therefore, the next question is: is that money going to waste?

However, before you answer the question, have you thought about the importance of space exploration? The number of jobs NASA creates? The opportunity NASA creates for talented people to obtain useful information for humankind? Before looking into these questions, I too believed that the budget that was given to NASA every year was “ridiculous.” I was na├»ve. I thought that space exploration was unnecessary. I did not realize that NASA provides jobs to numerous of people. I did not realize that NASA’s projects offer useful information to mankind and expands our horizons more than anything else.

First, I learned that space exploration is necessary. Think about it. If we don’t take the chance in explore our universe, we will never know what is out there in the universe. What are our limits? Just like Columbus and Lewis and Clark, we should continue to take risks and discover our universe, just like they risked their lives to find the paths that took our species to every continent of the globe.

Second, according to NASA, the agency has ten field centers and seven test and research facilities locate in several states around the country. Thus, more than 18,000 people work for NASA, from astronauts to engineers to secretaries to writers. I personally never thought that NASA could employ more than 18,000 people.

Lastly, after reading an article that discusses 10 NASA inventions that we use every day, my opinion about NASA changed completely. Did you know that Water Filters were invented because astronauts needed a way to cleanse water they take up into space? NASA technology has contributed to many items used in everyday life, from invisible braces to shoe insoles. It’s insane!

NASA is responsible for science and technology related to air and space, yet NASA’s research impacts our lives, as the information obtain can make life better for people all over the world. Therefore, I believe that NASA is necessary and that the money given to NASA is money well spent; as NASA not only provides valuable technology to humankind, but it also explores what I believe is the final frontier, space.
Dalia Dorantes