Friday, January 15, 2010

50% of Americans Want to Cut Space Exploration

Unless you live in a cave (with Internet access), you know there is a recession going on. Unemployment is hovering around 10% with almost 17% fewer people in the work force than there were 5 years ago. Americans are generally in a financial pinch. Couple that with the fact that it's not cheap to explore space. So far humanity has relied on large governmental agencies to do it for the simple reason that it costs a lot and doesn't offer any immediate return on investment. In the long term I believe space exploration will pay for itself millions of times over, but we as a society tend to be a little impatient.

How impatient? A new poll from Rassumen shows that 50% of Americans believe we should cut funding to NASA in the current economic climate while only 31% disagree. Interestingly, the poll shows that men support funding NASA more than women, and that support for cutting funding is strongest among people ages 18-29.

The good news, for those of us that get funded by NASA, is that despite NASA's lack of popularity President Obama has requested a 15% increase in NASA's budget in order to keep NASA's science program on track and keep the manned spaceflight program from grinding to a halt until the shuttle's replacement comes online.


  1. I just heard a talk yesterday by another NASA official who said the only upcoming satellite missions that are "safe" are the James Webb Telescope and LISA.

    A lot will depend on if the NASA administrator says true to his work of not funding the human space program out of the hide of basic science. If this holds there should be more satellites.

    He also says NASA is trying to really push ground based experiments over the next decade as they are cheaper.

    Personally, I can't complain if NASA gets budget increases. :) Keeps me employed.

  2. Joe,

    I assume that those are the only astrophysics missions that are safe, because I'm relatively certain that in planetary science and heliophysics there are several missions that are "safe", including the upcoming mission to the moon LADEE, the Mars Science Lab, the Juno mission to Jupiter, the upcoming Radiation Belt Storm Probe mission, and the creatively named Solar Probe Plus which will actually fly through the outer corona of the sun.

    That being said, if there are budget shortfalls, and at this point its hard to see a situation where there won't be in the next several years, I'm afraid that some of the astro budget might take a hit. I know several people who are very nervous about large astro missions like IXO and even LISA if the economy doesn't improve. If we're going to keep pushing for the Moon and eventually Mars the planetary and helio missions tie into that much better than the astro missions for the most part.

  3. One more mission that I forgot - GRAIL which will map the gravity field of the moon to some ridiculous level of precision.

  4. I did read something about a football manager who is earning almost 120 000 Dollars per month, and if we look at how this sport is useful for the existence of our society I find it chocking. And it is chocking according to this that the people attacks some researches.


To add a link to text:
<a href="URL">Text</a>