Friday, August 24, 2012

Penny4NASA Dare Mighty Things

NASA slated to receive .48 % of the National Budget, Lets round that up to 1.00%!

Pennies for NASA is a NASA advocacy site for just that purpose! Please visit this site (once you have finished reading the article below of course) and sign their petition...but why you might ask?

Pre-Micro Computer
Ok, exactly why should we spend more money on NASA?  Do we really need to send more probes, satellites, or people in to space?  The answer is YES!  Digital Imagery, Micro Computing, CAT Scans, Solar Power, Light Emitting Diodes, Improved Radial Tires, are all technologies that have either been created or improved upon due to NASA's influence.  For every 1 dollar we as taxpayers spend on NASA 10 dollars are returned to our economy because of new technologies or techniques are developed by NASA and employed by our industries.  This opens new markets and creates new jobs.

NASA Budget % of Nat'l Budget
We have been enjoying global technological dominance due in great part to the advancements made by NASA and employed by creative individuals who have established new companies and even new sectors of industry. There is even a section of NASA's website devoted to so-called NASA Spin-offs showcasing the technology stemming from various NASA missions.  

We hear politicians and news commentators warning of the upcoming Chinese influence in world markets as their economy grows and will eclipse ours as the largest in the world.    The only way that the US economy can stay within grasp of the staggering increase seen in China is through pure science public research and development.  For every 1 US citizen there are 4 PRC citizens, so it stands to reason their economy will continue to rise as their population continues shifting toward an industrial and mechanized labor force.  China will continue to see organic growth numbers similar to those the US saw during the industrial revolution or greater.

I am not anti-China or anti-chinese, I am pro-Homo Sapiens.  If we are unable to progress to the point at which we are able to navigate our own small solar system with ease, how are we going to find methods to reliably travel to other stars?  And if we do not travel beyond our own Sol we will find out species at an abrupt end in another 5 billion years.  Granted 5 billion years is a long time, but our own rock, Terra, is already 4.5 billion years old.  We are not just in space research to learn, we are quite literally in it for the survival of the species.

21 Lutetia
My final argument for spending additional money on NASA is that we are on the cusp of the next extreme technological advance.  We are on the precipice of the sea of knowledge.  We are standing on the very edge of eternity looking out at what we should be touching.  We are the great voyeurs.  Peering at places like Titan, Enceladus, or 21 Lutetia though our peephole.  These are places where we should be walking...touching...experiencing.  We must step up to the task, we must explore, and learn and seek out new resources and new horizons.
Water Jets from Enceladus

So whether you take the economic viewpoint and want to see new technologies and new jobs,  or you want the US to remain world's largest economy, or finally if we want to continue and become a truly great species, rather than one that has been measured by natural selection and found wanting.  Do your part, encourage congress to act, encourage the President to act.  Let them know you will vote for them on the basis for which they support scientific research.

I'll end with this.  Millions of people (myself included) had the privileged to watch the happenings at JPL while Curiosity made her touch down successfully.  And all of us saw as the first thumbnail images came back.

Let us go forward and Dare Mighty Things


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