The United States has spent $601.31 billion on NASA since its inception. The total estimate is $1.32 trillion when adjusted for inflation, an average of $22.03 billion annually over its entire history. The budget for fiscal year 2020 for the National Aeronautic Space Administration is $21 billion. It is an increase of 1.4 percent compared to FY 2019(Amadeo). There is a steady increase over the years; these numbers will go further and further up. Though this seems like a lot of money this number is only 0.05% of the total U.S. Federal Tax Budget (Kerns). By encouraging public-private partnerships, the Trump administration plans to increase funding (Amadeo). There is much more than just going out to space and exploring. There are many things that happen in the background that must happen in order to even plan it. Space exploration should be funded because it creates millions of jobs, it boosts the economy, and it expands our knowledge and horizons.
There are many ways that the space industry has created many jobs. For example the solar panel industry alone employs 209,000 people. The solar panel industry is steadily increasing as it is more efficient and environmentally friendly than other sources. The space industry also hires tens of thousands of staff and contractors, NASA is liable for all the employment generated by its research and development. NASA does not work by themselves they partner up with many other industries to help them get materials and information. That means that everyone who works for those industries also contribute to the space industry (Kerns). NASA invested in 15 businesses and they got advantages of $1.5 billion in return. The workers in those businesses benefited from this investment and received recognition for not being a big well-known business, but still contributing (Amadeo). You want space exploration if you want employment (Kerns).
Another key point as to why space exploration should be funded is how it boosts our economy. A foundation report estimated that space-related activities contributed $180 billion in 2005 to the economy. That number has since then grew, which in terms contributes much more to our modern day economy. More than 60% of the $180 billion came from commercial products and services produced by space technology firms. NASA has developed 1,400 inventions since 1976, which subsequently became goods or services and even started Startup NASA (Amadeo). Startup NASA is a technology transfer program to help start-ups raise capital and secure intellectual property rights. This is a benefit that comes from funding the NASA program to help other companies that help the economy (Kerns). To add on to this $180 billion, every dollar spent by NASA is a catalyst for a financial advantage of $10 to the economy (Amadeo). The government has got $7 to $14 for every dollar spent as far as investing in NASA is concerned. Either way someone wins whether it’s the government or the economy (Kerns). There has never been a space programme that has not been a good economic stimulus (Tenison, Robin, and Bizony).
Space exploration expands our knowledge and horizons. As we go to space we are collecting samples and always finding new alien substances. These clues help us get more knowledge about what’s out there then just what is here on Earth. The 1958 Space Act calls for all research and technological development, not just astronauts, to benefit everyone (Kerns). Take the Hubble Space Telescope for example it helps us see the depths of space. We are learning everyday more and more about our own galaxy and thousands of others. NASA is currently planning a trip to mars that costs $2.4 billion, but it is worth it to see if it can one day be habitable to humans (Neville). Some people do not think it is really worth it to go out to space, because no piece of space can be claimed as a countries own (Progress in Human Geography). With this remark a lot of people ask themselves if there’s even a space race to begin with, because what is the prize? Space will always remain uncharted territory because there is always a certain limit we will reach as humans whether it is financial or physically. Others are worried about the samples from space contaminating our planet and causing unknown reactions to happen to our ecosystems and lives. If our planet did get contaminated by samples brought from space it could alter our ecosystems to a point of no return (Neville). There is no need for worry NASA is very careful and takes many precautions to protect us from these catastrophic situations. NASA is not going to risk everything they worked for after spending billions of dollars and hours on perfecting a single mission.
The money that is funded into space exploration could be used in numerous other ways. The annual budget for NASA in 2018 was $19.3 billion with all that money the U.S could send 1.94 million people to a public 4-year university. Also with that money the government could give 1.87 million people health care (Neville). Many people would argue that the money should be used on ourselves instead of an unknown void. There are many current problems happening on our own planet today. The government could be using the funded money to help work out the problem of climate change. The planet as a whole is witnessing climate change, famine, drought, warfare, and we are investing the necessary cash to fix these in space exploration. The government could be looking for ways of managing the planet’s resources in order to make how we live more sustainable (Tenison, Robin, and Bizony). Space exploration is actually helping these problems, because this planet is not everlasting with space exploration we can find new planets that are habitable. No one knows when we will have to leave this planet it may not be in the next 20 years, but it may happen soon.
Though all these problems are happening right now, space exploration is uniting us as a nation. The whole nation can get behind one major mission for one big end result. Space exploration has always brought us together as a nation since the July 20, 1969 mission to the moon. Everyone watched that mission live from their homes. The nation felt like they were all in it as one to get that spacecraft to the moon.
Billions of dollars have been invested in space research and it has achieved very little other than some improvement on technology that would’ve probably been improved anyways (Tenison, Robin, and Bizony). Many people think some of the inventions that were invented are useless. Take frozen foods for example or comfortable running shoes. Not everyone uses these goods everyday. NASA has also invented much technology that is used everyday like weather and communication satellites. That allowed ATM machines to provide an immediate satellite-based electronic response. It also allows GPS, developed for military applications by the Air Force. Many technologies that have been developed to explore space are now being used to increase crop yields or to find good fishing regions (Amadeo). However the truth is this, these technologies do help our everyday life whether we use them everyday or not. Everyone uses these goods at least once in their lives, especially if they are adults who need to cash their checks at the ATM. These inventions have also contributed to the medical field as NASA also invented kidney dialysis and CAT scanners to help astronauts, but it ended up benefiting the world also (Amadeo). These machines have saved many people’s lives or at least kept them alive long enough to live their life a little more.
These reasons should be more than enough reasons for the government to keep funding space exploration. Through just one organization millions of jobs are created, the economy is flourishing, and our knowledge of space is at its peak. Space exploration is such a small amount of the total U.S. Federal tax budget that it will not affect the government or our society. NASA has benefited the United States with tons of knowledge, and it has helped America get its place among the elite in space exploration. As humans we are always going to want more than just our standard knowledge. Humans have the kean instinct to explore what is unknown to us. Space is such an unusual and different place than what we know, so why not get to know it a little more. NASA will fund a supersonic X-plane and increase hypersonics research funding. It will also improve air traffic management systems and strengthen cybersecurity capabilities with the money we fund them (Amadeo). Space exploration helps us in many aspects that some people do not even have a clue about. NASA is not just one big organization it is many that come together as one to help us get the knowledge we need to survive and strive forward as a nation. This information broadens our horizons and makes our self surroundings much more clearer. With space exploration the skies are no longer the limit for the people of Earth.