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Joshua Ray
Professor Suddreth
English 2010
October 8, 2014
I Believe in NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) holds all the keys to the
progression of humanity as a species, yet the doors these keys unlock are kept out of reach by the
lack of funding by the United States government. I believe that if we as a species are going to
continue to survive long into the future and reach our destiny in the stars, funding for NASA by
the United States government must increase substantially.
During the 1960s the United States of America and the Soviet Union were in a period of
Cold War. Both countries set out to prove they were better than the other in any way they could.
This goal of national prestige led to a race to the moon known as the space race. During this time
NASA received 4.5% of the United States national budget. I believe that it was this percentage
of the budget that led to the United States winning the space race a becoming the first country to
reach the moon.
For decades passed the lunar landing the United States has led the world in science and
space exploration. But that record is quickly beginning to fade. This is because of the lack of
funding by the government. NASA is still the leader of the pack, but its momentum has slowed
while other space agencies are accelerating. In the relatively short term, NASA will launch the
James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) in 2018, a large-scale, multibillion-dollar observatory to
study the infrared universe. The European Space Agency (ESA), meanwhile, has a plan in its
budget profile for three large-scale missions extending out two decades from now (Kruesi).
This difference in budget planning is mostly caused by the low amount of money given to
NASA by the United States. This has caused the upwards momentum of NASAs progression to
decline significantly.

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When the recent economic recession hit, NASAs budget was wounded but that was only one of
the major factors of the drop in NASA-led projects. By studying the space agencys budget over
its history of 55-years a downward trend is present. The only way for NASA to keep up is by
collaborating with other agencies across the world (Kruesi).
I believe that because of gthe budget cuts and the effects of the recession and the lack of
desire by the people of the United States, NASA is no longer able to reach the potential that they
have and this has led to their need to rely on other sources to complete missions they could easily
do by themselves with the proper funding.
2007 saw the signing of an agreement between ESA and NASA to cooperate on largescale missions they will develop in the future. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
was also included with ESA and NASA in the planning of the International X-ray Observatory
(IXO), designed to study the cosmos (Kruesi).
Not only is the entire administration underfunded, NASA has to cut other projects to fund
what they feel are the most important ones.
A NASA proposal to spread the cost overruns for the James Webb Space Telescope
among all of its divisions is going over like a lead balloon among at least some researchers, who
are concerned that sharing the telescope's costs will imperil funding for their projects, according
to Nature (Chaimberlain).
I feel that this need to prioritize missions and projects greatly hinders the potential progression of
NASA and humanity as a whole. Without being able to adequately fund a majority of their
projects, NASA will never be able to take us into the stars and into the next step of human
I also feel that because of the lack of and unpredictable budget for NASA, those who plan
the costs of missions are unable to adequately judge the amounts necessary to achieve success
for the administration.
NASA's failure to adequately define requirements and quantify the resources needed to
meet those requirements has resulted in some projects costing more, taking longer, and achieving

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less than originally planned (Li). I believe that these failures are caused not by the lack of
intelligence of those dealing with the budget; its the lack of funding they have to deal with.
The lack of interest by society I feel places a monumental role in deciding what amount
of the national budget goes to NASA. Almost everyone feels that national security is important,
leading to a 55% of the national budget going to military. A very small amount of people feel that
science and space study and exploration is very important leading to half of one percent of the
national budget going to NASA. NASA has had a mission known as the Asteroid Redirect
Mission planned for some time now. The goal of the mission is to grab a huge asteroid and
transport it to the moon within a decade. The two plans they have come up with are incredibly
fantastic. One plan would snare an asteroid with a huge inflatable bag. The second plan would
send a robot to grab a golf care sized boulder off an even bigger rock. NASA believes that the
mission would prepare humanity for a potential trip to Mars. Former NASA astronaut Tom
Jones, who studied the feasibility of the mission says, We would have access to a completely
new alien body that no one had ever touched or seen. He also believes that astronauts might be
able to mine the rock for resources. This way there would be no reliance on supplies from Earth
for deep space voyages. There are many who are not convinced that the Asteroid Redirect
Mission (ARM) would bring humanity any closer to the Red Planet (Rosen).
I strongly believe that because of those with no knowledge about space and those without
any information about the mission NASA has planned are not convinced that the plan brings us
closer to the Red Planet; the United States government is unwilling to increase the funding for
NASA because of the many ignorant people.
Because of the lack of funding NASA has also had to discontinue many of its most
prestigious projects, such as the space shuttle project. This has left American astronauts without
any American way to reach the International Space Station (ISS) and all American astronauts
have had to use Russian space crafts to reach the station. The spacecraft used is the Soyuz

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spacecraft. It is very different from the space-shuttle, with no legitimate cockpit with a
windshield and heads-up display and no couches to sit and fly the spacecraft from. The Soyuz is
often described as a hamster ball. It has three small seats where the occupants sit shoulder to
shoulder with their knees in their chests. The commander cant even reach the controls without
assistance of a conductors baton with a rubber tip (Kluger).
The American space program has arrived at a perilous place. Ever since the last shuttle flew in
the summer of 2011, NASA has had no way to get crews to the International Space Station
(ISS)--which, despite the International in its name, is overwhelmingly a NASA-built machine -without hitching a ride aboard the Soyuz (Kluger).
I agree that the American space program has arrived at a perilous place. We rely on other
countries to help us reach the things we did most of the work in creating. I believe that without
the proper funding from the United States government NASA and the United States will continue
to sit in the shadows and leech off of what other countries better funded agencies are able to
accomplish. This is a very disturbing situation which I feel can only be solved by the United
States government increasing the funding for NASA substantially.

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Works Cited
Chamberlain, Kenneth. "NASA Telescope Funding Plan Not Supported by All." National Journal
09 Sept. 2011: 4. Regional Business News. Web. 8 Oct. 2014.
Kluger, Jeffrey. "Going It Alone." Time 183.24 (2014): 40. Middle Search Plus. Web. 8 Oct.
Kruesi, Liz. "Has NASA, Lost Its Edge?." Astronomy 42.9 (2014): 32. MasterFILE Premier.
Web. 8 Oct.
Li, Allen. "NASA's Space Vision: Business Case For Prometheus 1 Needed To Ensure
Match Available Resources: GAO-05-242." GAO Reports (2005): 1. MasterFILE
Premier. Web.
8 Oct. 2014.
Rosen, Meghan. "A Rocky Road To Mars. (Cover Story)." Science News 186.4 (2014): 22-27.
Source - Consumer Edition. Web. 8 Oct. 2014.