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Arjun Patel
Connie S. Douglas
ENG 111-98
01 May 2016

The True Cost of Space Exploration

Space exploration funding is a debatable topic in the United States. Some


believe that the federal government should fund the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA) to help continue further their exploration of the universe. While
others favor to use tax dollars on different issues that may be more relevant at the time.
NASAs current budget is 17.77 billion USD, that amount accommodates for
0.48% of the whole federal budget of the United States (Penny4NASA). NASA is looking
to increase that number to one percent of the federal budget in order to help NASA
continue to contribute to society. Out of one United States citizens annual income,
about 10 dollars go to fund NASA and space exploration (McBrien). That is such a small
amount leading people to the belief that if it is such a small cost to the individual, they
do not need to cut the budget.
NASAs research and development deliver back to society on many forms. They
were the first to invent cell-phone cameras, artificial limbs, water filters, and many more
items we use on a daily basis (Spector). With the loss of funding that they have, it would

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be harder for them to put the money towards new inventions for space that could
eventually make their way in to homes and daily life. NASA has developed almost 1,800
pieces of technology that have eventually made their way to commercial use for
everyday society (Spector).
The cost of funding space exploration is on the rise (DeGroot). The concern is if
we continue to fund it and the cost keeps rising, more and more of United States tax
dollars will be funneled in to the space program. Some of this funding is continued to be
used in repetitive experiments involving zero gravity and weightlessness to see its
usefulness. After just a few experiments, there was realization that weightlessness
production is not worth the cost. If NASA continues to spend money like that example,
the money is not being put towards anything that helps society or further their
exploration.
Space colonization is starting to become one of NASAS top priorities and they
plan to have humans on mars by the mid-2030s (Daines). A topic that would have been
once considered science fiction by many is becoming a mere possibility for NASA. The
cost of this entire project would be about 500 billion USD (Daines). This money is not
only coming from the United States but also private companies and billionaires. Which
leads people to believe that NASA does not need to be funded by the federal
government if private companies and wealthy people are going to pay for the missions
themselves.
While NASA is a great program to have for the United States, it is a huge
organization with a large budget. The problem is that it does not produce any revenue to
sustain itself. This is why the government may seriously be considering privatizing the

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administration. This would lead to the 18,000 jobs at NASA that are funded by the
government to be transferred over to be paid for by corporations (Hudgins). While it is
still a possibility to create corporate funding, many corporations are not ready to do so
yet because there is currently not much short term profit for these companies
(DeGroot). In this manner, NASA has to provide incentive which they cannot due to
there being no profit through the studies and experiments that are and going to be
conducted for now and a little through the future.
Alien life is idolized in movies and television. It is considered sci-fi, but do people
believe NASA could actually find alien life on other planets? Astrophysicist Neil
deGrasse Tyson believes that life is not special only to earth. This is because the
chemicals required to make up human life are spread all around the galaxy (NASA).
Also earth is not the only planet that can sustain life making it highly unlikely that human
life is only special to earth. There is no solid evidence of this to date, but this is also
another mission of NASA to find life or at least evidence to prove that there is life. Only
after it is proven would the United States be more likely to fund NASA, but at the same
time they need this money to actually find evidence of other life in the galaxy.
Space exploration is an expensive cost. To some it is worth it due to the
possibility of creating new inventions, finding alien life, and even colonizing Mars. On
the other hand, you do have certain issues with the space program including funding,
privatization, revenue, and pointless projects. In the end, the United States gets to
decide whether NASA is worth the cost in the annual federal budget.

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Works Cited Page

Daines, Gary. "NASA's Journey to Mars." NASA. NASA, 01 Dec. 2014. Web. 01 May
2016.
DeGroot, Jerry. "The US Government Should Cut NASA Funding." Space Exploration.
Ed. David Haugen and Zack Lewis. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2012. At Issue.
Rpt. from "The Space Race Is a Pointless Waste of Money." Telegraph 25 Feb.
2009. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 01 May 2016.
Hudgins, Edward L. "Time to Privatize NASA." Cato Institute. Baltimore Sun, 26 Jan.
1998. Web. 01 May 2016.
Mcbrien, Michael. "Government Funding For NASA Should Not Be Reduced Yet." NU
Writing. NU Writing, n.d. Web. 01 May 2016.
Spector, Dina. "20 Everyday Things We Have Because Of NASA." Business Insider.
Business Insider, Inc, 07 Aug. 2012. Web. 01 May 2016.
"The Mission." Penny4NASA. Space Advocates, 2014. Web. 01 May 2016.
Tyson, Neil DeGrasse. "The Search for Life in the Universe." NASA. NASA, 30 June
2003. Web. 01 May 2016.