A worthy goal for the world's greatest nation.
Yes, thats about the size of it - nothing. No goal.
We started working on climbing out of our cradle over half a century ago, barely got to the moon, then stalled out.
Since the last Apollo mission in December 1972, there's been a half hearted attempt at setting up a basic
orbital infrastructure which also stalled and a small scale space probe & lander operation.
Embarrassingly, even before the Space Shuttle program ended, we have been hitching a ride aboard the spacecraft
of our destitute rival to get to a single space station that we can't even claim as all our own.
It isn't NASA's fault!
NASA's budget for 2017 is a paltry 19 billion dollars - about 1/10 of 1% of our gross domestic product. That's
less than half of what we will spend on cosmetics and 1/30th of the Pentagon's budget.
An alien observer back in the '60's would have gotten the impression we were on our way, enthusiastic and full
of energy, hell bent on colonizing the moon and sure to be on Mars in no time.
Better put up the welcome banner!
Then around 1990, they'd be wondering 'what happened, where are they?' They'd look in and learn of the
Challenger disaster, figure we needed time to recover. Then 20 years later find we had another stupid
crash and had shut the whole thing down! America is apparently more interested in looking pretty and
covering the land with shopping malls, cheaply made houses and roads full of expensive cars.
But I don't think it's our fault either. Not us, the ordinary citizens.
We have just about zero say in where all the money goes, beyond the amount we have left after paying the bills.
The money we pay in taxes is carelessly tossed around with no regard to our wishes. The rules written to
regulate the economy are clearly designed to keep money flowing upward as fast as possible whether it helps
or hurts the nation. Our 'leaders' can hardly take the effect of their past decisions on the present into account,
let alone today's decisions on the future.
If we were given a vote on the distribution of funds, I believe 'establish bases on the Moon and Mars' would be
somewhat more popular than 'bigger yachts for billionaires'!
Think about all the money being sucked out of the GDP by the banks, Wall Street, insurance companies and all
the nearly invisible ways money is extracted from us. All the money hidden in the price of a tube of toothpaste
for example - advertizing, supply chain markup, liability insurance, outsized executive pay, etc.
Wouldn't you check the 'send half a penny to NASA for every dollar of the GDP' box on your next ballot?
As paltry as NASA's budget is, they are doing amazing things that benefit us all directly, advancing technology
in hundreds of fields that, for the layman, don't have an obvious connection to space travel. Just a cursory
look at some of the titles you will find at NASA Tech Briefs will give you a hint of the level of work going on.
That's what the leading edge looks like these days - much of it incomprehensible jargon, all of it sounding like
sifi to us cave dwellers. They are doing the basic R&D that most for-profit companies would never put any
serious money into, because, you know, what would the shareholders say?
Trickle down technology works. Trickle down economics does not.
This is a big part of my agenda. As President, I will get NASA back on the job of getting us into space, on other
planets and on our way to the stars. And because it's so important, I would make it as solid a part of our nation
as the military. Amend the Constitution if necessary! Can't have shortsighted future administrations shelving
stuff over the petty concerns of the day.
Who is JO 753?
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