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What do Americans think of NASA and the Space Program? Should it be expanded or eliminated?

This question is not for professionals (not employed by NASA or the space program).

  • Feb 25 2013: I wonder how many of you are Science Fiction readers? Is the older generation or newer generation more passionate about Space (I'm almost 69)?

    I remember IGY from the 50's. I remember the beginnings of the Space Age when our rockets always seemed to blow up on the launch pad. I remember the satisfaction when America landed on the Moon. I can still get the chills when I view the video of that landing. I remember holding my breath and crossing everything I could cross until set down (thanks Eagle, you've got a lot of people about to turn blue, we're breathing again). I can remember the disappointment when the video camera became useless on Apollo 12. But I think my proudest moment was Apollo 13 when against all odds Lovell, Haise and Swigart made it back safely. Seeing Alan Shepard tee off, David Scott doing the falling object test, seeing the Astronauts hoping across the ground probably having the time of their life, and the Hot Rodders from 15, 16 and 17, burning 'rubber' on the moon. Lastly the videos of the Lunar Lander blasting off to rejoin their comrade in lunar orbit.

    Then, KABOOM, the whole thing hit rock bottom...NO MORE MOON LANDINGS, APOLLO HAS BEEN POLEAXED, stabbed in the back by, I don't know who!! I still believe if all the Apollo launchings were made, we would have bases on the moon and even landings on Mars! I'm still fuming...there goes my chance to journey into Space during my lifetime!

    Now what do we have, the Space Station? Werner von Braun would be appalled! It's a good thing our robotic probes are keeping the fires burning...I was in Pasadena, CA when Voyager approached Neptune (what a ride that was).

    I hope I didn't go off the path but, so be it. I'm glad I 'DISCOVERED' this website and to be able to find out from other 'Space Nuts' (or not) what they think! I don't know if it's smart but I would like to give you my email Live Long & Prosper!!!
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    Feb 25 2013: When the government creates, great things happen. And when the government manages stagnation happens.

    When the government create NASA and it was creating new discoveries, is was great for the country. But currently NASA is not creating, and is stagnating the nation.
    Now if it was creating something like a high-speed data connection to the moon so the private sector could have mining, harvesting, explorer, and construction robots/drones on the moon, when great things would happen once again.
  • Feb 24 2013: NASA could, potentially, save the human species. Sooner or later the Earth will become uninhabitable. This could happen in a number of ways, two examples would be a global ice age and an asteroid impact. Finding a new home for the human species would be a worthwhile objective for NASA that the whole world could support.
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    Gail .

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    Feb 24 2013: I agree with Kate. We should fix our problems before we infect outer space with our mental/social illness. When we have done that, I don't have a problem. I do LOVE the Hubble telescope though. We wouldn't have had that without space exploration. But for now, I see it NASA as a distraction from VERY IMPORTANT work that needs to be done here on earth. Because of that, it's a waste of money.
  • Feb 24 2013: One can either dream of such things or not. Npt everything that is important to our dreams, thoughts, and survival of the species yields immediate returns. We only know for sure of one place in the
    Universe with intgelligent life. The environment here is not getting any better.
  • Feb 24 2013: I think NASA budget could be kept the same or little expanded and at the same time government should help with loans and some grants to private space industry. We need new sources of materials and with that new jobs for our economy. At the same time research will delivery new inventions that help our economy grow.
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    • Feb 24 2013: Space exploration brings many inventions to humanity and good economic return. It also creates a huge motivator for young people to get into engineering professions and to be inspired by achievements of NASA.

      I think if we want to fix our own backyard, e.g. US should avoid waging unnecessarily wars like war in Iraq which cost close to 1 trillion which is 1,000 billions compare to NASA's 15 billion. Other huge savings or fixes in our own backyard includes taxes that companies avoid paying, again estimated close to 1,000 billion dollars and so on.

      Nowadays modern economies are growing due to research and development, for which NASA is one important part.
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        • Feb 24 2013: No personally I didn't thou I would love to! I do know people that work for a company that helps with NASA projects.

          In terms of what NASA "returns" back to the economy, beside intangibles like inspiration, leadership etc., here is a list of some of the direct inventions:

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        Feb 24 2013: Very useful link, Zdenek.
    • Feb 25 2013: Dear Kate, as I enter the winter of my life, dreams is all I have, I can't afford anything else! I'm lucky to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time (just kidding, at 69 I still enjoy shooting baskets in my neighbor's back yard). And I agree about fixing the backyard and it's time the world grew up and learned to work together for the common good! After all, charity begins at home...Live Long & Prosper!!!
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    Feb 23 2013: Here is one lead for you:

    And another:

    If I were guessing (as I don't tend to hear people discuss this in daily life), I'd say that a large proportion of Americans love to think about the universe, to hear videos about and read about the universe, string theory, extra dimensions, quantum physics, and so forth and that these subjects get a huge amount of attention in the entertainment sector, including television and online sources. There is quite an appetite within the lay public for information about space and the universe.

    On the other hand, there are plenty of people who are struggling economically or with empathy toward those who are who would prioritize resources for addressing basic human needs.