This Week’s Mtg: The Future Of Space Exploration

NASA and the U.S. space program face a rocky future.  In the short-term, the agency’s budget is a prime target for budget cutting, and it already was cut last year.  Further reductions are a certainty, as NASA is part of that “domestic discretionary” slice of the budget that Republicans love to slash.  While non-defense domestic discretionary spending amounts to 15% of the federal budget, as this interactive chart shows, the portion spent on space flight, research, and supporting activities is less than ½ of 1% of the total budget, about $30 billion per year.  NASA spends about 2/3 of that  $30b.  This may not be much compared to the $700b+ spent on Social security or defense, but it will remain a target.

Beyond budget cutting, NASA and the U.S. space program face a host of other issues and uncertainties, not the least of which is stalled public support for their mission.  I’ll open the meeting on Thursday by briefly listing what NASA does and its plans for the future.  Then I’ll list a few of the big dilemmas facing our space program, beyond just the budget axe.
Then, I’ll open it up to Ron, whose idea this was.


I sent a press release announcing this meeting to several local scientific organizations.  Maybe someone will come and join the discussion.


One response

  1. While I’m not against space exploration, I believe that our limited resources should first be directed to the many challenges we face back here on Earth. Mass unemployment, poverty, getting out of 2 wars, starvation in the World, etc., are just a few issues…among many… we should be addressing.

    We could redirect our resources to these issues if we just had the courage to take two actions: Get out of Afghanistan & Iraq…and Cut the defense budget by one third!

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