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On @ The 90: It's Time to Dream Again

Video courtesy of Penny4NASA 

An old adage goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” We, as a society, have been indoctrinated into handing out fish. Slowly, but surely, we have been turned into a nation of freeloaders, food-stamps – and failure. NASA, the one agency that lights the fires of our imagination has been allowed to stagnate and wither under decades of neglect. A new movement is underway to halt this degradation – and it will only cost a penny. 

You can argue if you wish, but what you can’t deny is what Neil deGrasse Tyson states in this video – we’ve been on a downward slide in terms of space exploration since the end of the Apollo era. We’ve rewarded the amazing success that NASA gave us – with funding cuts that have caused the agency responsible to not just wither – but to be timid, afraid to be bold. Unwilling to do anything that might jeopardize its tenuous grasp on existence.

Video courtesy of Penny4NASA

There is a movement underway to get the train back onto the tracks, to reward NASA for all that it has given us – and it will only cost you a penny.

Penny4NASA is that effort and it is something that makes so much sense making it unbelievable that we have to fight for it. Why? Because, regardless of who you ask, the numbers are essentially the same as to how much out of every tax dollar goes to NASA – and those numbers are appalling. From the low-end it is four-tenth’s of a penny. The high end? Seven-tenth’s of one cent. The Penny4NASA campaign is striving to see that amount raised to one whole penny out of each dollar. Here is the way that it is described on the official Penny4NASA website:

Currently, NASA’s budget only represents about half of one penny of every dollar spent by the United States government annually. We are calling to have NASA’s budget increased to one penny on the dollar. That’s it, as crazy as that sounds, it is still only 1 penny of every dollar spent annually. As Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson says, “Right now, NASA’s annual budget is half a penny on your tax dollar. For twice that—a penny on a dollar—we can transform the country from a sullen, dispirited nation, weary of economic struggle, to one where it has reclaimed its 20th century birthright to dream of tomorrow.”

Video courtesy of The Bill Maher Show

Now, before the anti-NASA howler monkeys start screaming about how we shouldn’t spend money on space, that we should only spend money “on Earth.” That “too much” is spent on NASA as it is. NASA gets a paltry $18.7 billion a year. More money is spent annually on frozen pizza, cigarettes and porn. More money is spent on Valentine’s Day cards and candy. For the measly amount we do invest? We get the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope, the astronaut corps, all of the planetary probes and rovers – and all of the equipment is built here, on Earth – which helps us become a more technologically-advanced society. If we listen to the freeloaders, those seeking hand-outs and stop exploring so we can take care of those too lazy to take care of themselves – we will stop exploring. Every society that has gone down that road? Has withered, decayed and eventually collapsed.

Are we really willing to admit that we’d rather plunk down more on pizza, smokes and porn rather than our future? We as a nation, need to “man up” and give NASA the funding it needs. How much is the future worth to you? Do you really think you can buy a shining future on the cheap? $37 billion is the amount being sought for NASA’s annual budget – this is less than what Bernie Madoff swindled (estimated between $50 and $65 billion) investors out of, less than what is spent on gambling every year ($100 billion) less than what is spent on lottery tickets ($53 billion) and less than what we spend getting drunk annually ($57 billion). If we can’t look in the mirror and say, “We as a nation should spend more on our future than we spent on hooch, poker, lotto and getting scammed.” – then we deserve where we are going.

Video courtesy of SpaceKSCBlog

This On @ The 90 is more stringent, more angry and more blunt than perhaps any I’ve produced in the past, For the simple fact that America – is becoming a nation that used to explore. It is also the first without the usual lead image, it is uneeded and would only take away from the message. Penny4NASA shines a spotlight on this simple fact and seeks to reverse it. The videos here state “We’ve stopped dreaming.” They’re essentially correct. We have, in favor of entitlements and handouts we have given up on dreaming. If we’re wise, if we start thinking in the long term instead of the short term – we will support the efforts of Penny4NASA and turn our eyes to the skies, and our dreams, once again.

For more information, please visit: http://penny4nasa.org/

 

14 comments to On @ The 90: It’s Time to Dream Again

  • Karol

    JASON- I LOVE THIS ARTICLE!! The comparisons as to how much is spent on “frozen pizza cigarettes, and porn” in comparison to the NASA budget really drove home the message. You’re exactly right Jason, NASA is often viewed as a luxury, an unnecessary frivolous expenditure of funds that could be best used “on Earth” (not to mention that every dollar spent is spent here, on Earth, in the form of salary, equipment, etc.) If Apollo never happened and it’s funding was used elsewhere, would homelessness, poverty, poor education, crime, etc. have been eliminated? We don’t need the NASA-bashing “howler monkeys” and their tiresome, monotonous “privatize (eliminate) NASA” drivel, we need solid leadership to provide a clear-cut, achievable goal and adequate, stable, long-term funding with strict oversight. Bi-partisan, perhaps even international cooperation would also be nice, but we can’t have everything. Vague suggestions that maybe we’ll go to an asteroid someday if there is spare funding available, billionaires sending millionaires on subsidized sub-orbital joyrides, and space taxis delivering T-shirts and frozen pizzas to the ISS will not inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists that this country depends on. Nothing drives technological innovation like NASA. As Dr. Tyson states: “NASA is a force of nature, like none other.” Jason, PLEASE keep courageously speaking the truth, even though you are certain to be attacked in today’s very hostile, hateful political climate. There are many of us who stand with you and Dr. Tyson in the face of NASA-bashers and an all-to-often apathetic public who gleefully maintain “Who needs NASA when you have NASCAR!”

  • Ferris Valyn

    Question – How does the campaign (and AmericaSpace by extention) propose to fund this budget increase? Tax increase? Cutting the budget elsewhere?

  • Tracy

    NASA is not the answer….It must come from the private sector with free markets based on what the market can provide….SpaceX has proven that with over $4 B in new launch orders….When SpaceX implements reuseability then they will contract $ 4 T or trillion in new business…Governments Cannot legislate compassion…But by using free market solutions the market can provide for everyone!

  • Karol

    The private sector is not the answer. There was no profit to be had from Apollo, Viking, Phoenix, Pioneer, Voyager, Hubble etc. The “free market” demands profits for investors, and there is no profit in planetary science, so it certainly isn’t going to provide for everyone. Despite the worship of “The Muskssiah”, SpaceX, and Elon’s quest to go to Mars to save humanity, free market investors are not about to gamble on a mission to Mars, or much else in space exploration. How much did the “free market” invest in the Curiosity lander due to explore Mars in August? Does this mean that the mission should not have been undertaken? What does the private sector think of investment in space exploration? Daily Launch of the AIAA cites United Technologies in negotiations to sell Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne in part “because of the clouded future of space travel.” Drexel Hamilton analyst Richard Whittington “said that this is a time of unease for the nation’s space program” Serious investors are not about to risk their fortunes in light of such opinions by financial analysts who really know the economics of the issue. We need an adequately funded, supervised NASA, not Ayn Rand cheerleading and dreams of generous, compassionate profit-driven investors.

  • Borecrawler

    Right on! (Both the article and Karol’s post). This post is the best argument I have heard on why commercial space will not meet our exploration needs (and I got a good laugh from the term “Muskssiah”:)) I don’t know what our plan is to get NASA funded at a higher level, but count me in. You can raise my taxes .003 of a cent to get NASA to the one cent level. We, as a nation fund what is important to us. I honestly think NASA needs to do much more to raise public awareness of the importance of space, both for exploration and for living on Earth. With the current administration, however, this may be putting the cart before the horse. I keep saying it, but we need a grand vision that NASA can be proud to advertise, and that will only come with increased funding, not from the rantings of Rand Simberg. If we don’t get this increased funding, our space program will “brick” like a Tesla with a dead battery.

  • Tracy

    Perhaps you have not noticed but Government funding of everything is under extreme pressure to be transparent, effective and effecient.The current funding models do not achieve this and are mostly corrupt. Nobody really knows where the tax money goes as we are deficeit spending for everything…People will want to immigrate to Mars just as people came to America from Europe….They will pay or trade their way to the planet for the opportunity of a better life….Or just the opportunity to do things that cannot be done on earth…This will be acheieved by the private sector….Some of these people will be “employed” by governments doing research and science….The entire Space market is preparing for this as SpaceX has identified a path …Nobody wants to be left in the cold…Including Boeng and LockMart

  • Tracy

    Also…Remember SpaceX has about $1 Billion on total Hardware development cost ….That is a fraction of the cost NASA would spend for the same…NASA will be doing exploration from Private Transport….

  • Borecrawler

    SpaceX is cool and everything, but what if car production had stopped at the Model-T, because nobody wanted to pay for research or better cars? There are so many other space companies and ideas that need support to explore the universe. We musn’t put all of our eggs in one basket, or our hopes in one Elon-gated rocket. SpaceX isn’t necessarily the best; they are just the cheapest right now, and to a short sighted administration, that is attractive. They have had some noteworthy business accomplishments, but why are we settling for low cost, when we need to motivate America to explore the final frontier? I’m OK with SpaceX being part of that, but not OK with them being the all and only way (simply because they are cheaper).

    • Tracy

      I agree SpaceX is just the beginning….There will be many others….Also I think that after the current contract to the ISS is done, SpaceX will no longer need the NASA money as they will be in to high of demand by the private sector….

  • Karol

    Considering what was given up by Elliott See, Charles Bassett, the crew of Apollo 1, the crew of Challenger, and the crew of Columbia, and considering the pit bull on steroids reaction to the possibility of the average household giving up the equivalent of the cost of a can of soda to rejuvenate NASA and create a dynamic,exciting program of space exploration, . . . perhaps America does not deserve a space program worthy of our fallen heroes.

  • The answer to the funding of NASA is quite obvious to me: Licensing. If every product sold that incorporates technology developed by NASA had a licensing fee of 1¢ added by way of a license fee then NASA would become a nett contributor into the US Government coffers, after paying for any and all of it’s missions.

    People benefit both directly and indirectly from Space Exploration but generally do not understand how much of their daily lives is derived from spin-off products and technologies from NASA. It is probably too late now to retrospectively license these technologies, but a sharp reminder that without NASA our lives would be a lot less comfortable may help in the budgetary discussions…

    • Tracy

      Mike this is a great idea…But do not let the money go to the “general coffers” …use to fund science and R&D

  • Leonidas

    “When all you do is coast, eventually others catch you up and pass you by”

    The Case for Space isn’t about shinny silver rockets to satisfy some starry-eyed ‘space cadets’. It’s about thinking Big, and The Case for Space is a big part of that.

    ‘Shoot for the Moon.! Even if you fail, you will still find yourself riding among the stars!’

    If the US dosen’t realise this soon, maybe it ultimately deserves the downward-spiral path it has gotten into.