American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson spoke to the University of Buffalo last Wednesday about What NASA Means to America’s Future. Tyson fully supports NASA funding, in fact he believes NASA is underfunded, and he discusses his worries about the Obama administration’s proposed NASA budget. He believes that LEO is no longer a space frontier and that the proposed budget does little to move us beyond it. Sarcastically, he comments that the budget implies
“we’re not going to the moon anymore, maybe we’ll go to Mars one day, I don’t know when, but let’s work on some technology that might enable that one day…”
Tyson thinks the lack of a solid plan for NASA to journey past LEO means that America has “no force operating on the educational pipeline of America”, which means there is a lack of investment (NASA costs just half a penny on the dollar) to bring about the next generation of American technology that could maintain our technological leadership. He points out that our nation has taken NASA (and science and technology in general) for granted and that everyone thinks they can “put a bandaid on one problem or another”.
“Nobody is dreaming about tomorrow anymore. NASA knows how to dream about tomorrow, if the funding can accommodate it…”