Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Taking a breather in the space race

Dennis Miller suggests that perhaps we should rethink our current space program. While I'm certainly not in favor of scrapping NASA, I think he does have a point here.

NASA's buget for 2004 is $15.47 billion. Manned space flight is very expensive, and it doesn't carry the same emotional excitement that it once did. We aren't even trying to put a man on Mars anymore, because most research can be done using unmanned spacecraft, at a fraction of the cost of manned missions. And what does require the personal touch, is it really cost-efficient?

Without a rival in the space race, NASA currently serves as a massive, expensive research lab. And I think Miller has a point that a lot of that money could be better served if it were put directly toward developing technologies that will help us here on the ground. We don't need to end NASA, or even suspend it, but $5-10 billion a year could do a lot more good than it's doing now.


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