After being in business for thirty years NASA has finally sailed its last ship as of July 8, 2011. Now I don’t mean to be a party-pooper but NASA what have you done for me lately? In my twenty-four years of living there are only a couple instances where I was reminded that there is a government agency that specializes in the research and exploration of outer space. I have Hollywood to thank for that and the weather man who was reporting last week. Personally I don’t believe that the research NASA has done and the missions they have completed over the past thirty years have any effect on my life, which would include my education, employment and financial situation. Yet NASA has contributed a wealth of information that other agencies could not match.
Though this would be NASA’s last mission, the launch of the space shuttle Atlantis did not receive as much press as I thought it would have. Two main headlines in the media were pertaining to a delay in the launch due to weather conditions and the more obvious reason being the last shuttle launch for a long time. Television stations had live feed of the launch as well as many websites and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. NASA has their own Twitter account which is updated constantly by employees at NASA. The astronauts have cameras and laptops on board that they use to communicate with the space station, who then keeps the viewers up to date through tweets.
Group pages dedicated to NASA had comments from users about the launch of Atlantis. The consensus is that people seem to be disappointed that the NASA program is ending and hope that it will return soon. Other comments praised the accomplishments of NASA, still no negative commentary. Does the fact that there is no negativity, arguments or disagreement in reference to ending the NASA program mean Americans don’t care what the outcome of NASA really is? If this is true then I am not alone in my feeling that NASA is in a way useless to our needs.
The knowledge that is gained doesn’t have a substantial effect on the country, so I believe that we can do without NASA. The government is pouring billions of dollars, our tax dollars, each year into the NASA program to fund the research and exploration missions. But how do we benefit from NASA? The answer is we really don’t. In the past thirty years NASA has not found anything that has extremely changed our way of living here on Earth. I view NASA more as an after-school science club; they conduct research and experiments for their own personal advancement and that of their “club.” NASA is something of interest but it is not a necessity.
With the current economic state of our country the government should be more conscious of where funding is granted. This financial crisis though came as no surprise as it was apparent back in 2008 that we had hit a recession. If the government was willing to end NASA funding and terminate the program, why wait until three years later to do so. All the money that was spent on research leading up to last week’s launch could have been given to a much more needy organization, such as, rebuilding the disaster left by Hurricane Katrina or increasing job wages.