I am writing this blog in response to Ana’s comment on my entry, “Why does no one care about astronauts anymore?” First, I would like to make it clear that I was not proposing for NASA to receive any additional funding, I was just making the point we should pay more attention to them. I am proposing that the American public give NASA and the impressive things the astronauts accomplish the attention they deserve.
Ana wrote that (in her opinion) space exploration is one of the “two biggest wastes of money” (the second being underwater exploration). I completely disagree. There is a lot to learn from space exploration and a lot of great inventions that we enjoy everyday thanks to NASA.
NASA has brought us great things. Water filters came from NASA, because the astronaut’s water needed to be purified. The material that scratch resistant glasses are made from was first developed as a special coating for the astronaut’s helmet visors. Memory foam, which is used in Tempurpedic mattresses, was created for the seats on the space shuttle, to absorb some of the impact upon landing. Shoe insoles were first developed for astronaut’s moon boots, and cordless tools were considerably improved by NASA so the astronauts could fix the shuttle if needed, while in outer space. There are many other inventions and improvements made to our everyday lives because of the space program. This is in addition to all the information that is gathered about our solar system. In my opinion space exploration is definitely not a waste of money.
Another part of the comment that stood out to me was when the writer expressed her hope “that they (astronauts) become unpopular enough to shut down NASA completely.” This statement shocked and saddened me. I can not understand why someone would wish for the failure of an organization. Plus, I unpopularity will not end NASA. There are many government organizations that receive lots of funding that are so unpopular most people have never heard of them.
Another point I disagree with is that there is “not much to gain from going to outer space.” Not only does it facilitate the invention of all the previously mentioned materials, but space exploration has the ability to unite the country. The mission to the moon sparked patriotism and a sense of community throughout the nation.
Finally, the argument that “it is too lonely to be without the people you love for long periods of time” is not a good reason to shut down NASA. The missions are about two weeks long. This is considerably less time then the average tour of duty. If missing the astronauts was a good enough reason to end the program, then the department of defense would have to shut down too.
I still want space exploration to make a come back. People take the space program and its inventions and discoveries for granted. It is time we give them the credit and attention they have earned. Even though some may disagree, I think NASA deserves recognition for all it has accomplished and support for its future missions.