Isabel S. Minnesota

Supporting Space Exploration

The U.S. government should add more funding to NASA and space exploration because of the numerous benefits it produces for our government, the American people, and the world.

Dear Future President,

By adding more funding to NASA and space exploration in general, the programs would be able to create more technology, enlighten more minds, and unearth more discoveries. As Neil deGrasse Tyson explains in The Atlantic article, Neil deGrasse Tyson: How Space Exploration Can Make America Great Again, “Give NASA the money it needs ... and the agency will stimulate the economy and inspire students to pursue innovative, ambitious projects”. The U.S. government needs to allocate more money to NASA for space exploration.

Although the benefits of space explorations are numerous, many people have doubts about using taxpayer money to fund it. However, most are unaware, firstly, that only ½ a cent on each dollar of taxes goes to NASA, according to Neil deGrasse Tyson. Secondly, that “each dollar of NASA spending is a catalyst for $10 of economic benefit.” according to The Balance article NASA budget: Current Funding and History. What this means is that of the money allocated to NASA by the U.S. government, 10 times that amount is returned to the economy, mostly through “commercial goods and services created by companies related to space technology”.

Some may wonder how that is even possible? What brilliant innovations or developments could space scientists be coming up with that cause so much economic and innovative growth? According to NASA’s website about space spinoff technology, their research has led to the invention of everyday items such as memory foam, cell phone cameras, and more advanced coffee makers. It has also led to more profound discoveries such as contributions to osteoporosis treatments, cost-saving developments for solar cells, and recycling technology that converts plastic waste to energy.

Other intangible benefits that funding NASA offers are, for example, the ability to further understand our universe and place in it, the inspiration of young students to reach for the stars and set high goals, the dedication of older generations to the advancement of the human race, and the understanding that there is always more to discover.

The question now may be, well why don’t we just keep the budget the same if NASA is already achieving these great things? My answer to this question would be because NASA still has so much more it could do! With more funding, NASA could provide thousands of more jobs and additional space exploration. As Neil deGrasse Tyson has written, if the government were to double the ½ cent contribution to a whole cent it “would be enough to have a real Mars mission in the near future”.

Space exploration clearly has a multitude of benefits to it and inspires many aspiring scientists like me. Whenever I have the chance to meet with scientists their enthusiasm always moves me. They are truly interested and invested in what they are doing, and I want to be able to have that in my career. However, throughout my life I have seen budgets for missions and projects that captivated me shrink or disappear. That worries me. Shouldn’t science, innovation and the technical fields that elevate us as a nation be protected, supported and relied upon? Without revolutionary ideas and motivated citizens what can truly set us apart as a great nation?

With that I’ll leave it with one last Neil deGrasse Tyson quote: “Once [we] recognize that a healthy moving frontier in space stimulates the kind of mindset that fosters innovations in science and technology, then [we]'ll realize that of course we need to go in space because that's just the kind of society you'll want to live in.”

Best regards,

Isabel Sander

Grade 11

Mendota Heights, MN

Henry Sibley High School


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