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April 21st, 2011
04:45 PM ET

Should U.S. space program be priority in budget crisis?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: NASA VIA GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Buried deep in the $38 billion 2011 fiscal budget bill - that one that was hastily passed by Congress before its spring break and hurried over to President Obama to sign - is a $3 billion provision for NASA to build a new rocket and space capsule. That’s $3 billion for a space ship. Wonderful.

While lawmakers fought for six months over nickels and dimes for programs such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Planned Parenthood and Pell Grants for college tuition, billions had been set aside for a space rocket. So much for all that big talk about cutting spending.

But this is nothing new, according to the political news website Politico. Lawmakers from states where NASA and the corporations typically awarded its contracts operate have long pushed for the continuation of space programs, even when they aren't exactly popular. These are states such as Alabama, Maryland, Texas and Utah.

Lawmakers from those states insist their support of projects like this one stems from the overall importance of the U.S. space program, and they say the value goes far beyond job creation in their own states.

But you've got to wonder how much value a trip to the moon can really provide when the growing debt problem is sinking this country to new lows.

Plus there's that old phrase, "Been there, done that."

Oh and those major U.S. companies such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin that stand to be awarded big-time contracts to build this rocket and space capsule? They probably have a little something to do with this.

Boeing reportedly spent about $18 million on lobbying last year, and its political action committee contributed more than $2.2 million in the last election cycle. Lockheed Martin spent about $16 million on lobbyists, and its PAC donated more than $3.5 million in 2009 and 2010.

You want to know who really runs the country?

Here’s my question to you: Should the U.S. space program be a priority during a budget crisis?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Lisa in San Jose, California:
Yes, the space program should be a priority. Money spent on the space program isn't spent in space; it is spent here on the ground and results in technologies that we can all use here at home. The benefits of NASA's research aren't always obvious up front, but in retrospect you can find a ton of useful technologies with origins in NASA's basic research. This is 'seed corn' for U.S. technological competitiveness; we need to invest in it.

Larry in Georgetown, Texas:
No, it should be cut. But what do I know? I wouldn't send $25 million that we don't have to Libyan rebels either but we are.

James Greenville, N.C.:
Let's forget about the U.S. space program and concentrate on the space between our ears and the space between what the government is spending and what we have in the bank. I truly believe our problems are a little closer to home than outer space.

Lori in Pennsylvania:
Our money would be better spent coming up with an affordable alternative to oil.

Cliff in Rego Park, New York:
Until NASA can show the advantage of manned flights over one-way space probes and satellites, most preferably with House Republican leadership as cargo, there are much bigger budget priorities here on Earth.

Don in Westport, Massachusetts:
Yes. We need to keep moving forward with the space program. It may save our lives one day when our planet just can't support us any more. The way we are going, that day does not seem to far away.

Greg in Arkansas:
Keeping the U.S. space program a priority during a national budget crisis is like me making my bass boat a priority if I were having a budget crisis at home. But it all depends on who gets to vote on what gets cut. Health care and food for the kids or a weekend on the lake? It's an easy guess which way my wife and kids would vote.


Filed under: Economy
soundoff (308 Responses)
  1. Lisa in San Jose

    Yes, the space program should be a priority.

    Money spent on the space program isn't spent in space, it is spent here on the ground and results in technologies that we can all use here at home.

    For example some of the data-compression used on the web now has its origins in NASA work to compress images radioed from planetary probes. The basic robotics work done for making space-rovers (and for making them radiation tolerant) contributed to the technology of the robots currently assisting the Japanese in the Fukushima plant. Studying the bone changes from living in low-gravity space stations lead to the insights that allow us now to have anti-osteoporosis drugs.

    The benefits of NASA's research aren't always obvious up front, but in retrospect you can find a ton of useful technologies with origins in NASA's basic research. This is 'seed corn' for US technological competitiveness; we need to invest in it.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  2. Paul Austin, Texas

    The space program does create jobs but being on the top of list when it comes to handing out the money in a budget crisis. They should be down the list close to funding like studies on do cows moo and how many times a day they do. Our troops in harms way should be the priority untell they are all back home which does not look like soon.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    Only if they are going to be looking for another planet for humans to destroy over time.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  4. Balboa from Huntsville, Alabama

    The U.S. Space Program is important and being from Huntsville, Alabama I know many who work at NASA. However I think that it is obvious that the United States will never visit every planet in the Universe. Congress should make budget cuts with NASA but Congress should make budget cuts equal in every area to be fair unto everyone.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  5. Eric

    Science, basic research and those other things which move forward our understanding of the world and universe we live in should always be a priority. With what is in the scheme of things small money, which no one else can or will do, we help make ourselves competitive and sometimes give us confidence and pride. Frankly there are few things which should have priority over that. Further on the spending side of our debt and budget crisis, we have only three or now possibly four things which we need to spend our time discussing. Everything else is at best a distraction.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  6. sean ensign1

    no it is not a priority. seeing they have not done anything significant in a long time they should cut a lot of there funding. it is too costly to have the space program and way too costly to send the shuttles up. this space program has been a disappointment for some time and now it is time for reality to set in.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  7. Lori - PA

    Jack,

    Our money would be better spent comming up with an affordable alternative to oil.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  8. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua

    Bread and circuses, Jack.

    "Man does not live by bread alone." (Jesus of Nazareth)

    You have to have the circus too. And quite apart from the entertainment value the space program produces benefits in scientific discoveries that are put to commercial use.

    Jobs and good for the soul.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  9. Pete in Georgia

    NO............it should not !!
    The outrageous cost of NASA and everything they do is long overdue for a permanent downsizing. You basically have 50 to 60 PHD scientists and or engineers creating the desire and budgets for a collection of "toys" and programs to stroke their egos and return to America a minimum of relevant scientific breakthroughs.
    The same costs could run the average country for a year.

    Enough.

    Cut it to the bone.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  10. Conor in Chicago

    Yes. The only thing that will permit the US to maintain its military supremecy over the Earth is the weaponization of space. China is in its infant stages of developing stealth fighters but will be quick studys and Russia is rearming to impose its will over Central Asia in the great resource game currently playing out world wide. Our economic and military power have always been married as one. You can't have one without the other-not when two vast oceans seperate you from the rest of the globe. So as much as people might bemoan that "We don't have money for it" and "We're broke" I remind them that if you want America to recover from its current economic ills we must fund the future and claim it for ourselves.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  11. Harold , ANCHORAGE, AK

    No,nor should exploration be abandoned. There should be an international effort funded by all nations.
    The idea that the U.S. should bear the fianancial burden and reap the glory died with the end of the cold war.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  12. james in greenville, nc

    Let's forget about the U.S. space program and concentrate on the space between our ears.............and the space between what the government is spending and what we got in the bank. I truly believe our problems are a little closer to home that outer space.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  13. Gerry

    While the space program has contributed to every area of science and technology not related to space its time to put the sacred cow on a budget. This is the time to say we can't afford to provide the funding that we have in the past and reduce it accordingly.

    Gerry
    Arizona

    April 21, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  14. Ed from California

    No! NASA's budget is minuscule, compared to what we spend on corporate welfare, each year! We all need a successful space program! How else am I going to escape this madness?!! A successful space launch..... that's how!!

    April 21, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  15. Ed in Harrisburg

    Jack, the space program is the one program that everyone in America is very proud of in terms of maintaining our science and technological edge in the world. Curtailing it would be a huge mistake. Cutting back is certainly a possibility, but to end it would take the wind out of the sails of a lot of national pride. It should remain a priority to unify our increasingly polarized country.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  16. Janne from NC

    It should be more of a priority than farm subsidies, oil subsidies or Wall Street Bailouts.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  17. maggieb

    Cut the space budget , it's over as far as I am concerned.

    Houston Texas

    April 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  18. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Yes, it should be, in the area of cut, cut, cut. But what do I know, I wouldn't send $25 million that we don't have to Lybian rebels either but we are.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  19. Rich McKinney, Texas

    I think the Space program should be put on hold or privatized instead of using tax dollars. Other then blasting a satellite into space the program does very little for a whole lot of money. Exploring space is not a priority in a country that is broke. 2 of the 5 space shuttles built have already exploded costing lives and millions upon millions of dollars. People that want to invest in such a risky program can use their own money and buy stock in it.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  20. Tom in Desoto, TX

    The space program has been instrumental in many inventions. Knowing what's on Saturn or Jupiter at the cost of? is a luxury, not a priority or necessity. To me, the space program should take it's place behind, education, infrastructural, health and well being, water and air quality. Many years ago it was said the moon rocks would be studied for years. We have plenty of dirt here.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  21. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    Yes I think they should because they spend in the billions, not like planned parenthood who only spend 0.00005% of the budget.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  22. pad

    This is one reason we have a crisis!!
    Ames,Ia

    April 21, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  23. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, New York

    Jack,

    Until NASA can definitively show the advantage of manned flights over one-way space probes and satellites, most preferably with House Republican leadership as cargo, there are much bigger budget prioities here on Earth.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  24. Paul, New Port Richey, Fl.

    The problems on the ground take precedence Jack. The biggest problem is in the White House.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  25. Gary H. Boyd

    Idealists would say yes Jack while realists would say no. Being a realist, paying the bills is more important to me than taking a flight to Florida. It's called putting first things first. America's in the financial toilet and hardly in a position to be venturing over seas let alone off the planet.No Jack, the U.S. Space program needs to be curtailed.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    April 21, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  26. Peg in NY

    As much as I would like to say yes, at this time, everything has to be cut and cut hard.

    It sucks to be "middle class" these days.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  27. Greg in Arkansas

    Keeping the U.S. space program a priority during a national budget crisis is like me making my bass boat a priority if I were having a budget crisis at home.....but.....
    It all depends on who gets to vote on what gets cut....
    Health care and food for the kids or a weekend on the lake?
    ......It's an easy guess which way my wife and kids would vote....

    April 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  28. Jane (Minnesota)

    It should only be if it means there will be industry and jobs that are created in this country.

    Washington needs to figure out how they are going effect policy to bring back all the jobs that have been allowed to go off shore or have disappeared with all the Pac-Man style mergers that are causing less and less competition in certain industries. This should be their focus before they spend so much time worrying about the deficit.

    Less unemployment should certainly help the deficit.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  29. Harry H. Snyder III

    Hate the high gas prices? Then support space exploration. Hydrogen is the most plentiful substance in the galaxy. when it is burned as fuel it emits water clean enough to drink and oxygen. Problem it is not readily available here on earth. It must be separated which costs more than the current price of crude.

    Someday big ExxonMobil tankers will bring this great fuel in from space, but not without initial technology in place.

    We have a unique opportunity to change the way we live for the better (and eventually cheaper) Don't mess it up.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  30. Steve, Clifton, VA

    the U S Space Program should be a priority only after we as a country have ended the two 9 year old wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; reduced unemployment below 7 %; and the Bush Tax cuts are eliminated in their entirety.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  31. Carla

    No. But neither should the wars we're in.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  32. Bonnie from NJ

    I don't know about a priority, but I like the space program. I for one would rather see my tax dollars go there instead of funding wars, foreign aid and a myriad of other things that we waste money on. However, if you are talking about cutting off my mother's (and eventually mine) social security and medicare, then I would have to say that space will just have to wait. It does seem to contradict the push in the country to get kids interested in math and science though.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  33. Annie, Atlanta

    Personally I'd rather see us stop the never ending wars before stopping the space program, but that's just me.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  34. andy

    yes, look at history. the apollo space mission created 10,000's of thousands of jobs and introduced inventions such as the micro-wave, computers plastic etc...

    April 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  35. Thom

    The space program should be put on hold for at least the next twenty years or until the budget is once again in a balanced state of affairs. There is no reason why we have to be in a hurry to explore space. Joy riding or tourism is not a reason or a priority. Even for the wealthy. Time to take care of this planet and its inhabitants before wasting more money on outerspace and earth's dictators in other countries. The government preaches practicality in our spending while they continue to waste monies on wars, pet projects, and tax breaks for the wealthy and corporate America. They are already spacey. No need to explore it further.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    April 21, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  36. Paul P.

    For the U.S. to prosper in the future, you need to continue to innovate and stay a world leader in new technology. Its one of the fields that America still leads in. If the space program can prove it plays a vital role in research and development, then yes, it should remain a priority. If they cannot, they should face cuts. Its nice to be idealistic, but the times call for pragmatism.

    April 21, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  37. ken, atlantic city, nj

    The entire space program should be suspended until the budget is balanced. We are 15 trillion in debt and don't need to have astronuts flying around and playing games in space. Shut down houston, eliminate thousands of useless jobs and throw away the key we are broke.

    April 21, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  38. Layne Alleman

    Jack, The exulted one, Bill Maher, and many other experts have been telling us for years now that "there's nothing up there but nothing"( don't tell George W. though). Seriously, we, as a country, can't even feed and house our own returning troops, much less our citizen population, so for the time being, I think our priorities should be a little closer to home. Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    April 21, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  39. Jim in Alabama

    To understand the signifiance of the space program would require inside information which most people on the street don't have. On the surface, I'd say it's wasted money, but when you consider the importance of sattelites, intelligence, etc., it may be worth more than the common man and woman thinks. I do think however, that it should be subject to the same cuts as other programs we are making if we want to be fair and equitable with t he cuts, but I doubt it will be fair in terms of cuts.

    April 21, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  40. Joe CE

    Not a priority this year but should stay in the Budget. It helps drive scientific research and it is good for US prestige.
    , not to mention the it employs a lot of high tech people that are an asset.

    April 21, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  41. Joe

    Jack,

    When we decide to eliminate programs that have produced important medical gains, and provide a learning environment toward our eventual resettlement, then we must continue to fund the US space program. Our world and our lives are not infinite; therefore, continual research and development is necessary.

    Joe, Binghamton, NY

    April 21, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  42. Weldon from Newmarket ON Canada

    Throwing money to the wind should be a priority for a few years. It doesn't mean that these programs have to be given up but let's get down to earth for a few years and resolve some of the issues that are close to home.

    April 21, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  43. Dennis north carolina

    the space program should not be a priority in the budget until we can solve our economic problems and national debt. it is part of our future so it should not be forgotten.

    April 21, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  44. DON IN WESTPORT, MASS.

    Yes.
    We need to keep moving forward with the space program. It may save our lives one day when our planet just can't support us any more.

    The way we are going, that day does not seem to far away.

    April 21, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  45. andyz Lynn, MA

    How much daily technology have we integrated into our lives and amazingly it comes directly from the space program. I think the space program needs to continue at full funding. I'd rather see that than US troops in yet another third world hell-hole. By the way, in a related subject, I'd like to see the shuttle program have at least one more mission added. Go into space and bring the Hubble back to earth. Don't let it burn up in the atmosphere. Let future generations stare at it in awe the way I did at various items from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. They provided me with a lifelong interest of the universe.

    April 21, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  46. Elemon

    Definitely not. Anything done in space can be done on the ground. Sending people into space is showboating and costly. Eve of Texas

    April 21, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  47. Kim Smith

    The U.S. space program did not create this budget crisis, Wall Street did. Why should we throw away decades of hard work and sacrifice because a bunch of criminals screwed up our economy? The space program doesn't generate anywhere near the money that the financial scammers do, so why not make them pay all there taxes for a change.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  48. John ...........Marlton NJ

    Its really a choice, do we continue to explore, research, grow, innovate and prosper as we do with a space program or do we support the same bums that wanted something for nothing before Obama's recession, during it and after it, all the while doing nothing to change their condition but demanding more entitlments.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  49. John Moore - New Britain, PA

    Jack, Long term the space program is important so it shouldn't be mothballed. However, there needs to be the tightest possible cost control coupled with a downsizing that allows R&D to continue but at a slower pace.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  50. Kathie

    That's a no-brainer. Given the budget, scrap the space program as all it is is people circling the earth.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  51. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    Yes, provided it is moved from the HUD/Independent Agencies allocation to the Defense allocation. Then you can shift both R&D dollars and Procurement dollars to space exploration and keep the industrial base sound while lowering defense even more.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  52. Dee in New Paris Ohio

    NO!

    After all, what is the total budget of the space program, as compared to the cost of our military machine?

    What will it take for the ameican People to finally realize that a country where nearly half it's budget goes toward the military needs to rethink it's priorities!

    The cost of the entire space program is not a spit in the ocean of the cost of our defense budget. And why is that part of the budget so large? who's going to attack us, anyway? As long as we have a bunch of nukes we could probably cut our defense spending in half and still be fine.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  53. Sandstone.

    "No I don't see any priorities, but those satelites are required if you want more security in the future; so it will still need updating! The rules must take advantage over lesser-rules! I suppose it has to come under the military as to how to use those rules."

    April 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  54. Peter Bonafonte, Tarrytown, N.Y.

    When we consider the stresses we're putting on the planet, Climate change, over population, diminishing resources., pollution. etc. I'd say we must expand our space program through any means possible. We need them to find a new home for us before this one is completely trashed.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  55. Ken in NC

    Only to the extent that if Lockheed Martin and Boeing want to build a space vehicle to send into space they should build it themselves with their money and if the US likes and or wants it then we will pay for it.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  56. Ken from California

    I worked for the company as an electrical engineer that built the Apollo Command/Service module that took man to the moon. Same duties on the Space Shuttle that now is shutting down.
    I started paying social security taxes in the year 1946 and did so until my retirement in 1990. That coupled with income taxes I never dreamed I would be so crippled by inflation caused by the greed and movement of wealth to a few, my company pension would mean little
    Kill the damn space programs I thrived on, I have to survive in a nation losing its multi-trillion dollar socialism, to what?

    April 21, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  57. LD

    Money spent on NASA is money spent advancing the human race. It's not just about space exploration, it's about discovering new technologies that have practical applications here on earth too.

    As for the budget crisis, i can fix it for you in one sentence: Let the bush tax cuts expire.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  58. Kyle Dell

    Ask not what your country can do for you, but what your country can afford? Not exactly an inspirational take on JFK, the politician that took us to the moon. In the face of such looming deficits, we must not lose sight of what makes this country great.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  59. Artur de Freitas

    The spin offs from the research done for the space program benefits this world and that is a "great" jutification. But there are other programs that benefit this world directly and indirectly and NASA might not be regarded a value for money contributor.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  60. Craig from Danville, Va

    The irony of this discussion is that most of those opposed to the space program are basking in the technological comforts that NASA has helped create. Americans today, and the world as a whole, are starting to take these higher technologies for granted and not appreciating the amount of research and ingenuity that go into them. The space program is a perfect platform to jump start all sorts of breakthroughs, be it nanotechnology, communications, or even new forms of energy. Additionally, the difficulty and awe of space travel captures our imaginations, inspiring scientists and engineers to tackle new and increasingly difficult problems. In all honesty, I think that this criticism of NASA comes simply from those who do not understand what NASA does. But that's just me.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  61. Jeffrey Jones Roseville, ca

    For the people who dont care about space flight in your budget. with any imagination we as people have nothing to look forward to. So in fact take away your coffee, teas, computers, fun devices, phones, and thens that keep you looking forward till tomarrow. Space is needed, were still the children that need to look beyond whats here on this little tiny rock in the vastness of a candy store. stupid subject.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  62. dolleybird

    This extremist president is destroying much of what used to be America. I cannot believe that this president has destroyed the U.S. space program, where we have led the world for decades.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  63. kalamity Jane

    Personally, I would rather have my taxes go to NASA then have my tax dollars go to bail out the auto industry, especially since I won't have any social security when I retire!! Is the government going to bail me out when I overdraw my checking account? Is the government going to bail me out when I can't pay my small business loan? The government needs to send all of the illegals including the children back to where they come from and pull our troups out of the middle east. Then and only then will the government be able to balance it's own check book!!

    April 21, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  64. Andrew

    Never! The Space Program is one of the only things that this country has going for itself. The program budget is small compared to all the achievements that the program has provided with us. The very idea of us using these computers and communicating is an indirect result from the space program.

    The Space Program, is a program that brings the World's genius together, to make our world a better place.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  65. J S

    Hi Jack,

    I work in the Aerospace business and if it were not for the space program, many technical advances like computers would not have come about as fast as they have over the past 50 years. The new products and technologies that have emerged as a result created the largest technology boom in the history of man. I would contend that $3 billion spent on NASA and its technologies is a far better investment by the US government than the stupid $700 Billion stimulus profered up by the Obama administration for "shovel ready projects" which did nothing for our economy. When are we going to reward people for being smart and creative versus uneducated and "shovel pushers". Cutting technology jobs and doing unispiring non-technical projects will not improve the economy or inspire kids to study science and engineering. Chalk another one up for Russia and China as they will lead the world in space technology.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  66. John G

    The US space program has been shuttling people from no place to nowhere and occasionally blowing up along the way for far too long. Budget crisis or not, it's past time to put manned space flight out to pasture.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  67. AB

    No, Jack, the space program should not be a budgetary priority in the midst of our budgetary woes and should be suspended until we get our financial house in order. Our political leaders need to get their priorities straight and focus on real priorities such as job creation, infrastructure repair, education and healthcare reform. Leave space exploration for another time when we again acrue a budgetary surplus.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  68. Bryan from Chicago

    NASA to the U.S. Government is Vegas to us little folk...can't afford it, don't do it!

    April 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  69. Maggie

    But, if NASA goes, what happens to the facilitation and continuation of satelitte support for internet and other wireless needs?

    April 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  70. Byron

    I bet that this is just preliminary R&D money, kind of money to pay for paper plans and brainstorming. I doubt the money will actually used to build a functional space rocket. Besides, new space rockets cost much more than 3 billion. I'm guessing more like 500 billion.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  71. Ross

    Funding basic science and technology research is good, and we should keep doing it. But funding development of new rockets, when there are many companies doing the same thing using venture capital to get a piece of the new private launch industry, is a waste of tax dollars. It would be as if we were still subsidizing the manufacture of desktop PCs.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  72. Aaron

    Jack,

    NASA funding is imperative. This country spends so much money on defense related research. We need to have some technology program which has its basis in peaceful exploration of the universe around us. The reason NASA is so insignificant today is because its funding is tied to pet projects of our leaders. If we gave NASA the funding it deserves and the freedom to prioritize its own projects more would have been done over the past 30 years.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  73. David

    Outrageous costs? You've got to be kidding! This country spends more on pizza delivery in 4 months than it does on NASA in a whole year. And don't tell me there aren't discoveries and breakthroughs–that's just insulting to the thousands of scientists and students who are expanding our body of knowledge every day. Get your head out of the ground and you can't miss the progress all around you.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  74. Dave in MA

    Keep the space program. I notice you didn't offer any alternative big-ticket items to cut... I'm sure if you list enough programs, you'll hit special interest items for all of us to choose as the lowest priority. This was certainly not a forward-thinking suggestion, Jack, and the bias is evident.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  75. Michael Banta

    Good or bad, I love the space program. I have been following it my whole life. Some say we need to take care of our own people first but, have you ever seen some of our own people? There simply is no help for some of them.

    Go NASA!

    Dayton, Ohio

    April 21, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  76. METALWORKER

    Yes. Most certainly YES!!!! When the tea party and repb. get done we may need a fast way out of here before the whole planet goes kaboom.
    A couple more nuclear melt downs and an oil spill or two in the gulf.
    Bridges falling down and schools falling apart, no teachers, no old people, they all died from lack of medical care. Yep it ain't the shy falling, it's the planet just giving up on us. Space is the answer. METALWORKER

    April 21, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  77. james brady

    No. The space program should be cut.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  78. terry shell

    no more space program. It only benefits the corporations and workers involved.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  79. james brady

    James from Atlanta: Cut the Space program: who need it.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  80. Kevin in CA

    If it's a priority to give Billionaires tax breaks, then surely NASA can be a priority also.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  81. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Hell no, that is the only program that the government has ever oversaw that has benefited the american people due to the all the technology that came out of the program

    April 21, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  82. Ron (Denver)

    Yes – space is a deifnite priority.

    Besides the issue of understanding our environment, there are the commercial and scientific benefits that have derived from the space program.

    Short sighted funding decisions will come back to haunt us later. Remeber the furror over Sputnik? If (yes, this is a BIG "if") the Soviets had controlled space and developed a weapons delivery platform, where might the USA and the world be today? Where would the USA be today if the Vikings and Europeans had thought exploring the seas was "too expensive"?

    It is easy to point the finger at the companies that build the vehicles, ground systems, and other infrastructure used to explore space. Saying they are greedy or that they are incopetent is just plain wrong. There is an extremeley high degree of engineering skill that goes into programs like this. This means a college education and after that, work experience. If things like this were easy, 3rd world countries with an uneducated or under educated populace would have space programs too.

    In my opinion, the death of the space shuttle program without a program to take its place is a croime. We should have already colonized the moon and be moving onto Mars. I would be one of the first to volunteer to go, regardless of the risks to my life or well being.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  83. ehonkulus

    Dear Jack,

    Back in the hayday of NASA, Apollo and the Shuttle program gave America a profound sense of pride, purpose, and direction. These are qualities severely absent in America today. The benefits that NASA brings go far beyond the tangible scientific value to the intangible sentiment their missions bring to the public here in the U.S. and around the world. We need to go further faster and make new discoveries, perhaps inspiring the next generation to work hard and reach for the stars.

    -Eric Honk

    April 21, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  84. Manny

    I'd much rather keep peaceful space exploration and science going in cooperation with people from around the earth, than waste money and ruin lives dropping bombs, spending hundreds of billions of dollars on war after war. Space exploration is critical to our long-term survival as a species. Maybe they can cut back on the wasteful, destructive, military use of space and put the focus where it should stay– on peaceful exploration of space, and of our own planet. We come from space. It helps us to understand who we are. And I don't think there's anything that will bring us closer together than the realization that we're not alone.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  85. waterdances

    The real question shouldn't be about cutting NASA or other programs. I t should be about finding ways to recoup from Wall Street and the Banks the enormous losses that the rest of the country has and is suffering. Once again, they stuff their pockets with big bonuses while smirking contemptuously about how naive the public, the government and the politicians are to let them get away with such destruction to our economy for their benefit. We should be focusing on massive changes to the banking and other fiscal structures that created this crisis – not eviscerating everything in the budget while they fail to be penalized for their greedy, immoral and possibly illegal acts.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  86. Ryan from Missouri

    "Been there, done that"?? – If you look at the total area of the Moon covered by the 12 few men who have been there, it's tiny compared to the overall area of the Moon and only opened up more questions and more reasons to go back and explore the regions we have not been to yet. If NASA doesn't explore the solar system, the Russians and Chinese and Indians will. They'll land the first person on Mars and send the first orbiter to Uranus, and we will be left sitting back and wondering why we ever quit trying.

    NASA has provided us with more technology and items we use in our every day life (tennis shoes, for example) than most people are aware of, and if we cut NASA's budget we cut the advances in technology that are waiting to happen. Not to mention crushing the dreams of students who are currently in school pursuing their lifelong goal of working for NASA and partaking in space exploration and advancing technology.

    If the NFL and NBA get to pay their players millions of dollars a year, why can't we pay our hard-working scientists and engineers to keep doing the job they love?

    April 21, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  87. Bill from Rotonda Florida

    Of course it should be a priority. Why is "brand" so important? When the world looked at the Shuttle, they did so in awe of what this country is capable of. And like it or not, our future will always be linked to the stars. We are here on a temporary basis. Without a "shuttle", we have lost a bit of what this country is all about.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  88. Adnan Khan

    I disagree with you Jack,

    NASA has been a catalyst for economic development in the United States, it is a source of pride and patriotism; and many of the technologies we use today: numerous medical technologies, Solar Cells for commercial uses, fire/heat resistant materials.

    By completely ignoring space program, we are paving the way for China to be the next pioneer in space. It's like going back in time and saying "Hey USSR, you just put the first man in space, and we have problems at home and Vietnam, so we are going to let you win the moon race."

    The space program is one thing our country has and is the BEST at and has been the BEST at. As of the end of the Shuttle program, we will not have the technological capability to send people out of orbit, they will have to be sent via the Russian program. This is only because the replacement for the shuttle program was cancelled.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  89. Erick Maclin Harrell

    Jack

    NASA only receives less than 1% of the budget. The returns in developments and American pride are well worth it. Our kids have something to strive for if the program stays alive. The cold truth is many goverment positions receive big pay scales and Great benefits. Our country has a comissioner for everything. We have more people in jail than any other country in the world and there are so many laws it's sick. All this cost money. America, (for our kids sake) needs to be rained in. Just look at all the lawyers in a phonebook.

    Sad Times
    Erick

    April 21, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  90. Korny

    We are in a recession of course there is a budget deficet.
    Does that mean we gut everything that makes us great?
    No, the tax revenues will be back to normal in a year or two, dont gut our long term success for a short term gain.

    The US is far from broke, Just think about the amount of land the US Government owns, about 38% of all the land in the USA.
    Our assests way way way way larger than out debt.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  91. Allan Finlayson, North Vancouver,BC CA

    Missing from Cafferty's myopic analysis on why the Space Program should be cut is any discussion about the Trillions spent on prosecuting 2 wars (and now Libya) and the Military Industrial Complex. Hundreds of billions given to Wall Street.

    The ideals of Space exploration are nobel. The US leadership in Space Exploration is an inspiration for all citizens on this planet. Keep Space exploration a priority.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  92. Harvey Wallbanger

    A lot of people complain the money being spent in space could be better used to help the poor. In truth, HS spends NASA's entire annual budget in nine days. Taking eveything from NASA and giving it to HS is not going to make a lot of difference.

    Besides, we have not spent a dime in space, every cent of it has been spent on the ground. If I am going to spend a dollar, I want to put it some place that brings back two. The space program has done this time and again. The weather satellites alone have saved far more money in more accurate forcasts and lives saved than has ever been spent on the space program.

    I would much have my tax dollars put somewhere that generates a return on the investment than being flushed down some welfare rathole that returns nothing.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  93. Rob

    If it were not for NASA, we would not be aware of the abundance of Helium-3 on the moon, a nearly unlimited supply of fuel for fusion. Grant it, we are not there yet, and fusion may not be viable for some time, but if you are not looking toward the future, you will never realize it. Exploration and discovery are what seperates us from animals who only live for the "here and now". We can't be content to simply worry about our next meal. if we do, it is already over.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  94. Harry

    We're already on the road to becoming a second class country relative to science and technology. NASA and the space program, for all it's inefficiencies, has been a beacon encouraging our students to follow the path of technological leadership. As our leadership in science falls our ability to innovate also falls, dooming us to mediocrity and poor quality jobs for our graduates. Perhaps jobs in the service industry (you want fries with that?) or the financial industry (just as bad) are all we need to offer to the next generation.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  95. John

    Stem Cell Research will save many more lives than NASA's research...

    April 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  96. QS in Seattle

    Jack,

    Sounds like a typical conservative argument – "We're broke, we can't afford anything....oh, except for all those billions in tax breaks to the rich that could actually help fund things like NASA."

    At the point the political climate has gotten to, I admit I've been pushed so far to the left by the right-wing loonies that sadly even if any of them actually did put forth a solid, reasonable plan that might actually work, I still wouldn't believe a word they said.

    It should be a priority, maybe not a top priority, but a priority nonetheless. And, imagine that, if we simply ended all the oil subsidies that those oil companies don't even need, we could continue funding NASA.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  97. rnaybos

    No way. Why don't we spend that money on bringing back planned parenthood...or providing healthcare to those who can't afford it (not because they're lazy, but because they weren't born with the luck some of us were). In this day and age, space travel is the last thing we need to be worried about.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  98. Spaced Out

    You know Jack, I keep hearing about how the money we spend on the space agency ads all kinds of technological benefits for us on the ground, but I have never EVER seen anyone support that with hard data? It seems to me that after all of these decades of space spending, someone would have some cost/benefit figures by now. Instead, the only figures we see are the millions the major companies like Boeing spend lavishly on our Federal Officials to keep the space race going. I'm going to take an educated guess that they are spending this kind of money for their benefit and not ours.

    Dump all space spending until we can properly take care of the needs of our own people.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  99. Harvey Wallbanger

    A lot of people complain the money being spent in space could be better used to help the poor. In truth, HS spends NASA's entire annual budget in nine days. Taking eveything from NASA and giving it to HS is not going to make a lot of difference.

    Besides, we have not spent a dime in space, every cent of it has been spent on the ground. If I am going to spend a dollar, I want to put it some place that brings back two. The space program has done this time and again. The weather satellites alone have saved far more money in more accurate forcasts and lives saved than has ever been spent on the space program.

    I would much have my tax dollars put somewhere that generates a return on the investment than being dumped down some welfare bottomless pit that returns nothing.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  100. Patrick in Mi.

    I think unmanned missions should be ongoing.I also believe a manned mission to Mars is an extravegance we can't afford.
    I would love to live in Hawaii but I cant do that right now either. so I won't do that right now but am planning it down the road and Saving for it!!!!!

    April 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  101. Will Walk

    If nothing else I'd like to go back to the moon and build a penal colony there to clean out our prisons and the expenses that go with maintaining them.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  102. sebastian

    No! We should Invest in Research and Education. With the baby boomer and kids who are drop out! we can not afford NASA. We need to use that money to invest in new industries like Solar Energy, Medical Imaging Technology and Free online education for developing countries. To spend every year $25B for NASA for what! most of the money is going to private companies anyway why dont we invest on education and real research especially in medical and Energy.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  103. Richard

    Absolutely 100% YES! NASA funding accounts for less than one-half of one percent and look at the returns. Do you like knowing when severe weather is heading your way? NASA's got you covered. Do you like your GPS device? NASA's got you covered. Do you like to know what our enemies are up to? NASA's got you covered. All this and much more.

    Yes, we haven't been back to the Moon in forever. Who cares? The Hubble Space Telescope is an icon. We're learning loads of stuff about Mars. The Cassini mission at Saturn is just awesome. Good gracious, cut NASA more and you're guaranteeing our nation's fate.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  104. mspend

    NASA's budget is paltry compared to the massive amounts of money spent on the military. If we addressed the real problem of fighting two wars, and a military that's leaps and bounds bigger than the next we would have plenty of money to spend on programs that offer tangible benefits to the citizens of this country.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  105. Mike

    NASA is certainly not a waste. It provides jobs to hard working engineers and scientists and pushes the technological envelope. Whenever we are forced to do hard, sometimes never done before things, innovation often follows and that innovation eventually ends up creating market opportunities that can create more jobs. America needs to remain number 1 in space exploration if we are to lead the world. China is rising fast and the worst thing we can do is cut back on science and education.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  106. Texas-T

    Yessiree Buckaroo. NASA should be a priority.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  107. Steve

    How can expanding our knowledge of our universe, searching for other livable planets, and other life be a waste of money?

    April 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  108. CJT Del Mar

    If the government had received royalties on some the products that came out the space program instead of giving it all to the private sector (think Velcro), there wouldn't be a deficit. Yes, keep NASA and keep some of the royalties and run it like a business.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  109. Dale

    Corporate welfare G.M., Banks, stop that, Keep NASA.

    Dale New Mexico

    April 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  110. Scott in Texas

    NASA should be scrapped all together. Since the majority of their work benefits corporations in both work and R and D, neither of which is a proper use of taxpayer money. If we continue to subsidize private companies research via NASA to the tune of $20 billion annually, we'll never get our debt / deficit under control. NASA is the Western Union of today........outdated.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  111. Renee Peoria,Ill

    We know the way out of our current budget problems, we're just not doing it. After all, those poor rich people would be lost if they didn't make more money and God forbid we end two unnecessary wars. Obviously, we can't afford it. Then again . . . our descendants will need a place to live after we've completely trashed this planet so . . .

    April 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  112. Ronnie

    Well without space shuttles or replacements you might as well close NASA completely.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  113. the_dude

    Space program is a priority. Entitlement programs are not a priority. Plus we need a space program to develop a prison colony on the moon to send all the welfare and section 8 people.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  114. Ronnie

    To pay for the $3 billion space craft we should stop giveing Israel $3 1/2 billion a year in aid that they use to murder innocent people.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  115. oneSTARman

    Let me ask you this Jack – Do YOU like things like Computers and any of the other devices that make up the modern world? These things ONLY were PUSHED into existence by the extreme requirements for Exploration of Unknown Frontiers. Does Humanity have an interest in things beyond this tiny speck of dust floating in the Blackness of eternity? I would HOPE so.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  116. Al

    We can afford a guaranteed failure in Prohibition, where we spend hundreds of billions on enforcement, imprisonment, etc, but we can't afford NASA, or schools, or health-care.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  117. Didier J. Dessemond

    The space program should be put on the back burner. This is a luxury we no longer can afford as well as the war in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya.
    Can we , for ounce put American tax payer needs on the top of the list????

    April 21, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  118. Nurse Lisa in Shelton CT

    While we certainly don't need more scientists out of work, spending money on cool to know but essentially unnecessary endeavors with extremely expensive pricetags – like the 19 million dollar toilet that still doesn't work well (really how technical equals a cost of 19 mill – is it made of gold?), esp. when we don't have jobs for millions this spending is foolish!

    April 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  119. Steve Mix

    This is crazy that we would even consider spending that kind of money when the country is in such dire needs. If some private company wants to develop that technology, let them do it and give them the rights to taking people to the moon.

    We can't afford to have programs like this anymore. Would it not help to endorse the Term Limit programs so nearly everyone will not be working on getting reelected.
    thank you.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  120. Ben in Albuquerque

    Too many technologies we use every day came from the space program. The space program will be responsible for finding the alternative energy sources we so desperately need to replace our addiction to oil. To cut it completely would be ludicrous. Not to mention how many high tech, high paying jobs here on earth it creates.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  121. Matt

    NASA is partially to blame for Velcro, the protective gear firefighters wear, smoke detectors, advanced plastics, Medical imaging machines (MRIS and CAT scanners if I recall), as well as a big hand in the creation of the modern day Internet.

    Who needs that? defund it all!

    April 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  122. get real

    we won't have anybody to work at NASA if they keep cutting $ for schools

    April 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  123. Richard

    The value of NASA to the United States greatly outweighs the costs. If we do not continue to develop advanced technology, what's left? For relatively modest investments, the payoff to our economy has more than paid back anything spent. The space shuttle program has come to an end. New methods of getting into space are needed. This is necessary for many reasons beyond pure research and exploration. Eliminating the space program would be a prime example of penny wise and pound foolish.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  124. richard a. winkler

    No, it should be scrapped.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  125. Pugilist

    Cutting the budget (NASA's) or killing NASA are both bad ideas for a strong future. NASA's budget is already small and it has born many of cuts while other useless programs in the Federal govt go uncut or get even larger. A better idea would be to link say DARPAs budget into NASA or even the Air Forces Space Research Budget into NASAs since thier missions are similar. NASA has provided many technological breakthroughs in medicine and science that were not immediate pays offs. The long term benefit of having NASA should be obvious to anyone who uses say.. a cell phone.. computer.. modern medicine..military science.. and that is just to name a few. To invest in the future we need a home for all those children that we want to go into math and science fields and NASA provides such a home. China and Russia are both expanding thier military technology and dominion over space so why would we want the U.S. To have to play catch up again.. or worse have to pay Russia or China for services we can provide ourselves? Humans have always looked to the stars and seen a future full of hope and promise, if we kill that now we might as well as be killing a part of humanity.....

    April 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  126. Chris

    NASA uses a small portion of the budget. Yes $3 billion sounds like a lot, but complaining about that is like yelling at someone who spent $100 on dinner while ignoring the new Bentley sitting in the garage. We are spending $15 billion on the new aircraft carrier. For what? We already have 11, while the rest of the world has 10 total! Focus on the waste the military has and let the scientists use the money for the advance of humankind, not the destruction of it.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  127. Pat Ludy

    The benefits of the Space Program have never been totally discussed. There are lots of everyday "things" available that were developed from the Program. ( Corning Ware being one of them) That said, the main reason is...Think! Whoever controls the Space above us ..controls Earth! Who do you want to be first in Space? Think about it.

    Budget cutting.. Let Congress take a 20% pay cut and cut Their entitlement programs..

    April 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  128. Gregg Patterson

    Pittsburgh, PA
    All it takes is few keystrokes to see what impact NASA has had on our lives. It is a vital aspect to our current living conditions. There are numerous consumer technologies that wouldn't be in place if it wasn't for NASA. NASA's research has led to artificial heart technology, special lighting technologies used for plant-growth experiments are now applied to treating brain tumors in children, , alternative fuels, and even fuel used by NASA rockets are used for land mine removal. The list goes on and on. The people who propose making cuts to NASA and space exploration haven't done their research. The sad part is most Americans are unaware of the significance of NASA.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  129. Squeezebox

    I and all the other Trekkies think that we will always need to do some public space exploration. How much and whether manned or not is a matter of debate. Unlike some of my sci-fi friends, I think that some of the exploration should be done by private enterprise. There is nothing that says NASA can't subcontract a particular mission to Space Dev, Space X, or Virgin Galactic. I'm aware that we have precious little to spend, but space exploration has always paid more dividends than we have spent. I just don't think that big defense contractors like Lockheed and Boeing should be guaranteed money. They should have to compete for it by having the best product for the job at the best prices, something they haven't been good at lately.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  130. Bob

    I can't think of too many useful things other than Tang and maybe Velcro that have come out of our space program.

    As far as I am concerned we did not need to spend billons of dollars on space to invent these trivial items.

    Oh, I forgot the moon rocks. Does anyone know of any value found in moon rocks. I wonder what they cost per pound to bring back to earth?

    I do NOT think we need manned space travel at all. Unmanned to some extent as long as we can afford to do it, which means not borrowing money from other countries and being held hostage to the loan sharks.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  131. Pete in California

    The USA is now facing an impending financial collapse and a major energy crisis. The smart move would be for our country to make a major cutback to NASA, and out all those hi-tech folks to work finding a solution to our critical energy needs.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  132. Gigi Oregon

    Here is the problem Jack...you cut funding that means jobs are also cut. You can't build America strong, by cutting jobs. The Republicans no that and they are thrilled, cut spending, jobs are lost and blame Pres. Obama for the debt.
    When the space program was built it brought many jobs and new tech knowledge and still does.
    The reason the debt is looming over us is corporate America doesn't want to pay taxes. Oil people are going to fight green jobs, lobyist from corporate America our going to bribe are representatives with money to vote for their special interest, Governors will try to kill the unions and we the people are going to cave in. After the unemployment raises to 20% plus whats that doing to do the debt. And I can't wait for the passing of a wage increase for our Representatives for all of their stressful work..

    April 21, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  133. Elliot

    We can't afford not to support NASA. No other organization in the world inspires our youth toward careers in math and science the way that NASA does. These science and tech oriented careers are the only place the US economy can grow since we can't stay competitive in manufacturing unless we chain workers to desks and make them work 14 hour days like other countries allow. Also, I'm sick of seeing some of the best and brightest college students run toward the financial sector. Moving numbers from one column to another column and taking a profit off of it doesn't advance our society and civilization one bit.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  134. Craig

    I guess killing the shuttle program was not enough for Mr. Cafferty. There are many people out of work in the state of Florida with thousands more getting laid off soon from NASA and contractors. NASA spending is the least of the government's problems.

    Obama promised more money and jobs and that is not going to happen to local economy of the Space Coast of Florida. The money mentioned is nothing compared to what NASA has already lost budget-wise. You can keep the Change, give us jobs back!

    April 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  135. Karl in Flint (formerly Karl in SF,CA)

    Jack, I don't blame you for not writing back to us, but THANK YOU for quoting me twice in "Now or Never".

    It’s a priority that cannot be eliminated but one that has to be weighed in proper proportions with our other priorities. Some programs may need to be slowed down or put on hold for a year or two when the economy gets back on its feet. NASA is a big portion of our economy and defunding it will do more damage than good to our recovery.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  136. Jeff

    We can't afford *not* to have NASA – or the National Science Foundation, CDC and other endeavors. We can't just sit still at the status quo, and we can't build a future on 'shoring up social security' and 'managing medicare costs'. Humans have always needed dreams and needed to learn and explore. And the civilization that stands pat on its laurels and stops growing will soon find itself left behind – or on the proverbial trash heap of history.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  137. Jim

    How many 60 year old cars do you see on the roads that were designed to last 10 years? The Mars rovers were designed for a 3-4 month mission and after 3 years(I know longer) 1 of them is still going strong and the other just died last year after 2 years(I know longer)? THIS IS WHAT NASA DOES!!! How many product in your house from China or Mexico that are suppose to last a year or two don't even last that long??? NASA creates the technologies that we use in our everyday life and you don't even know it. If it wasn't for NASA we would not have a lot of the modern conveniences that you all enjoy and use daily. The REAL money is going to people that just sit on their backside all day drawing welfare/medicaid while popping out more kids, refusing to work, and also the people living in Mexico(and I'm not talking about the retired Americans) that are collecting social security/welfare/medicaid checks?? Yes folk, this is really happening!!! THIS IS WHERE THE REAL MONEY IS GOING! Look at the percentages of the budget going to the so call entitlements and compare that to the amount NASA gets, there is no comparison and what do we get back from those people taking advantage of the government through these programs? NOTHING but ridicule!! NASA is trying to make a BETTER WORLD for all of us and some of you just want to chop the hands that feed you, I know all of you can't see this, but there are a lot that can!

    April 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  138. Derek in Minneapolis

    Yes, absolutely the space program should be a priority. Investing in science is one of the very few areas our government has provided long-term benefits for the people. Imagine if the government hadn't begun research into networked computing back when most corporations had no interest in it – it wouldn't even be possible for us to have this interaction.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  139. Kevin, Pittsburgh

    There is enough helium 3 in vast quanities on the moon to power the world, if we were able to make a few trips a week with a shuttle sized craft. It will be some time before we are able to do this, but it is going to take a major investment to come to fruition.
    Many of the newer rocket designs incur huge costs because they use helium 3 as fuel, and that fuel is very rare and expensive.
    Computers with less capability than a typical modern phone were once costly giants that took a lot of money develop and operate. What costs us billions now will save us countless trillions in the future.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  140. Matt Benjamin

    "Been There, Done That"? Most scientist would agree that Apollo went to the least scientifically interesting places on the Moon. And the discovery of WATER on the Moon in 2009 is a "game changer" for space exploration. If the President wants to ever go to Mars, we will have to practice our survivability on the Moon. And if you put in terms of national pride. The US is getting beat in just about everything else globally. NASA and space exploration is one of the few things we have left. US space exploration is one of the only industries left in this country that has not been outsourced overseas.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  141. Dave

    People who are against NASA remind me of the little girl who asked her mother why daddy had to go to work every day. Her mom answered that they needed money. The little girl asked, "Why can't we just go to the bank to get money?"

    Our country can only go to the bank to get money when there is money in the bank. Our investments in NASA in the 20th century filled the coffers, but now it's time for us to get back to work?

    Cut NASA to save money? Ridiculous. Can you save money by cutting your car expenses, and not driving to work?

    April 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  142. Rick

    The US taxpayer pays for all space exploration but when Corporations are ready to mine other planets for metals and minerals, Congress has already made laws that allow Corporate tax exemption. Proving that they do think ahead...

    April 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  143. Nero

    The US is at the end of it's golden era. The first to comercialize space will be the next superpower. They need this purchase so the industry does not stall while the deficit is tackled.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  144. Nurse Lisa in Shelton CT

    The decade long costs to build the Hubble Space Telescope are estimated to be between $1.5 to $2.1 billion. Counting all the repairs and fixes since it was put in orbit since 1990, the total expense is around $10 billion.

    Again – the pictures it takes are cool – but necessary? NOT. Now someone's chemotherapy or prescription drug coverage – that is worthy.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  145. Henri D. Kahn

    Better to keep NASA operational than participating in Gadhafi's
    civil war, the Afghanistan futile war effort, Iraq's complete disdain for our noble efforts in their behalf and the incredibly expensive stalemates created by the Democrat and Republican politicians.
    Henri D. Kahn
    Laredo, Texas

    April 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  146. Daniel

    Yes we need NASA. I does more for this country than a lot of us realize. Not only do we learn more about our universe and our world but, we learn more about who we really are. There is also the WOW factor which ignites the minds of our young to be come scientist, scholars, and engineers. Oh and don't forget about American pride. Yes pride in America. I remember how proud I was back in 1969 when we landed on the moon. I have always been fascinated by space flight and NASA.. We waste our money on a lot of things. We give away money to farmers so they won't grow certain crops and on wars in countries where the people hate us. At least with NASA I feel I get more bang for my hard earned money and if the government is going to tax me I'd rather spend it on NASA than another obsolete aircraft carrier.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  147. Allan Begany

    The Democrats like to talk about so-called "investments", which really mean government spending programs – programs that throw money wastefully at experiments in education and alternative energy with dubious results. At least with NASA we get some tangible results that the U.S. taxpayer – and the world, for that matter – can see, such as the Apollo program and the Space Shuttle. NASA programs provide jobs across the country and necessitate the development of new space age materials that improve our everyday lives right here on earth.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  148. Emily

    How much knowledge have we learned from NASA! The space program is important to this country, not just as a reminder and ever present symbol of how great we can be and what we can achieve, but a steady and stable organization that is constantly exploring, not only our solar system, but our own planet, and developing our technologies all the time. I am thrilled that space exploration has started to move on the private sector too, the "competition" only helps drive all to achieve better things and to learn from each other. This nation with out NASA, will become even bleaker than it all ready has been lately. And yes, or course, look at all the jobs! But it is greater than just jobs. Its passions and lives of men and women who have devoted their time to research!

    April 21, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  149. Lou, New York

    Typing these answers on a Computer or similar device?
    Where do you think that came from?
    Spend on Space, we will always gain more back then we spend!

    April 21, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  150. LB

    No we should not cut NASA's budget. NASA's budget employs tens of thousands of engineering and manufacturing jobs (including union)that would have to be cut also. NASA's budget is miniscule compared to the huge amounts of money we are wasting on roads (and the signs to promote them). What would you rather protect; Our technological advantage and engineering or manufacturing jobs or do you prefer to save the jobs of contruction workers. I only bring up the comparison because ppl are saying NASA is not a priority but why is building roads where they are not needed more important?

    April 21, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  151. bench warmer

    Anyone who thinks we should cut NASA funding needs some major reeducation, not of the brain-washing variety, but of the reducing of ignorance that seems to be so prominent in the American public. The science and research that NASA provides to improve all of our lives on such a grand scale makes the idea of cutting its proverbial "drop in the bucket" budget hysterical. Go Google what NASA has done for us and see. Cutting NASA funding is like telling your children that they might as well get a useless liberal arts degree or just join the military and learn how to kill people. If you want to see a real reduction in federal spending, try not policing the world. Orders of magnitude more money is spent to kill and destroy than on the science, exploration, and discovery that NASA gives us.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  152. Nick - Houston, TX

    Space the final frontier... I would have a hard time listing all the technologies that came from wanting to explore space. NASA deserves to have a large budget even in the time of a financial crisis. You want an asteroid to hit us?!

    April 21, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  153. Overby from Melbourne

    These politicians don't get it, the gov't has to be run like most of us run our households. A rocket to the moon is like a toy. At home, we pay our bills first and then what's left over can be used to buy a toy. Let's have the gov't pay the bills first, then if anything's left over, let them buy a rocket.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  154. ps

    Those who want to scrap NASA are the same neanderthals who think Paul Ryan's budget proposal will reduce the deficit.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  155. John Hanke

    Apophis: an asteroid the size of the Rose Bowl that will come close enough to the Earth that it will pass between us and our satellites in 2029 and possibly hit us in the year 2036. Yeah, sounds like the perfect time to cut the NASA budget...

    April 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  156. reACTIONary

    Space systems are the most complicated and sophisticated engineering achievements in the history of human kind, and being the very best in science and engineering is America's goal. If we are not LEADERS in space, America would no longer be AMERICA. Our space program contributes significantly to the sum total of humanity's scientific knowledge, and contributes significantly to our national prestige. America leads the world in space, and unlike other areas of humand endeavor, the world WANTS our leadership and is willing to contribute, collaborate and follow along. What a GREAT way to enhance our possition as leaders of the free world!

    April 21, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  157. Reed A. Ayers

    As a person who worked for Martin Marietta back in the day and then NASA and now having worked for tthe DoD, I can attest to the many technologies that people are blind to developed as the result of the space program. As recently as 10 years ago we flew shuttle missions (STS-108) that led to the development of NEW bone saving drugs that are common for the treatment of osteoporosis (Enbrel is one of them). STS 107 (Columbia) flew a payload that has enable us to begin development of better, safer fire suppression systems for ships, airplanes and computer facilities.

    This is work that private entities will not fund due to the time to market and that is achieved at costs several orders of magnitude cheaper than what is done through other venues, including the military research arms.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  158. Sandy

    The U.S. space program should be a priority. Scientific research is not a drive-thru restaurant. There is no instant gratification. Real research takes time and that's why money invested now is vital to future U.S. security.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  159. Skip in South Carolina

    Will somebody wake up and look at what's happening in the world?

    We don't need to be in three wars, but we sure need a very strong space program. The cold war is racing back, but this time it is us against China. What are the idiot politicians going to to when there are Chinese space stations orbiting all the major US cities?

    It will be game, set, match. China owns the USA. Space is our last stand. I say we should militarize NASA and build it up to guard the US.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  160. G. R.R.

    Private Space is the next internet boom. The question is, for which nation? China is making inroads to do that. So, EU and Russia.
    America has the lead. We have MULTIPLE private space that is further along than any other nation, except for Russia and China (and spacex is further along ECONOMICALLY than ANYBODY).
    America's problem is NOT NASA. It is CONgress that is pushing NASA to do jobs bills. The SLS is a night mare in the making. It will damage our nation and NASA severely.
    Instead, we need another COTS, only for TWO SUPER HEAVY LAUNCH VEHICLES: COTS-SHLV. SpaceX says that they can build one for 2.5 billion and 5 years. That is a drop in the buck compared to what CONSTELLATION costs and much much cheaper than what SLS is going to costs. So, we do 2 SHLV, for 5 BILLION each (or less), AND we help put bigelow up in space as well. Once up there, we can tax, as well as lower America's and NASA's costs.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  161. Brook

    That's the dumbest question I've ever heard. Talk about penny wise and pound foolish - NASA already gets less than 1% of the federal budget, and it's the only thing that ever returned something of value to not only our country's economy & society, but the quality of life for everyone on Earth. How is it that is a luxury? We shouldn't be spending less, we should be spending more. Otherwise we might as well go back to living in caves.
    To the stars!
    Brook, Fremont CA

    April 21, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  162. Ken

    While the amount might sound like a lot, most of the money goes to engineering, research, and experimentation as they try to design and build a new rocket. The results of this research impacts all aspects of American life, such as test results from astronauts in weightless environments being applied to theories on human aging which in turn have led to improvements in care for the elderly (especially bone loss). This is money well spent, unlike a lot of the budget.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  163. Bob

    You need to make a distinction between this $3B super-heavy launch vehicle program and NASA as a whole. The Heavy Launch vehicle is nothing but PORK which certain members of congress have crammed down NASA's throat, even there is no mission for it and developing a 130 metric ton launcher is completely infeasible within the budget allocated.

    However, NASA as a whole is vital to the strategic strength and intellectual vitality of our nation. Investment in R&D in all sectors is critical to maintaining our national standard of living. Other nations (eg China) are investing heavily in their space programs, and he who controls the high ground wins the war.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  164. Rogers

    Take all the devices out of your pockets/purse and place them on a table along with any electronic device you know of that was built after1965. Take a roofing hammer and beat the crap out of them. All devices used by the medical profession should be destroyed. All computing devices, ATM and so on are to be destroyed and don't forget that big screen tv. Once this is all done you are free of NASA. Let us see how long it will be before you have a problem. I conservatively think you might make it ten seconds. Yes go right ahead and be a moron you know not what you do.

    I suggest that you leave science to those who know it, go sit in front of you big screen tv and chill while talking to your family on your new iPhone or iPad. I forgot, if you follow these instructions you will be back in the past a be incognito.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  165. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    If the space program isn't made a priority something else less important as the space program will become priority that adds to the deficit. And, if so, don't give me the explanation that it represents "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind", I don't want to hear it.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  166. Mark

    You shouldn't spend all of your money just on reducing the Suck. You need to set at least a little aside on increasing the Awesome. Otherwise there was no point in reducing the Suck.

    So yes, the space program should be a priority in the current budget crisis. (Are we ever *not* in a budget crisis?) Of course, NASA will get some cuts, and in fact was just cut some in the budget the President just signed.

    As for your point about building a rocket and a spaceship just to benefit the districts of powerful representatives, indeed that is a waste. We've already wasted untold billions on a rocket and a spaceship that was cancelled. There are better ways and much cheaper ways to build those things, as is being shown by SpaceX. But NASA should be doing it.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  167. James Savik

    We need NASA now more than ever. NASA is a technology driver. To build spacecraft and power system to operate and survive in the lethal environment of space, you have to push the edge of the envelope. That's why NASA has always been such a productive incubator of new technologies. Satellites, plastics, computer chips, medical research- entire industries have been born in this incubator. To abandon it or to defund it is killing the goose that just might lay the next golden egg.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  168. Gus - OH

    NASA must be supported. It is of strategic importance to the country. The US must have strong dominance of space for many reasons. Thus, NASA must be supported.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  169. Tony

    Why worry about space exploration? China will lead the way.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  170. Ben from NC

    Yes, NASA's budget should be a priority. It is understandable that there is a point of view that space exploration is a "luxury" in our countries fiscal climate, but I think that point of view does not take into account the long term future. Space exploration, specifically the technology/engineering development and scientific research that composes its foundation, is one of our nations finest and most plentiful sources of innovation. NASA innovates new technologies (not just space ships, but things like tools, welding methods, construction materials) that can give the US an edge over its competitors (i.e., China, Russia, India, and Europe) in aerospace, construction, military, and computer science industries. The $3 billion dollar investment should be seen, not as a short-term luxury, but a long term investment in the future of US industry

    April 21, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  171. Dean

    Just give the technology to China and they will build it for a fraction of that cost saving taxpayers billions. Plus it won't seem out of place since everything else we now have in the U.S.is MADE IN CHINA

    April 21, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  172. John N Florida

    I love it when somebody complains about cost/benefit ratio while typing on a computer that wouldn't be here WITHOUT the space program.
    The Mercury capsule had less computing power than my wrist watch. The invention of, maturing of, and miniaturization of computers was ALL accomplished in order to fit a package on a space craft that was light enough and small enough to lift into space.
    The household, cheap computers finally made market sense in the early 80s. My 1st one was a DEC Rainbow. Floppy disk program and target disks.
    In the early 80s an 8k ram set was the size of 4 telephone books stacked. 16k was 2 of those. And they weighed almost as much.
    There was absolutely no incentive, other than space and airborne, to diminish those sizes. When we, years ago, replaced the RAM modules on E-2Cs with stick memory loaded in the consoles, we had to install a lead plate to re-balance the airplane.
    As another poster also highlighted, not 1 penny was actually spent 'in Space'. Every penny and dollar went into paychecks for workers. From the Avionics Tech who aligned the platform to the 'dirty miner' who dug out the Titanium ore, they all participated in the 'Space Race'.
    WE can't afford NOT to invest in space. Besides the mission which is accomplished, the technology leaps keep us ahead of our competitors.
    If you don't think so, why do the Chinese spend so much money trying to 'hack' our computers?

    April 21, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  173. Junior

    The Answer is NO!! Space in the past served it's purpose, it was more than just space and science. It was a war against communist countries and socialism and we won that race and that battle but not the war.
    Now we have another battle China is becoming strong economically and there starting to catch up. they have plans to send a man to the moon and its more of just sending a man to the moon, its a message that says "ok we have done that as well". I think NASA has done amazing things and the people at NASA are what has made this country great. it shows the talent that our country has and the deternmination that anything is possible.

    NASA should not be dismatled or defunded rather it should be redirected, its focus has been on space and finding other life sustainable planets. Well we need this planet first!!
    NASA should now use their talents and know how to create new fuels we can use, ways to create and harness energy, solve our polution problem, how to get our planet in better shape, how can we as humans think we can searh for other planets when we cant manage our own.
    I think is wa JFK that said once... we chooce to do things not because they are easy, we choose to do them because they are hard.

    I think we have forgotten those words, time to get started on the hard things we need as a country need to do.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  174. Darren from Minneapolis

    NASA seems like the biggest waste of money possible, especially during a tough economy, but look at all it does. Tens of thousands of people are employed by NASA or work for companies that contract with them. Besides space ships, NASA has been a major force behind our country's technological advancement – in ways we never think about. NASA technology and research has brought us everything from GPS and Virtual Reality, to enriched baby food and athletic shoes! Big rockets may be the stated mission, but NASA's contributions to society far outweigh the pennies we spend on it.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  175. sftommy

    NASA's space program should be a priority even in budgetary struggles.

    The new Heavy Lift rocket being pushed by Senator Shelby, the "Shelby Lift" is a fiscal waste (and Shelby claims to in the GOP)! Our current heavy lift launch vehicles, the Atlas and Delta heavies can achieve every mission the "Shelby Lift" could, the difference being we'd be in space 5 or 6 years sooner and still have that $10B to invest in new space technologies.

    NASA's own worst friends are in Congress on Senator Shelby is certainly one of the worst!

    April 21, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  176. Adam

    C'mon Jack. You only have to have half a brain to understand the extremely deep connection between basic research and future economic prosperity. That's not to say that NASA shouldn't experience cuts, just like nearly all government programs need to. But anyone who is saying the things like 'NASA hasn't accomplished anything in 20 years' or 'NASA's budget should be cut to the bone' are just ignorant. Shutting down basic research programs will save us money in the short term, but 30 years from now we'll really regret that short-sightedness when other countries have better technology and more prosperous economies. Technology is the whole future Jack, and NASA's research always has been and will continue to be a huge part of that.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  177. Chris Nekvinda

    Jack,
    Good question (as usual)! In my opinion- Yes. yes we should be investing in the Space Program. In addition to the jobs associated with high tech R&D, we pole-vaulted to the front of the line by exploring and inventing, not trailing and doing what others have always done. Space exploration drives R&D, innovation, and jobs! We can't afford to lose the jobs or the benefits/advancements (medical, technology, etc). Next we will be saying- China went ot Mars, should we?

    Chris
    Athens, Ga

    April 21, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  178. John in Fairport, NY

    We can't afford to NOT continue with our space program. Both China and Russia are going full-speed ahead with their programs, and Russia just announced their plan to build a space station on the moon. Considering the alternative fuel resources on the moon, returning to the moon should be a priority. Our space progam only makes-up .2% of the national budget.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  179. Rich from California

    Of course we need to keep spending on NASA and space technologies. These are worthwhile pursuits that add to society, not like the billions spent blowing up other countries. Perhaps we can build a ship big enough to send the baby boomers out into space. That will solve the social security and Medicare problems.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  180. Mike, NH

    What if King Ferdinand had said there were higher prioriteis than the Nina, Piinta and Santa Maria? Exploration is in our blood. When we stop, we are dead as a species.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  181. KBinMN

    We spend about 36.5 billion dollars on the 3 programs Jack mentions. I would think we could eke out 3 billion for something that actually benefits the Nation. I'm not sure subsidized abortion does that.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  182. Gulf Coast Lifer

    The space program is not something that can be turned off and on annually based on the whim of politicians. The program certainly must have goals consistent with our national interests, but unless we want to go back to the stone age (no GPS, so satellite weather, no basic research into the origin of the universe and life, etc.) we as a society cannot simply fold our tent and join the luddites. We spend many more billions of dollars on boondoggle projects and social programs with no documented positive outcomes than we do on space research. If we turn off the program it will take much more money to restart these efforts and play catch up to China, India or Russian when we realize those nations have taken the high ground of space.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  183. greenarch

    I can't believe anyone would want to cut funding to NASA. In a time when the Chinese have the worlds fastest super computer, the most installed wind capacity, and the best infustructure, we can't aford to lower the budget of our only remaining leader in technology and inovation development. If there was no NASA we would not have the computer, solar power, kevlar, cellular networks and thousands of other inventions. Heres an idea; lets cut spending on the military. It is the only aspect of our society that has no real global competitor and it comsumes the largest amount of our national budget.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  184. Ed

    What foolishness. At a time when people are hungry, we should be thinking of going to the moon IF it is made of cheese!

    April 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  185. Josh Hansen

    No, it should not be a priority. We should be devoting that money to healing our planet instead of wasting it through corporations. It also promulgates a false hope that the future will be improved by some technological or alien breakthrough. Space spending is a symbolic distraction from the fact that each and every one of us can make a positive difference on spaceship Earth by grounding our efforts here in the ecosystems that we depend on for life and happiness.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  186. Spencer

    Money spent on the space program isn't spent in space, it is spent here on the ground and results in technologies that we can all use here at home.

    For example some of the data-compression used on the web now has its origins in NASA work to compress images radioed from planetary probes. The basic robotics work done for making space-rovers (and for making them radiation tolerant) contributed to the technology of the robots currently assisting the Japanese in the Fukushima plant. Studying the bone changes from living in low-gravity space stations lead to the insights that allow us now to have anti-osteoporosis drugs.

    The benefits of NASA's research aren't always obvious up front, but in retrospect you can find a ton of useful technologies with origins in NASA's basic research. This is 'seed corn' for US technological competitiveness; we need to invest in it.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  187. Christopher Miller

    Yes! Many of the things we take for granted today like velcro and computers were developed because of the space program.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  188. Matt

    NASA should always be a priority and so should American Excellence.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  189. Darryl Wolfe

    Yes, we should continue to fund NASA. If we have a budget shortfall, cut the TSA or DHS – they don't deliver the value that NASA does – especially in technology advancements.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  190. Chris

    So what happens when the meteor comes to free us from this mortal coil? We tell ourselves we should have spent some money on some rockets...

    April 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  191. Kevin

    Yes, the space program is essential in inspiring young people to do well in science and math. Without a manned space program nearly all of the techies around would have done something else with their lives.

    We deserve to have inspiration in our lives and better our future generations.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  192. DAC

    Earthquakes and Tsunami's we normally can not do anything about. But should an asteroid target CA, and we discover it 2 years before it impacts, and the space program was effectively shut down due to budget, that would be a bad day.
    There are things we can cut, like supercoliders and researching cow farts...

    April 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  193. Eric

    Yes this should be a priority. We are worried about falling behind the world in many areas, so are we to give this one up too?

    April 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  194. Ian Schmeisser

    The Space Program is the 21st century version of CCC. Not only do we facilitate great leaps in technology, people get jobs doing it. The future of solar power generation lies in space.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  195. Paul S Polgar

    Absolutly and positivly NO ! Been there done that and science advances so it appears that there is no gain in National Security ,and nothing gained in Economy.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  196. Bob from SC

    Keep in mind it takes 10-15-20 yrs to develop these things. Kill it now, the people leave. It will cost 2X as much and take 2x as long to get back to where you WERE .

    You see the same thing in the commercial nuclear industry. There are now only 1-2 companies building the things. And they have kept their people only by building for overseas clients (aka China).

    April 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  197. Dave A. Ginder

    NO PRIORITY, BUT the politicians will say this is just a drop in the bucket, and can't see that those drops add up to half of the bucket volume.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  198. Mike Rich

    Jack,
    we should ground NASA!!!!! I think it costs $17 billon a year, and that is a waste of money especially during a budget crisis.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  199. Donovan

    I'd rather have NASA than welfare. The government will pay you to have kids, via the Earned Income Credit. I'd rather explore space than pay people to be deadbeats.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  200. Karl in Flint

    Jack, as I read some of these replies, I can't believe there are this many ignorant or misinformed fellow Americans. NASA is as relevant to our future as defense and health care, but I guess they are just as ignorant of those topic, too.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  201. Marilyn D

    Granted that some great innovations have resulted from the space program....but right now the priority should be to get back to having a chicken in every pot.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  202. Janice Machado

    Absolutely not. Our children need teachers first, our communities need firemen & policemen first.
    When we have no debt to China, let's then consider NASA. We've been there done that & who is going to move to the moon tomorrow? Not us.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  203. Todd

    There is a huge amount of interest in gethering more information from the moon in regard to the gathering of Helium-3, which had been thought to exist in only limited amounts anywhere. Now we know there are vast amounts of it on the moon. This Helium-3 is needed for fusion power, which could answer mankind's energy problems for the next 100 or more years. I for one will be happy if we get back to the moon.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  204. soneill

    Yes. We absolutely cannot afford to do without it. There is really so much other garbage that this country can afford to "cut" or streamline.If the reasons to keep the space program are not obvious, then the country is in real trouble. It's really kind of pathetic that this question is even being asked-shows where we have come (I mean gone) as a society.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  205. Matthew

    NASA has launched numerous industries into being and the technology they develop just keeps finding uses. Lets keep an organization that has a proven record of developing useful technology funded. It wouldn't hurt to help fund one of the few areas we still can have pride in being number one at.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  206. Deb

    Only under one condition: That the space program can locate a viable GOP Candidate on another planet to run for President. Seriously, no it should not

    Deb
    Maryland

    April 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  207. Stephanie

    Thank you, Jack. I was beginning to wonder why no one, including politicans were not addressing this topic. While many jobs would probably be lost if the space program was cut or discontinued, there are too many other "needs" in this country. I am tired of the political game that politicians and lobbyists are playing. And, whle we are looking at the budget...when are the politcians going to vote themselves a pay cut?

    April 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  208. Steve

    YES! The mere idea that two or three Americans can travel a quarter-million miles from Washington D.C. should provide a much-needed ray of hope to us all.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  209. Flossie McFadden

    The space program should be put on hold during a budget crisis. I think jobs should be the only priority the house and senate should be thinking of now and jobs only!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  210. Albert O'Connor

    Just start listing the everyday things that came and still come from the space program. As simple as diapers and nonstick surfaces and as complex as robotics. We need the development of space craft to spur research and development in the everyday.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  211. John R.

    Space Technology:
    Satelite TV. GPS locaters. Hurricane/Weather predicitions. Hubble Space images. ISS Research. Mars Rovers. Confirmation of the Big Bang (COBE). Etc. Etc. ETc.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  212. Kyle W

    Only a fraction of 1% of the federal budget is spent on NASA. Space exploration is one of the only things tying together us as a species anymore (aside from multiple military conflicts, that is) so I don't see a problem with it at all. Take a look at all the innovations that have risen from NASA and have been integrated into our society and I think you'll agree. 3 billion dollars to ward of stagnation is a miniscule price to pay and those that disagree need to look at the bigger picture.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  213. Art Lee

    It's a big priority for me, Jack. I have no children or grandchildren to worry about as the budget collapses, so I want the money all spent right now. The moon landings and the flight to Mars will give me free and entertaining TV shows to watch twenty years from now when I'm sitting around in a nursing home.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  214. Vicki Sinha

    You bet it should! With the way governments are lolly gagging around about the global warming issue we'd better have a robust space program that can identify and get us to a new planet before this one becomes uninhabitable! The rate at which the ice caps are melting the budget deficit looks pretty paltry!

    April 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  215. Dan

    Cutting off funding for NASA would be a mistake. The space program has provided us with many innovations that have enhanced our everyday lives. We should look at other ways of bringing down the debt before examining NASA.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  216. RickFromDetroit

    I have always supported spending programs for the betterment of this
    Country, but when I listen to our Elected Officials deny their own citizens the most basic necessities such as housing, food, health care, and education because it costs too much, all I can say about a $3 billion dollar space ship is "scrap it".

    April 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  217. Connor from Illinois

    NASA is a crucial program in America. As a human race we need to advance our technology and someday may need to leave our Earth behind. How do we do that, find new cures for diseases, and keep our nation and planet safe if we are grounded for the next 10 or so years? In my mind NASA should be given more money so that we can get things done sooner rather than later. But that's just my thought.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  218. Mary Boies

    It depends. If the $3 billion is spent on new research and technologies, it is well spent and will make advances that can be used elsewhere. But If the amount goes to more of what we already know or have, then the money is (yet another) waste.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  219. Rick from Los Angeles

    In 1 word no.

    We need to stay grounded and fix our economy before we can start thinking about the stars. Let's let the private sector take to the stars and let's let our federal government reduce our out of control spending on projects that will not benefit joe everyperson.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  220. david williams

    Absolutely! Three billion for the next "Tang", or "Velcro"? Now thatis a bargain price.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  221. Paul S Polgar

    There is no gain in National Security, and certainly not in reducing the budget deficit.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  222. Maurice Dupre

    This is a good example of corporate welfare. The Republicans obviously don't really care about the deficit, just about partisonship.

    The military budget is an even bigger example of corporate welfare. That is where real budget cuts can be made. But since the recipients of this largesse return a percentage of the take in campaign contributions, we continue to have the best government that money can buy.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  223. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    The technology created by our space programs hugely benefitted America. The innovations created jobs, manufacturing, intelligence, and military superiority. Would you like to wake up one day to a world where China and India could travel to the stars, while we couldn't afford the gas in our cars? Not me. We must invest in what makes us great.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  224. bumble bee smith

    I live 7 miles from NASA and my answer is yes
    God will take revenge upon you Jack if they take NASA away from Mankind. I will hate you forever Jack, but will still watch you since you are my age and have some inte on things. buy US bonds to save it

    April 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  225. Bill Cote

    The return to tyhe moon is important.
    Just as Russia planted their flag at the bottom of the North Pole to claim it as Russian Territory, the USA planted its flag on the Moon claiming the Moon as USA Territory.
    We must return there within the UN specified time period in order to continue said claim.
    There are resources and strategic benefits from owning the Moon.
    It's not just exploring for exploring's sake.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  226. Keith

    It would be money well spent If they put congress when the rocket is done building and send them to the moon.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  227. Desmond Smith

    Jack I completely disagree I am College Student Learning about math, Science, Astronomy, English, History everything you could imagine. whats the point of studying for the future if the future is going to only be about fuel prices, watching politics fight like school girls, and what Charlie Scheen will do next. Space is our key for the future. Taking money away from science, and space exploration, puts us one step closer to our failure as a society. Ask any Physicist, Scientist, or any intelligent human being and they would agree Space exploration is the last, and only road left for this failing society to invest in.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  228. Marta

    I don't think we should cut funding to the space program, but I do think it is time to get our priorities in order. Maybe we should be questioning more whether we want so much money spent by Corporations on lobbyists, whose only job is to sway our government and buy elections.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  229. Connor Mulhern

    Unless there is the possibility of getting to Mars to harvest its resources within the next 20 or so years, no. This is just one part of the bigger budget problem, as senators are more interested in getting re elected, than doing what is best for the country. If we can stop this kind of behavior, maybe we can solve the budget crisis.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  230. Mark B.

    I too would rather have NASA than NPR, PPor ANY entitlements. Just think of the places we could have gone with the Frannie and Freddy bailout alone.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  231. rheapdx1

    Yes...

    For one, the overall benefits of the space program are spread out over multiple parts of the society...even the means that the blogposts come across have their roots in the space program. As do medical breakthroughs...

    Secondly it is not just Boeing and Lockheed Martin and their employees who will cash in, so to speak. Morton Thiokol, Northrup-Grumman, Honeywell, Burroughs, Rockwell International, Airbus Industrie, GM, Ford, Sony and many many others will get involved as well. As such many more will be employed...more than Vigin Galactic can claim.

    Third....the intent would not just to go back to the moon but to Mars and then [very longterm] others planets. Which can in turn inspre others to want to work for NASA, JPL, KSC and other space related agencies and sites.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  232. david, CA

    Keep Nasa- cut bloated Congressional salaries and benefits They aren't even close to doing the jobs they were hired to do. Make them earn their keep!

    April 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  233. Dan

    Go ahead and cut the funding if you like. If you do have NASA's last mission be a shuttle to Mars with Donald Trump on board. Oh wait... he is from Mars, so I guess the shuttle will be empty

    April 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  234. Dav4id Maruna

    During the New World Discovery years there was a huge money crunch. Christopher Columbus Couldn't get funding from his own country, and Isabella of Spain had to hock her jewelry to fund to expedition. Here's the Q: What if, after finding the New World they quit? "Yeah, it's over there. No need to go back, we've been there and done that.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  235. Dr. John Koegel

    Think about it Jack, without a history of silly congressional support, NASA would never have put satelites into orbit to carry this commentary to your listeners. John Koegel

    April 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  236. Rob V

    Yes, the space program is critical. There are many economic and scientific reasons, but the most significant is defense. Other countries like China are spending liberally on their space programs and we are in the danger of losing space superiority. Loss of space superiority would be a disaster to our military which relies heavily on space assets such as gps and other satellites. Without having access to healthy space program, another nation could remove our satellites at their leisure crippling our military and have control of the "high ground."

    April 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  237. Joe from Phoenix

    C'mon Jack, I'm a fan of yours but really??? If you want to pick on a slush fund or ridiculously funded venture pick something real and concrete. NASA funding is a drop in the bucket and you know it. Pick on the Super Carriers (U.S.S. Gerald Ford, or such) where "one" costs twice as much as NASA's budget or pick on something else we don't need. How does that Ira Gershwin song go? "They all laughed at Christopher Columbus, when he said the earth was round..." We spend tons trying to prove evolutionary theories and other nonsense that have no consequence whether they are right or wrong, yet we scoff at what humans are prone to do...discover. We humans have an innate curiosity about "everything" and space exploration is the next stone uncovered, not to mention the technologies we uncover while trying to get there. Keep it real and get over NASA's budget. Keep Americans employed and focus on more useful slush funds like Nancy Pelosi's tax payer funded trip to Europe a while back....now that was great journalism! Still and always a fan! Keep up the great work Jack!

    April 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  238. Ron Jones

    I think we all agree that cuts need to be made, but lets make the cuts where they make sense. I am sure there is much more than 3 billion dollars in frivolous spending than the space program. With all the spin offs of the first space program how can one say cut the next. It only make sense. Sure there is lobbying by the industry, so what, there is lobbying for everything else too. Common sense should prevail ( not sure Washington knows what this is). Should always explore new frontiers. Thanks Jack--"beam me up Scotty"

    April 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  239. Bluejeans

    I don't see how we can NOT afford to fund NASA.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  240. Scotty

    Absolutely yes the Space Program must always be a HIGH Priority item, budget crisis or not. We have already been behind in space once (Sputnik) and we should never allow ourselves to slide out of the number one position again. The gap between the Shuttle flying and the next step is horrible enough but we must forever from now on keep NASA at the top of the list, right beside National Defense.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  241. Grandma Ne Ne

    I have never posted but times are very scary. My answer is absolutely No. In these times when education/schools are being cut and medical benefits are being taken away or reduced from the poor and possibly the elderly in the future; How can anyone in this country place money into these types of projects. I just shutter at what I see in politics today.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  242. CARMAG

    Compared to what the US Senators and Congressmen cost to us and this against to what they produce is a better way to waste our money.
    At least NASA creates jobs-albeit hi tech jobs-provided that the parts are not Made In China.
    Viva la piñata.
    Greetings

    April 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  243. Linda

    Yes, of course NASA should be a priority. Science and research are extremely important for American jobs and for Americans. To cut back on NASA any further would be like outsourcing American jobs to other countries who are willing to invest in science and research.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  244. Steven

    being only 20. i've never seen mankind travel beyond Earth orbit.
    I think it would be interesting to see man on another world like the moon again.
    Maybe they could give the task to SpaceX. have them pay for it.
    they could probibly get there faster then NASA could.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  245. Stephfan

    i think they should cut NASA's spending, it's to much money and we've already been to the moon. We can go back another time.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  246. Ronda (from Canastota, NY)

    I'm just as curious as the next person about what lies within our solar system and beyond. However, all the money being wasted on sending rockets into space could be better spent to improve the safety and overall quality of life for those of us forever Earthbound. We need to put the space program on hold and solve the problems on this planet before we venture out to determine if Mars really is populated by little green men.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  247. George from Sarasota, FL

    No, NASA should not be a priority.

    Yes, it is nice to see those lovely space pictures on TV and the web, but for a mjority of Americans, there is no benefit to building a new rocket and capsule today.

    $3 billion can help save cuts in Medicare. The budget will make it more difficult and expensive for the millions on Medicare to get private insurance. $3 billion can go a long way to help them.

    NASA has to do its part as the rest of the country, and they should give the people back that $3 million so it can save lives.

    For when people lose their insurance, many will die because they cannot afford the medicine that right now is keeping them alive.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  248. Sweetie Pie in Georgia

    Dear Jack,

    I TOTALLY agree with you. This country has been spending boatloads of money on un-needed things, but this would really top them ALL! I just dont understand that while all of this conflict with us and the middle east, and so much more going on we are woried about NASA! We should forget about NASA! I mean what more do we absolutley NEED to know about space right this minute! I loved the comment you made: "Been there done that!" I hope the president was watching.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  249. Armando Sanchez from NJ

    You call it funding for space ships, I call it funding for the enlightenment of humanity. I only wish we could afford to spend more.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  250. Rick Honeberger

    Yes we should keep the Space program going. We will need a place to go after WE destroy what's left of earth. The real question should be–Who got all the money spent by Boeing and Lockheed Martin lobbyists?

    April 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  251. Nathan

    As long as the organization is structured to generated a financial ROI, it is worth having and even expanding. Many industries that have given the United States an edge when it comes to our products and services are a result of technologies developed by NASA and other public science agencies.

    The commercial sector makes products, but they are allocating fewer and fewer resources to developing technologies that go into those products. Science and Technology is key if we are to give life to new industries.

    NASA could be an enabler of mining the moon and asteroids for resources as they become increasingly scarce on Earth. Something like that would generate a big ROI for our economy.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  252. John

    Jack, I think people forget that the research and development for the space program lead to the miniaturization of electronics, the personal computer, the microwave oven and countless other technical benefits in our lives. Also, you've complained about the U.S. falling behind in Science. The space program has been one of our greatest scientific endeavors and we can not give up our leadership in this most forward looking pursuit. Money for the space program is an investment, one which has payed off spectacularly!

    April 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  253. Greg M.

    Jack,
    I agree.We really need to send a rocket into space to save the possibly lost 5,000+ jobs?We really don't need healthcare,public radio,abortion,or college funding.Just send all the unused equipment,sick people,and pregnant women inside that rocket on a 1-way trip.1 shot,2 kills.It will be both efficient and money $aving,and Congre$$ can reward them$elveS with a one week bonu$ vacation.Sheesh.(Sarcasm) Greg M. Largo,FL

    April 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  254. David Calef

    NASA's $38-billion provides thousands of jobs and research with a value that is immeasureable to the United States and the human race. Without NASA, you cable network would not exist as you use satellites to stay "on the air". From medical, science, education, etc. the value is intense. The $38-million is a reduced budget by Obama who postponed man flight efforts for the present because the shaky economy. And how many thousands are being laid off as the shuttle ends this summer? The space program is in a sliming down mode, ending programs, trimming others and postponing more. Your question does not look at the whole picture as far as that is concerned.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  255. cdt

    Science is important. And while it's tempting to cut budgets in times of stress, we have to remember that NASA projects can take decades to complete. Cutting the budget this year would be like missing the last payment on a car. You've already spent most of the money, but you lose the car. Penny wise and dollar foolish.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  256. Carl in San Diego

    Jack, just face it, our country has left Democracy in the dust. It is now either a theocratic plutocracy or a plutocratic theocracy, depending who has the biggest pockets and/or voice at the time. So, right now, in my opinion, NASA, being the overall the leader in technological advancements in the U.S. still needs our support.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  257. Terry W. Himes

    How do you think most of the Research & Development in the US comes from to keep us technically competent! You can be sure China, Japan, and India are spending billions on there technical programs. The US cannot pretend to continue to be the leader in the world without it. Most of the technology transfer into the private section comes from NASA and defense. Everything you enjoy today in Medical, Transportation and Communications has started from our funding of NASA. Look around you, everything you use today is a direct benefit of that spending. Get your head straight and think about how fast the US would denigrate without it.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  258. Dylan

    We are fond of saying that not enough Americans are going into science or engineering, that we are falling behind India and other rising nations. And then we say that we should cut jobs for scientists and engineers. NASA more than pays for itself in ways we can't easily measure economically. How many American children would want to pursue physics if they knew that only Russia and Europe and eventually Asia had particle accelerators or space programs, that science was valued abroad but not at home?

    April 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  259. david, CA

    soneill- is totally clueless about all the things that have come from the space program (not the least – microchips used in the computer soneill is typing their drivel on). Oh sure it's all "garbage"- pathetic that someone even thinks that! I'm sure china is just dying for us to cut it.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  260. Mark Brecher

    Heck yes...I don't want them to cut off my escape route

    April 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  261. Lexter

    We have a president who states that USA is and should always be on the forefront of technology. For over 30 years this has been the case because NASA has been leading the way.

    If anything think of the 3 Billions dollars has part of the stimulus and the money spent is keeping some of America's brightest employed!!! 🙂

    April 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  262. Travis in Chicago

    yes Jack, NASA's funding of a new space rocket is essential. Let’s send Trump, Bachamnn, and Palin into outerspace. I see the making of a new reality tv show, for “fixed” Fox news.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  263. Cary

    The real point isn't should military spending and tax breaks for the rich be priorities? This country has been attacked since Pearl Harbor and yet we are maintaining a wartime military with no end in sight. NASA is a tiny portion of the budget and does a lot of good. Watched satellite TV or used a phone lately? Slash the tax breaks to the rich and cut military spending in half. If you also close all the loop holes to corporations and rich along with slashing the tax cuts added to the military cuts we'd save a trillion a year not every ten years. Suddenly we are in range of balancing the budge and that's before we attack the real fat.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  264. Ryan-Andrew in San Antonio, TX

    Jack, I think it should be more than a priority.... it's a necessity! The space race inspired much great advancement in technology much of which we take for granted today. Furthermore, it was in an inspiration to people of the likes of Homer Hickam. I feel that in times like these we must cut back on spending, increase taxes where it is just, and continue programs to foster education and interest among young people in the fields of Math & Science. What is the point of saving programs like the Pell Grant and, like in Texas, Tuition Equalization Grants if we are going to cut away from programs that have proven to inspire and drive innovation among our people? We can’t just be thinking of the immediate future but the long-term as well. I was upset when President Obama said there would be no plans to build a replacement for the space shuttle program. It’s sad that the nation that has made some of the greatest strides in the space race is now having to “piggy back” a ride from the Russia.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  265. Chris

    The space program is probably the most important thing in the budget...no amount of money spent on extra cat scans for dying grandma and bank bailouts for poorly run companies will give the human race the benefits that can be found via space technology and exploration...Plus if the republicans have their way we will need a new earth soon enough.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  266. Kevin in Panama City, Florida

    Yes it's important. Where ever we find ourselves in this mess we are in the middle of a war machine battle. We produce the best bombs possible.
    The best "on the fly" messes ever seen in American history.
    Lets all be real... The war machine has got our country under control.
    I want us to withdraw but to try this will get you killed in America.

    You ask is the space program important during financial crisis?
    Yes, and again I say yes. We are gonna need it!!!!!

    April 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  267. Donna Sonnier

    Space program is nothing more than corporate welfare. I have worked temp assignment at Boeing and 95 percent of employees do nothing but plan lunch dinner and softball games. Other than tHat they leave and go to all the bars and icehouses in nearby kemah. I didn't fit cause I refused to play softball and or babysit. I was in charge of reservimg conference rooms while as I was the replacement for the cute blue eyed blonde with fake boobs obtained her a la carye business degree on corporate money and time and worked to get her manic insecure husbAnd hired on.I had numerous secretaries curse me out and go to my supervisor on me because I overrode their conference room schedules when the CEO requested a room. One staff person finished reading her entire volume of that witch series etc!

    April 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  268. Mike Roe

    This is an investment in new cutting edge technology. An investment in methods to go deeper into space on manned missions. You and Pres. Obama are in agreement in that Pres. Obama cancelled going to the moon months ago because we have "been there and done that". He stated we need to push for new technologies, to solve new problems which NASA is good at doing.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  269. Jim from NJ

    Yes, NASA is a priority, especially during times of economic difficulty. Scientific research provide the US the foundation needed to inovate and be more efficent when the business cycle goes back up.

    Alot of the space research/technology eventually transfers the consumer market and help enhance our lives.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  270. Dan

    Yes they should keep funding NASA.

    Don't forget the real underlying purpose of the space station was to keep all those Russian rocket scientists busy after they all lost their jobs at the end of the Cold War. Otherwise they'd have been busy working for hostile countries helping them to improve their ballistic missile technology. If you de-fund all these people where do you think they are going to go to earn a living doing what they know how to do?...

    April 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  271. JJ

    The space program is one of the best things we do, and historically has been the source of technological innovation. I would far rather spend money on the space program than on war.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  272. CRAIG

    Jack, yes it seems to be a bunch of money but, if we as humans stop the exploration process outside our earth boundries, we will suffer even more. The thought that we will delay our space program and development of yes, the science is not acceptable. The greatest moment of my life was the birth of my son. The most memorable was watching the maturity of the Mercury Program to the Landings on the Moon. I've got a spare $50 this week....I'll send it to NASA and wish I had more! Thanks

    April 21, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  273. Greg P

    What you are suggesting is to leave one more tab for the next generation to pick up. Add that to crumbling infrastructure – water and sewer lines, bridges and highways, public school buildings, etc. (And yet there are billions available for new high-speed rail?) Space exploration has already proved its worth as noted by many of the comments above. As a people we NEED to stretch beyond our current situation. Why not stop all scientific research as well? We can just milk the inventions we already have – while destroying our position as a world leader in many fields. Waiting for our current situation to be perfect before looking ahead is unforgivably short sighted.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  274. Jay

    As a current and soon-to-be ex employee in the NASA workforce, I'm always amazed that most think NASA loads up every rocket with $100 bills to send to space to release. Like an government program, there are areas for significant improvment, but NASA's total budget accounts for less than 0.6% of the national budget. How much could you do in a day without technology gleaned from NASA? Throw away your smartphone and the airbags in your car. Don't watch weather reports or use GPS because those use information gained from satellites, which likely wouldn't be there without NASA learning the hard lessons of space launch. I could go on, but won't. Without exploration and colonization, humankind is one small asteroid strike away from extinction. I guess that's one way to end poverty, hunger, sickness, and disease, but I think there are better options.
    Poverty, violence and disease have been around as longer than we have and will probably continue after we are a distant memory. The space program is vital to all humankind and as we work together with other nations, costs come down and we still are able to expand our reaches outside of this pale, blue dot that we call home.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  275. Don Meier

    Absolutly No!!!!!!! I never thought about the benifits of the space program until my coworker brought up the interesting fact of what really are the benifits of the space program? Tell me one benifit the average American recieves from the space program? I myself cannot name one! This question was posed to me by my coworker,frankly i was speechless,we got velcro was all i could come up with. Don in Wisconsin

    April 21, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  276. Mark James - Miami

    The only problem with the United States is our short sighted point of view. Cut the space program ? ; are you Crazy !. Our only hope for the future lies in th frontiers of space. Does the name Christopher Columbus ring a bell ?

    April 21, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  277. Bsol9791

    Yes, let's cut spending on future technology, cut education, cut healthcare, cut everything of benefit to the people while we hand out trillions to corrupt corporations and cut taxes for the extremely wealthy.

    America! What a country!

    April 21, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  278. Ray Seidel

    Yes, because for every dollar we invest in NASA, we get between a $7 to $11 dollar return. Name another government program that does that.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  279. Jim

    only if it is loaded with politicians and has no program to return it to earth

    April 21, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  280. Jeff

    NASA creates new technology and inspires kids which leads to innovation, creates jobs and makes the United States more competitive. NASA also improves our image as a country to people around the world. Instead of being known as the nation which spends the most on its military it would be nice to be known as the nation who put a man on Mars or found the first sign of life outside our planet.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  281. Ralph Spyer

    First fund Social security 100%, Two fund schools so are children do not all have to work a wal mart, third fund the gulf states that B.P murder instill terror, Obama will spend this money on space because he been pay off

    April 21, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  282. Dave, Minnesota

    I am all for space exploration, but it may not be the highest priority now. what's really obscene is the $3 Billion for an election!!

    April 21, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  283. Bob in Texas

    Jack, scientific pursuit requires continuity. Moreover, now is not the time to cut back on domestic spending that creates and maintains jobs while generating so much positive economic benefit. The space program has generated literally trillions in economic activity, created millions of high paying jobs, advanced medical science, and made our lives better with spinoff technologies. Cutting back on the space program is cutting back on economic development. It's the wrong move at this time.

    Instead, Obama should issue an executive order cutting non-military salaries over $120K by 20%, 75K-120K by 15%, 50K to 75K by 10% and 5% for everyone else. No cuts for uniform soldiers below the rank of Major. 10% for Major and above. This is preferable to laying people off and early retirements which would simply add the unemployment figures.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  284. SBeck

    I would rather pay a billion dollars to engineers who work for NASA than trillions who do nothing for our society.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  285. Sadie in Huntsville

    I agree with previous comments to share the cuts across the government equally. Sure, you can gut NASA and retrieve that whole 0.5% of spending, but it won't come remotely close to beginning to solve the financial mess of our government - and
    there we'll be, having eaten the seed corn of our space program and science research. Here's a thought: let's do away with 'the law' that civil servants can't be booted simply because they're civil servants. I'm not talking about those who do their jobs well. I'm talking about the significant amount of human ballast that earns overpayment for little or no performance. It would be a good start.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  286. Rodno

    I believe that the space program is more than rockets and trips to the moon. It is a reflection of the dreams and aspirations of this great country. Many don't realize all of the modern conviences we take for granted, that are a direct result of NASA. The space program, has in the past, and will in the future inspire our children to dream, to innovate and strive to do the impossible. I am happy my grandson may have American astronauts, (not Chinese) to look up to. However, I dispise this sneaky, Washington as usual, back door way of creating this funding.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  287. My Coyne

    NASA budget has been flat for years. Furthermore, the research at NASA brought much advances to science and technology: we have learned
    about the Sun and the space environment it creates and in which we live. Then there is Earth Science. There are not other sciences that has had
    more impact on society than Earth science and space has made that possible. For the future of our science, U.S. space program should not be
    cut. Give the young scientists something to look forward to; how one would encourage young kids to learn science, and there is no work for
    them?
    –MDC (Maryland)

    April 21, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  288. Carl

    There are always going to be domestic issues at home. If you let that limit research or exploration, America wouldn't exist and we'd still be stuck in Europe.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  289. AJ in SD

    Only if we start taxing the campaign donations. Those taxes could be used to offset some of the spending that is being proposed. I really don't expect any change. The company's with the most money can buy the best political representation. It dosen't matter if they are republican or democrat they have all sold their souls to there donors.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  290. Mike Robinson RN

    Jack, the answer is absolutely no, does anyone in Washington have any "common sense" anymore? I live in a town where we lost our Critical Access Hospital do to what amounted to about $300,000. Our town lost 100 jobs and about five other businesses failed because of it. My streets have "craters" for potholes and my sidewalks are falling down. I (we) do not need to build a rocket to find more craters on the moon. Matter of fact, a hospital in another county is close to failing also. Both of these hospital's served very rural area's. My Dad who had very good "common sense" would fix our side walks first before we leave the planet for work. Watch you every night, continue to ask the hard questions. I'm listening, and many more also and we plan on voting again soon.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  291. Kevin

    Yes, but the role should change to management of operations, enforcement of standards, etc... the rockets should be outsourced.

    Private industry, SpaceX etc all have already proven they can do a better job at a much lower cost.

    Nasa should still send robots out to other planets, conduct research, and send astronauts out using designs created & built by private industry.

    We should never give up the oversight & management of operations but private industry should provide the muscle.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  292. Jamie in Florida

    The space program is an absolute priority. For every $1 we invest in the Space program we get on average $7 in technology development – imaging technology, self- healing wires, programmable pacemakers, solar energy technologies. The list is very long. NASA is an essential ingredient in maintaining the technological and economic growth of our country.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  293. Harry E. Swift Jr,

    The congressmen up in the whitehouse have gone insane. There are a million more things more important than the space program, at this time.
    Education, Jobs, training workers to fit available jobs, the budget. I don't know all the things that are more important than space.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  294. BILLY D MARSHALL

    yes,i like making money. that 3 billion is worth 12 billion in research n development! we owe a lot to our space program.if you dont believe that look around you,like pc,cell phones, satillite dishesm,gps etc. its well worth the investment!

    billy d marshall
    bismarck,arkansas

    April 21, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  295. Matt

    Did Portugal have this discussion in the early 16th Century?

    Hey Guys, you know, right now, we're the most powerful Nation on Earth. We were the first to explore the New World, opening up vast riches and resources. But.... eh, it's too expensive. Better let Britain and Spain do it for us. Whatever happened to Portugal?

    I wonder what the Chinese lectures will be like in a hundred years on how America, the leader in space exploration, all of a sudden decided they "couldn't afford" to continue on while spending much more on tax breaks for the wealthy, corporate welfare, and losing wars.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  296. Sweetie Pie in Georgia

    Once again, I would like to say that NASA IS NOT NECISSARY!

    In case you have not heard, America is in debt!

    As much as I love this country I believe we do not need a space program!

    April 21, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  297. William Brown, Chattanooga, TN

    The Space Program is on par with education, alternative energy research, NPR, women's health programs, NEA, and entitlements. Programs that are not essential are contracts to fund the half a trillion dollar defense budget and the Bush Era tax cuts. The hundreds of military bases, both domestic and abroad, need to be cut and taxes must be raised on individuals making $150,000/yr or more in a progressive manner. IRS tax loopholes for those individuals need to be eliminated at the at echelons and then tax rates should be increased as as well as income increases for the wealthier.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  298. Apollo18

    Just a simple question – where does anyone think that the money NASA spends goes? It is paid to employees (directly or through their contractors like Boeing or Lockheed Martin), who in turn stimulate the economy. They then have money to buy products from more local manufacturers and so on down the line. Any money that the government spends on government projects really does benefit everyone. From an economics standpoint, it's no different than giving people tax rebates, and who would object to that?

    Does anyone honestly think that the best thing a government can do to stimulate economy is to be tight-fisted with their own spending? Don't be naïve.

    And of course, this says nothing about the substantial side benefits that space exploration has given to us, and will continue to do so. Unless Americans have given up altogether on continuing to be a world power – I'm sure that other countries like China will gladly take up the mantle.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  299. Michael

    Yes, It drives technology and it also helps humanity find another world sometime in the distant future to replace the one we are destroying today.

    If mankind is to survive, we need to have an escape capability. May as well start planning now.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  300. mendrys

    You're right Jack. Now is certainly not the time to be investing in the future. I mean really what has NASA ever done for us? I mean besides being a major innovator whose innovations are seen in modern constuction, cell phones, computers, GPS technology, surveillance technology for the millitary, weather sattelites...etc, what else have they done? Now is not the time for innovation. We need to let our European and Asian counterparts do this. Besides, instead of a new rocket program we need a couple more stealth bombers to fight the commies. Boeing and Lockheed? Who needs them. There's Airbus and Embraer. The jobs that those US companies generate certainly don't benefit anyone don't they the greedy bastards.

    As well, how dare states such as Texas, Utah and Maryland support programs that benefit their citizenry.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  301. Chuck

    No, the space program should not be a priority. We have enough problems with life on earth, we don't need to be worrying about life on other palnets just yet. Any technologies that are useful outside the space program can be developed independently.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  302. L.A.I.

    Because of the cuts that have already happened to the shuttle program, the Russians are going to be flying our astronauts into space. Do we want to rely on the Russians for the future of innovation in our country? I think not. Is Russia's budget any better than ours? What if they cut their program and we can't even use their rockets?

    April 21, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  303. Bill La Honda, CA

    KEEP THE SPACE PROGRAM. It's one of our biggest accomplishments as a country that spins out new technologies from electronics to fabrics. Global communications, battery tech, new materials, etc. etc. You want to cut spending? Cut out the entitlements and give-aways. And don't give my tax money to foreign countries that NEVER pay us back, but always hold their hand out for more. And NO OBAMACARE. That will bankrupt us.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  304. Daniel Yount

    NASA should be a priority, not only is it given its mandate in the U.S Constitution under Article 1 section 8 clause 8 to promote science and useful arts, it actually works. NASA makes more money than you put into it. You can even check this by looking through NASA Spinoffs booklet that is put out each year showing its invention and discoveries. Examples would be the material that the Iphones and USB sticks are made out of , Apple recently bought this patent. Also, the Apollo era inventions like scratch resistant sunglasses and plastics. Why would you cut a program that makes more money than you put into it.?

    April 21, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  305. TucsonTom

    We can't afford NOT to fund or even expand NASA! The 3 investments that ALWAYS lead to greater prosperity when there is strong, long term commitment are exploration, infrastructure and basic research. We had decades of prosperity largely fueled by the Apollo program, after long term cutbacks we lost the edge the inventions , engineers and scientists gave us.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  306. Tim, NC

    The reason America is in a financial crisis is because the country is losing that 1 thing that made us great. Innovation. If we abandon the space program and other scientific endeavors we lose the ability to move forward as a society and fall behind the rest of the world. 3 billion is a relatively small budget compared to what NASA used to receive. I for one am happy to see that some of the leaders in our country understand this and are acting accordingly.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  307. Sweetie Pie in Georgia

    Yes NASA is inspiring, I agree. But cant that wait. Now just think about this, Jack is not saying: SHUT DOWN NASA! he's politley saying that we have other, moree important things to worry about right now....like tha fact that we are in trillions of dollars in debt.

    Jack, thank you for your thoughts. I agree. You know what is as inspiring as NASA? your words!

    April 21, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  308. kevin, Missouri

    We need to build a rocket capable of transporting the congress and senate to mars, where they can wreak havoc without consequence.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:43 pm |