.
July 6th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

In light of Nat'l Debt, what priority should the space program have?

In 2003, Former President George W. Bush announced plans to phase out the space shuttle program by 2010 and instead shift the focus and funding to what was named the Constellation program - a plan to send man back to the moon by 2020. This is all part of a bigger plan to eventually send a manned space mission to Mars.

None of that may happen any time soon. The country is broke and in a nasty recession and as a result, the Constellation Program is being reconsidered because of budgetary constraints.

The projected cost for the Constellation capsule itself, which would go to the moon, is estimated at $150 Billion and climbing. Keep in mind that in 2009, just $6 Billion was allotted for space exploration. Florida Senator John Nelson, who is a former astronaut, said the 2020 goal can't possibly be met and NASA can't do it's job.

President Obama's commission on human space flight has looked into a proposal created by NASA engineers who have criticized the Constellation project. Their project is called Jupiter and would have the same objectives as Constellation, but is believed to be about half the cost. Nevertheless - that's still tens of billions of dollars.

Here’s my question to you: In light of the ballooning National Debt, what priority should the U.S. space program have?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Mike from New Orleans, Louisiana writes:
The trillions of dollars spent on our space program over the years have resulted in the invention of Tang and microwave ovens, and fat cushy contracts for friends of politicians. Let's cool our jets until the economy improves.

Dennis from Grand Rapids, Michigan writes:
The Space Program fuels research and innovation and usually winds up producing new products for the American economy. We'd be dumb to cancel funding for it. If any budget needs to be trimmed it's the Defense budget - there's a lot of pork in there - stuff that doesn't help the men and women in uniform in the field.

Thom from Negaunee, Michigan writes:
We need a space program right now like we need another bailout of AIG. Both are a total waste of tax money. Never will this world benefit from space travel to justify what we spend on its exploration.

Mari from Salt Lake City, Utah writes:
Tough question, Jack. My husband, who loves science, would say, it’s right up there with the military. Who knows what we will discover if we continue to invest in the space program? Perhaps a new form of clean energy? Another planet that can sustain human life, in case we continue to destroy this one? Sadly, too many Americans are not informed about the value of the space program.

Debi from Florida writes:
There are few programs more important than our space program. Advances in science, medicine, and consumer products are the least of the benefits. Creating Jobs both in existing and new fields. We must be in space to help solve our current crisis of Global Warming. The space program has always paid us back well more than it costs.

Heather from Beaumont, Texas writes:
Between the bleeding out of jobs left and right, 47 million Americans without health care, and the crumbling infrastructure, NASA's just going to have to sit down and shut up for a while.


Filed under: Economy • United States
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Sue in LA

    None – we can't afford to borrow more money to fund any programs. America is the new California........bankrupt!

    July 6, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  2. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    The space program is like a $5.00 cup of coffee. It's a pure luxury item that should be scaled back, or done away with, during difficult financial periods.

    July 6, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  3. Bob in Indiana

    None Jack. This kind of stuff should be privatized.

    July 6, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  4. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    I'd make a generous donation to NASA if these rocketships are filled with politicians with all flights dedicated to one-way trips to Pluto.

    July 6, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  5. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    We may need to cut back a bit.......but the space program is vital to our future security and must therefore be kept in an operational status.

    July 6, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  6. Billy in Las Vegas

    none what so ever. too much money and no benefit for the ordinay middle class family. spend that money on heart disease and cancer research. maybe if the United States wasn't wasting our financial resources on various foolishness like "star wars" military programs that don't work and the "shoot the moon" space program, we could afford universal healthcare like the rest of the western world.

    July 6, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  7. Tim in FL

    Jack,
    The space program has yield great advancements in the past, however our priorities has changed. WIth the National Debt so high, the space program should be placed on the back-burner while we recover. We need more down to earth spending, say the crumbling infrastructure.

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    July 6, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  8. John - Houston, TX

    Finding another planet where our kids and grand kids can survive after our politicians have completely destroyed our nation. And they better hurry, because it wont take long for that, Jack...

    July 6, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  9. M.L. Squier

    One of the first priorities of the Space program will be to Transport all of the greedy, crooked bankers and CEOs into orbit, but leave behind their money bags. But seriously, I believe that it would be better for the economy for us to continue exploring the Heavens, and sooner not later land again on the moon, start building landing and launching pads to get our butts "up" to Mars. Off shore...I mean Outer Space investment!

    mad plato from El Paso

    July 6, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  10. Venia PA

    Since it would be ludicrous to insist that we are the only members of this or any galaxy, I say the space program should be given near top priority to explore.

    July 6, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  11. Terry in Virginia

    Jobs! Create more jobs! Send Congress to the moon and the President can double my taxes! I've had it with all of them.

    July 6, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  12. Mark, Bradenton,FL

    As much as I like the space program, I think our debt does not allow any money for it. At least not until we are on a decent fiscal course. But we also shoule withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan immediately.

    July 6, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  13. Charles, Lansing, MI

    It should have top priority so that we can load a space rocket with wall street tycoons and send it on a one way trip to Mars.

    July 6, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  14. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    Exploration of space should be the absolute last thing we should be worrying about right now! Not counting the economy and everything else, we have Michael Jackson, Mark Sanford and Sarah Palin to worry about too! They seem to be more important to the media than anything else right now!

    July 6, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  15. JAMES

    bottom of the list zero dollars jim

    July 6, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  16. Sandra

    What National debt?? We just borrow money, raise taxes and blame Bush.

    July 6, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  17. Larry, Ohio

    Jack,I truly believe the space program at this time is an absolute waste of assets.There are far too many problems here on earth to worry about something trillions of miles away.Think of all the hungry American children we could feed with that money that is being poured into a black hole!!

    July 6, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  18. Mike, New Orleans

    The trillions of dollars spent on our space program over the years have resulted in the invention of Tang and microwave ovens, and fat cushy contracts for friends of politicians. Let's cool our jets until the economy improves.

    July 6, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  19. SLM

    Privatize it so it won't cost tax payers anything. Rides into space could be sold to cover the costs. Space program seems to be outdated. What have we gained by all these space visits?

    July 6, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  20. Marlene

    We have many other pressing priorities that are more important than the space program. Health care, energy reform, & education, not to mention two wars. The space program has enjoyed budget support for many years. It may have to take a back seat for now. Marlene in Mich

    July 6, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  21. Stephen Paul

    The American Space Program has brought us a plethora of wonderful feelings and wonderful discoveries. It was an outgrowth of the cold war which at the time seemed necessary. Today, we're still in a dead run to stay on top of other countries hence we continue to install sattelites into the sky for our window peeping needs as a military and political might.
    Perhaps it's time we took a breath and did without something....Space will wait.

    Steve Paul

    July 6, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  22. Jason, Koloa, HI

    The space program should be focusing on spy satellites to find dirt on the leaders of countries that we owe money to. Then we should use the said dirt to blackmail leaders of countries that we owe money to. Then we should take the money we collect to pay down the debt and to pay for the satellites. Or we could focus on building a base on the moon and mining it for profitable elements. One or the other.

    July 6, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  23. Geri - Mead, Ok

    Personally, I think the space program should be funded equally by government and by free enterprise, even perhaps there should be a donor program set up if there isn't already one in place now. Afterall, while the space program is good for national pride, it is private enterprise that usually benefits the most from the program.

    Geri – Mead, OK

    July 6, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  24. Peg from NY

    The Space program is equally as important as many other programs.
    Until the national debt, unemployment and healthcare have been rectified it is difficult to know where the space program belongs.

    July 6, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  25. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    Considering that the space program is such a tiny portion of the money we have squandered in the last 8+ years and considering that it generated such great technology that we will eventually be the beneficiaries of, it should take a very high priority – about 100 times higher than the GM and AIG bailouts which have left us with a net loss. AIG has not put any money into the economy aside from executive bonuses and GM went belly up anyway.

    July 6, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  26. Dennis in Grand Rapids, MI

    The Space Program fuels research and innovation and usually winds up producing new products for the American economy. We'd be dumb to cancel funding for it. If any budget needs to be trimmed it's the Defense budget–there's a lot of pork in there–stuff that doesn't help the men and women in uniform in the field.

    July 6, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  27. Remo....Beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas

    Jack,
    I'd say let's not go anywhere else until we clean up our own mess.

    July 6, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  28. Paul Whelan

    Not Much!

    July 6, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  29. Lisa in Shelton CT

    Much of it should grind to a halt, with as little pain to the private sector as possible – for those in engineering or in manufacturing, creating components for shuttles, finding a way to help fix our power grid or greening our energy would be good. We have enough trouble to deal with in the USA on Planet Earth, space can wait.

    July 6, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  30. DaBird

    Cut the space programs and all war expenditures so Obama can keep spending my kids money.

    July 6, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  31. JW in Atlanta

    Simple....if it puts money in the treasury, keep it. If it consumes money, time to explore other things like energy.

    July 6, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  32. Kerry Florida

    Huh, what's at the bottom of the list of priorities? I'd put it down there for now unless it could solve any of our issues.

    July 6, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  33. Jane (Minnesota)

    If it creates or retains jobs in this country and serves a good purpose, then it should be continued.

    July 6, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  34. SLM

    The country is broke??? Do the Democrats know this? Space program needs to be put on hold, there are more important things to spend our money on................like Nancy Pelosis jet trips and why pigs stink!

    July 6, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  35. John Webster, Aldergrove BC Canada

    It should be a step above the bailouts to the greedy bankers and short-sighted auto manufacturers. This is one area where an increase in interest and financing is necessary. So many spin-off technologies have come from the space programme so that and the lifting of national and world wide pride will make every dime sent into orbit worth the cost to those left paying the bills. Just look to the effects generated by the moon shots back when.

    July 6, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  36. Bill in South Jersey

    50 years ago we heard the same bottom-line questions: "Why should we spend all this money to go to space? What are we going to get out of it? We're not made of money, you know: If we keep adding stuff like this, our national budget could even reach 100 billion before long!"

    The answer, for anyone thoughtful enough to see it, is that we got the entire technological underpinnings for our current society: computers small enough for a desk or for a cell, medical instrumentation and telemetry, robotics, chemistry, cryo-technology, substance research, communications, and so much more.

    We also got a priceless view of our exact place in the grand scheme of things, which is smaller than what we thought it was; and of our potential, which is quite a bit greater than what we gave ourselves credit for. It may be the first time we truly ventured beyond a Neandertal view of things.

    July 6, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  37. Melissa

    Its over 10 years and people need to start feeling hope and optimism again. I think that, while the space program should still receive some reasonable funding for the next couple of years, other things will take precedence for at least Obama's first term. But don't take away peoples hope for the possibilities of the future. They need it.

    July 6, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  38. Eleanora Feucht, Mt. Laurel, N.J.

    Jack, if Pres. Obama can read the handwriting on the wall, he will cease and desist from adding any more to the already enormous national debt. Charity should begin a home, The space program is pie in the sky. Take care of our fiscal responsibilities at home first.
    Otherwise, when the Americans fill out their 2010 income tax they will keep next presidential in mind. A word to the wise is sufficient.

    my name is pronounced as if it were spelled FOYT.

    July 6, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  39. Thom Richer

    We need a space program right now like we need another bailout of AIG. Both are a total waste of tax money. Never will this world benefit from space travel to justify what we spend on its exploitation. Space stations? For whom? A select few? We will never relocate to another planet. Nor should we. Take care of the one we live on now. Not that a space program should never be but not paid with tax dollars. Let private monies pay for a space program. Corporations are the only ones that benefit from one. We need the money for far more important and immediate things. Education, employment, health care, infrastructure and on and on. These are what our immediate focus and spending should be on. If in the future we have overcome these problems and are back on solid and lasting financial ground, then finance a space program. Until then not a dime more of tax money should be spent. It should have been the first thing cut when this financial crisis was upon us. Privatize it.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    July 6, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  40. Carl D.

    Jack,
    In my opinion, none what so ever. We need to fix problems here on Earth first of all. Way to much money is spent on space exploration.
    Carl in Illinois

    July 6, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  41. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    We never get told what we receive from spending these billions of dollars on the International space station or any other program. What are the benefits, humanitarian and financial? We should scrap all of them and stop this wasted spending searching for life on other planets and live this life to the fullest.

    July 6, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  42. Tony from Torrington

    Take a look at some of the hundreds of pork projects in the so-called stimulous, costing billions of dollars, and then ask your question again.

    July 6, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  43. william fitzwater

    The Jupiter project is on the NASA web site. For safety concerns it would make more sense to have the crew on top of the rocket should it explode the Jupiter project is essential reusing the shuttle but putting a expendable rocket beside it.
    one of the reason why constellation is being developed as a pay as you go process. It is reusing much of the shuttle hardware. This makes more sense than developing hard & systems from scratch. It uses a capsule approach which using modern material sciences & avionics. It is also a simplify design.
    There are many private space programs (Space X or Orbital for example) using the COST funding to resupply the space station they could do it fro a fraction of the cost and can be manned by 2011 or 2012 . This also should be considered since there is going to be a gap. Between the retirement of the shuttle and the start of constellation programs. NASA has considered the Soyus but it will cost far more . This is a case where the US should consider private launch systems if they are safe low costs and meet NASA & international priorities. This will help keep jobs here in the US and allow private enterprise to start in space exploration.

    July 6, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  44. Jimmy in Temecula, CA

    Won't the Cap and Tax billed passed pay for this? Isn't the space program going to be used to research Global warming and where to put the millions of ugly windmills? Biden is ready to go up on the next space mission.

    July 6, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  45. Denni's north Carolina

    the space program has nothing to due with the debt but may be the only way to save humanity. we may need another planet to live on as long as we keep polluting and over populating this planet.the problem with the debit is the miss-management of our government on wars, social programs that are not needed,theft and over paying for products. big question is how many people can earth handle until we do not have clean air,water or land to grow our food to live? please give me this answer or find us another planet to live on.

    July 6, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  46. Martin in Shoreline, WA

    It means Americans, particularly Democrats, are stupid. They fund the National Endowment for the Arts, which has provided zero economic stimulus; and cut finds to the space program, which has meant billions in new technology for the economy. I cannot wait for them to start being thrown out of office next year.

    Liberals like to think we have evolved. They like to think they are progressing. That demonstrates just how stupid they are. Liberals protect the weak and the stupid. Evolution works by protecting the strong. If we are evolving, we are devolving. America's collective IQ has reached Forrest Gump levels. If you have ever seen "Idiocracy", this is the future that awaits us.

    July 6, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  47. chris

    hey the space program does alot more than those bridges to nowhere and other such project space program actually benefits us

    July 6, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  48. southerncousin

    About as much as health care, a stimulus program and a second stimulus program, perhaps a bit more because a space program will accomplish what it sets out to, where as the rest won't.

    July 6, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  49. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    The US space program has made possible huge advances in modern technologies and it would be sad to lose it.

    July 6, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  50. Susan from Twin Falls Idaho

    I always thought we put too much stock and funds into outer space. With what we've spent over the past fifty years Americans could have had health care a plenty and not one person would go to bed hungry.

    July 6, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  51. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: I always wonder about the space program--–we can't live together on earth-–yet we continue to spend billions and billions of dollars exploring space and spying on other countries. There is enough satellites in space, that soon we will have to send up traffic lights to regulate them. The space program needs to go on the back burner until we resolve our "earthly problems;"---we can worry about our heavenly conquests later.

    July 6, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  52. Pablo in Tejas

    Jack
    Top priority. Shoot the moon, man. It's jobs, jobs, jobs!

    pablo
    Arlington Texas

    July 6, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  53. John from Alabama

    Jack: The space program is not in the top 15 programs run by the federal government.

    July 6, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  54. mike

    It should have a high priority. There are a number of persons who need to be sent off the planet and we need to find a way to do it. I recommend Palin for space training. She can be our ambasador to outer space. She in extremely qualified.

    July 6, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  55. pat in lexington

    Sadly, for right now, it needs to be low on the list of financial priorities.

    July 6, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  56. Denise

    It should see a budge cut. It is not high on my list of priorities, Jack.

    July 6, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  57. mike- Wilmington, DE

    Cutting the space program to help balance the budget is like using a pea shooter against an elephant! We need to cut a trillion dollars not 150 billion. Start looking at the things that are really costing us. And yes, cut the space program back also.

    July 6, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  58. K

    all the space program is is big kids with big toys. circling the earth is not space exploration. let private funding prevail and give the taxpayers a break!

    July 6, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  59. Jeff Crocket

    Our highest priority!!! You on the left are concerned about the Climate??

    Maybe you should be concerned about the next Xray transmission from the sun or close Black Hole! Or the next meteor hitting your house Jack!

    Understanding space is critical to our existence not Global Warming!!

    Jeff Crocket New Britain, CT

    July 6, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  60. michael armstrong sr.

    Jack the space programe is the greatest part of our national security keeping our comunications satelites operating and our gps systems they keep watch for near Earth objects these people are alot more important then Al Gores energy policy .

    July 6, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  61. john shaw

    Economy.United States

    Jack the US is not going to be able to sent a person into space on its on after 2010. In the overall government spending its a blip, its less than 3% of defense spending The space program is what makes you a super power.The space program should be increased . What is the return to the economy in new technoiogy gained? from the space program. I can remeber the first moon landing and what was suppose to
    happen , the past budget cuts lead to the shuttle program

    JOHN
    CANADA

    July 6, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  62. Paul from New Orleans, LA

    NASA should have a role in the stimulus plan, but should at least get a $1 billion to function their already future project Constellation.

    July 6, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  63. Steve

    I grew up fantasizing about being an astronaut and going to the moon.I developed an interest in science that still holds true today. Yes Jack, we have a huge national debt, but let's never be so shortsighted to cut imagination, dreams and accomplishments.

    July 6, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  64. kishen c.rao

    stop it and save money....It is not generating money....waste of time and essence....instead, concentrate on health care...energy independence and immigration issues...nation benefits.............

    July 6, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  65. frankie

    I think going to a less-expensive program makes sense. I love NASA but I definitely believe it should be temporarily scaled back, that is only logical.

    July 6, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  66. Scott Stodden

    The priority would be first and foremost to save as much money as possible. I would think that somethings especially in the times we're in now with a recession and a new war already started could be put on hold.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,IL)

    July 6, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  67. Darren

    Here's a thought, cut those plush taxpayer-afforded benefits Congress gives themselves for life for serving a single term in office and watch how many more government programs get reinstated and also watch how fast they reform healthcare.

    July 6, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  68. Jim/NC

    Ax the program...we need to eat.

    July 6, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  69. Ann,Virginia

    It should have a high priority.We are expolrers and space is the ultimate to reach for.I say go for it.

    July 6, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  70. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    I do not beleive in cutting one sector from another since they all bring at some point in time some types of benefits to the country i.e. jobs, discoveries and so on. A cost reduction is more acceptable since everyone is asked to rethink their priorities!

    July 6, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  71. john .... marlton, nj

    NASA was allocated $6 billion for space travel in 2009 and at the same time Sen Harry Reid expunged from taxpayers $4 billion to build the DesertXpress train from Vegas to Southern California…Thankfully, in the spirit of idiotic politicians, Sen Reid did concede his original $12 billion “Sin City Express” was a little to pricey !! DUH … Oh by the way the proposed $4 billion train track would end in Victorville, CA, 85 miles short of LA. …
    Are our priorities screwed up? You tell me..

    July 6, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  72. Robert S. Racine, WI

    With ballooning debt we should be making major cuts to many programs including NASA, and the FCC. Why do we pay money to have an agency to watch TV and listen to the Radio? Are we really that scared of someone saying the S word? Even on cable, which the FCC does not regulate, swearing is banned on many networks simply because they choose not to. Where are the fiscal conservitives on this issue? Let's only spend money we have, not a penny more and only vote for those who agree. Do we really need to pay troops to be stationed in Japan? Let's cut spending across the boards, Republicans only want to cut 2%, not nearly enough, lets get it together.

    July 6, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  73. Ralph Nelson

    Low. Cancel the stupid trip to Mars ($75 billion). Go to the Moon with other nations. Crank up the planet rovers and deep space explorers (they're cheap). I can't believe the bargain we got with those two Mars rovers for about $400 million each. Space yes, Waste no. Ralph, Yakima, Wa.

    July 6, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  74. Don in Toledo

    What a lot of people do not know is that our space program is very important to our national defense. I'm not paranoid but as a retired military person I can tell you that there are a lot of people in the world that wish us destroyed. Our space program enables us to keep an eye on them and allows me to sleep better at night. So how much of a priority should we give our space program? We should give it as high of a priority as we can.

    July 6, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  75. C. Martin, Birmingham, AL

    Our debt is a situation of great gravity, pun intended. I think we need to keep our feet firmly planted on Mother Earth and see to the needs of our people for universal healthcare, jobs, and guaranteed social security - not to mention caring for our own planet - before spending hundreds of billions to satisfy our curiosity by exploring the galaxy. If your family is in dire straits on Main Street, it's not that bright to blow a bundle on a European tour.

    July 6, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  76. Adam Thousand Oaks, CA

    What's the point to all this? Say it is successful and we put a man on Mars, who cares? What have we gained except some really expensive martian rocks? How are we a more productive nation, better able to provide for our people? Unless those rocks can be turned into fuel, I suggest scrapping the whole thing.

    July 6, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  77. Sly, Alpena, Mi

    Giving a 1-10 rating, making 1 a "High Priority", i would give it an "11". Since the Space Program began in 1957 and god knows how much money was spent in the past 53 years, i have not seen not one great benefit from this program.

    July 6, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  78. Adam Thousand Oaks, CA

    Jack, I am all for it. We should borrow as much money from the Chinese that we can so we can pay for some more really expensive martian and moon rocks. I am sure Greenpeace will protest the removal of the rocks as destroying the environment of the lifeless celestial bodies.

    July 6, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  79. Martha Sample

    On the back burner ,until this mess is over that Bush put is in.

    Richmond Va.

    July 6, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  80. Will from San Jose

    The space program has played a vital role in keeping US corporations at the forefront of innovation. Many of our modern technology companies owe their entire existence to projects initially started by NASA. However the organization has often been heavily manipulated by Congressional members, more interested in securing funds for their states then in actually advancing science. We need to maintain our investment in the future, while creating a better separation between the needs of scientists and the political desires of politicians.

    July 6, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  81. DON IN WESTPORT, MASS.

    This question always arises when our country is in economic strife.
    I think its time that we start a little competitive bidding at NASA.
    Why does NASA still have the market cornered when it comes to space flight. We need to make it profitable for private industry to invest in spaceflight.
    With all the filthy rich people in this country there has to be some out there with a sense of adventure who are bored to death investing thier money in casino's and computer's.
    I would have thought that Bill Gates and the like would have thier own space ship by now. Great strides could be made in the private sector if our Gov't would ease up the controls a little.
    Where are Wrights of space travel?

    July 6, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  82. Randy from Salt Lake City

    I know it's going to be scrapped, but I wish it would take the highest priority because the sooner we develop warp speed 'n stuff, the sooner I can escape this polluted planet that's being destoyed by stupid, greedy humans.

    July 6, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  83. Pugas-AZ

    This is a tough one. We can't afford the effort that many would like but we must not let other countries pass us by. We need to keep an active space program to keep our technological expertise and reap the non military benifits of such an investment. We are not going to continue to lead the world by just manning call centers, fast food resturants and nursing homes. Besides, with taxes rising, we might have to find another celestral body to live on.

    July 6, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  84. Robert

    The US space program should have a high priority. We have recieved new technologies from the space program. New industries have emerged from the program. I will give you a great example....cell phones. The US space program and the government is the biggest contributor to research.

    July 6, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  85. grigore caragacianu

    Nowadays, NASA functions as a Bureaucratic Supercluster.
    For the time being, returning to the Moon is beyond NASA's
    engineering horizon.
    Human cloning must take precedence; let's clone Wernher von Braun first and think of returning to the Moon later!

    Thus spoke Greg from Warren, Michigan

    July 6, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  86. Calvin of Atlanta

    NASA's role should be changed to a role that is similar to that of the FAA. The race to further space exporation during these tough times should be left to private suitors that can better afford and take the risk of deep space exploration. Besides what is the true return on investment for a struggling government entity to reach a further planet, unless of course there is some gold or diamonds in the stars.

    July 6, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  87. B in NC

    Give it top priority and ship every republican to the moon. To heck with water. Just get them off this earth.

    July 6, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  88. A.M. Deist

    Unless we can go into space and come back with some stimulus funding from Mars or elsewhere, we should cut just about every program to the bone, unless the program is critical to our security.

    July 6, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  89. Jennifer

    Plymouth, MA

    Can I reword the question?

    What priority does exploration and discovery of the universe have for humanity?

    Money is not why we exist.. It's not why I exist, anyway. My imagination has always stretched wider than my wallet.

    I'd probably skip dinner or borrow a few bucks to buy a book, and I'd be better for it. We can debate and negotiate the cost and scientific goal, but throw away the space program and we'd grow sideways - never up.

    July 6, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  90. Linda in Bisbee, AZ

    I don't want them sending more humans to the moon. How long before they put a McDonalds on the Sea of Tranquility? They'll be mining the surface and sending light signals back to earth. The moon will be RUINED, just as we have ruined the Earth. I love the moon, and I want people to stay off it. They've already littered it with space junk. Humans are nothing but destructive organisms. Money for funding has nothing to do with it.

    July 6, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  91. Christina, Canada

    The U.S. space program should not suffer. There is already a problem as far as children and their interest in science! (or lack there of.)
    It comes down priorities in the program and where you are going to spend the money...they need to be accountable, yet not written off.

    July 6, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  92. andyz Lynn, MA

    Considering all of the products developed and now in everyday use, I think the Space Program should be funded at 125%. If for no other reason than exploration for raw materials within the solar system and in the future throughout the galaxy could keep life on this Pale Blue Dot going. Who knows, maybe we can find a replacement for oil. In any case, "Live long and prosper, Jack."

    July 6, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  93. Bruce

    None. We have a massive hidden space program that they refuse to disclose, and they keep touching up the moon/mars photos to erase aliens. Not a dime more until them and private industry like Lockeed Martin comes clean about their own spaceships and anti-gravity and zero point energy technology. Not a dime! Nada!

    July 6, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  94. Dan Barrett

    Why not make a trip to the moon and sell lots of land for the distant future. Plot sections of land for huge amounts of money and shore up a new health care plan with it. If we dont , someone else will. There are plenty of wealthy people who would pay big bucks for a peice of the moon, hmmm? We do oun it, dont we?

    July 6, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  95. Jim

    Jack, there's so much involved in the space program that the average person doesn't realize the importance of it, including me. However, since satellites have become so important in survellience and communication, I don't feel that we should fall behind other nations with that, particular with those nations who would do us harm. There are also other reasons related to medicine, health, etc.

    July 6, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  96. Ben Honey

    There is a lot to say on this topic. I will hit on a couple points as briefly as I can: the great thing about our space industry is that it has the potential to employ thousands upon thousands of Americans while at the same time providing a vessel for inspiration like no other national endeavour can. Space exploration incites wonder, in kids and adults alike, on the gut level. In hard times, the last thing we should be doing is getting rid of those parts of our society that we are so proud of, and that inspire our children to do great things in life. Not only that, but in these hard times people are worried about, among other things, unemployment. Why then, push deep cuts on an industry and program that provides jobs of all skillsets. People think mainly of the rocket scientists and astronauts, but we need technicians, secretaries, security officers, and custodians too! These points should not be considered trivial, but should be at the heart of any discussion about space funding in this great and proud country. The Apollo program was arguably the greatest achievement of the 20th century, or even of human history. America should build on that legacy and aim to do greater things in the 21st century, not let it languish in the memories of our parents and grandparents!

    Thanks for reading,
    – Ben Honey
    Seabrook, Texas

    July 6, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  97. Ed

    The space program should have a less hobbylike status than it has had. Less ambitions like inhabiting Mars, blowing holes in the moon to look for water. It should focus on a space based laser program that zaps bankers looking for money.

    July 6, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  98. Chad from Los Angeles

    I can see "W" not wanting to learn more about things, but Obama should make sure we continue to explore, no matter the financial situation we are in. We have learned too much from space exploration to slow down now. If we cut back now, whats to stop future generations from completely cutting out exploration.

    July 6, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  99. David Gerstenfeld

    While working for Rockwell in the 60's I helped train the first 10 Apollo teams. Now I live on S.S. & worry about my children's & grandchildren's future. It's very difficult to approve funds that don't exist for space exploration unless for defense of the country.
    David, Las Vegas

    July 6, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  100. Gregory in TN

    Considering that NASA, as a Govt. expenditure, has traditionally been one of the few that generates genuine advancement and "trickle-down" technology, It's a real bargain. If we can give hundreds of billons of dollars to "Banksters" without question, accountability or oversight, we can support one of the truly noble and visionary American programs there are left.

    Remember, "Moon Day" is July 20th.

    July 6, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  101. John Mackin

    Our leadership in Human Spaceflight in the 1960's solidified our position as a world leader in exploration and technology . This investment in the space inspired millions of americans into math and science education, resulting in 40 years of american technological dominance. The space program itself helped produce almost every piece of technology we use today. The first integrated circuits (which are used today in everything from computers to vending machinces to childrens toys) were created to keep the weight down in the lunar lander.

    While we flounder trying to figure out what to do next, other countries (like china) are catching up by leaps and bounds. If we're ever to pull ourselves out of this recession we need more of the inventions derived from the space program, cancelling human spaceflight because of a recession is a terrible idea. If we want America to still be a technological leader in the world in another 40 years we need to put more funding into NASA now, as a long term investment for our children and grandchildren.

    Urbana, Il

    July 6, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  102. Missy M

    NASA is probably the coolest arm of the federal government, but like everything else, space research is better done in the private sector. This is one area where the government should reduce spending (drastically) while doing all it can to support private industry's efforts to push forward (continuing with federal grants for space research, etc.). Private industry is already building a spaceport in the New Mexican desert, the concept of the space elevator is developing in the private sector and most of the technology the government uses comes from private industry anyway.

    Missy M. Arizona

    July 6, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  103. m00finsan

    Between the bleeding out of jobs left and right, 47 million Americans without health care, and the crumbling infrastructure, NASA's just going to have to sit down and shut up for a while.

    Heather
    Beaumont, TX

    July 6, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  104. Dee in sunny Florida

    In light of the possible benefits to mankind, I think we need to have the space program, regardless of the debt. And, we also need it so we can find another planet to pollute and deplete once we have totally ruined this one.

    The national debt is just like my credit card debt. I will be paying it as long as I live, probably, and I know we will be paying the national debt too.

    If something has to go to reduce the debt, how about stoppping our wars and our presence in just about every country in the world! Who died and made us the head honchos, anyway!

    July 6, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  105. David Alexandria, VA

    A very high priority. The space program is one of the few really forward-looking endeavors we have In the past, it has brought us wonderful new technologies which have greatly improved our quality of life and the lives of other around the world. Moreover, space likely holds vast secrets and resources which we willl need in the future - and with the Chinese and others pressing into space, we will likely be out-paced in those ventures much to our detriment.

    July 6, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  106. debi-FL

    There are few programs more important than our Space Program. Advances in Science, Medicine, Consumer Products are the least of the benefits. Creating Jobs both in existing and "new" fields! We must be in Space to help solve our current crisis of Global Warming. The Space Program has always paid us back well more than it costs!
    The Moon Landing our Greatest "Peaceful" Act!

    July 6, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  107. JosephQ

    I think it's more important than ever to have a Space Program. If Obama can give away a TRILLION dollars for other projects, why should NASA starve? The US Space Program is not only a way to push technology to new limits, but also spurs international co-operation. I guess the real question is gonig to be: Is America comfortable with the Chinese being the first to Mars?

    July 6, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  108. Rob

    Jack, when you look at the litteraly thousands of inventions and improvements that have come out of the space program over the past decades, then yes, it's needs to have a priority. #1? Obviously not. Top 20? Maybe. But probably somewhat higher on the list then funding a bridge to nowhere or bonuses to millionaires who thumbed their noses at their stock-holders!

    Rob in SF, CA

    July 6, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  109. Davon

    I guess the space program should be cut a little. But it should still priority. If for nothing else, it allows people to think about something outside their immediate range. A space program is still very much needed.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  110. Kim in Dodge City, KS

    Although I am a big fan of the space program, now is probably not the best time to spend billions that don't exist on space tips to the moon. Perhaps if we got out of the Mid-East altogether, we could save enough money to continue with a viable space program and at the same time re-invest in American needs.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  111. Eric Longwell

    The space program has brought about technologies that have changed the world, but it has become a field of dreams. Colonizing space as an escape strategy for a doomed earth seems to be a popular underlying fantasy. GET REAL!! The time has come to close the door on human space flight.

    Eric
    Shelocta, PA

    July 6, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  112. Barbara/Coral Springs, FL

    Gee Jack, did you mean in light of the out of control spending by Obama and crew we are now in too much debt to do anything else? It sure would be nice to be fiscally responsible somewhere.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  113. richard a. winkler

    None, it should be scrapped.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  114. David in NoVA

    In terms of cost to value, space exploration has the potential to be great for the US, if conducted correctly. To be honest, you could eliminate NASA from the budget and would only save about 18.7 billion (proposed) in the 2010 fiscal year, .52% percent of the federal budget. The real places to save money are in Healthcare and Social Security. If we prioritize reform, they're near the top, not NASA.

    If anything, more should be invested, if not in NASA, then in private enterprises like SpaceX and t/Space that have great potential.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  115. Sue Ventura

    For the first time I must agree with Fromer Pres. Bush. Never thought that would happen . I don't know why we must go to the moon and mars and elsewhere in space. Don't we have enough places on earth for people to live?

    July 6, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  116. Seth

    The space program should be put on the back burner.dosent this country have enough spending problems as it is?

    July 6, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  117. Elsie Johnson

    My priorities are ever changing as the world turns. We must enrich our soils to produce fuel and nutrition which enable the population to flourish and reach for the stars.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  118. Tim in FL

    We need more down to earth spending, say on the crumbling infrastructure.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  119. Santiago Melli-Huber

    WE HAVE NO MONEY! Act accordingly.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  120. ANAV

    NONE!
    are you kidding me? we're BROKE!

    July 6, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  121. Bernadette Loesch

    Get their workforce trained in areas other than space.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  122. Mike in Colorado

    It will be necessary to tread water for a year or two or three on this program.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  123. Logan , Fresno, CA

    It should still receive money, and as soon as Palin is on the moon, we can stop funding it. Mission accomplished.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  124. JP

    Now that we've screwed earth up, let's go for space!

    July 6, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  125. Aron Sora

    Supporting commercial space flight and space habitation by the private sector.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  126. Robert

    If it doesn't have anything to do with my GPS system or my XM radio then NO!! It cost too much to be doing space exploration that isn't going to benefit mankind.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  127. Matt Yoder

    Our space program should be a TOP priority! Look at all the economic benefits we derived from all the money we spent on the first moon program. Only short sighted idiots would consider torpedoing this project, as it employs many people in a highly technical field, somehting that seems to be lacking in our economy these days. We need to return to the moon, or we will find ourselves just as far behind on THAT front as on solar technologies and renewable energy.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  128. Gregory in TN

    Remember, without the Space Program, we would be watching CNN with "Rabbit ears" and blogging on your typewriter.

    Think about that.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  129. Bob

    Zero.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  130. Tracy Lorenz

    No priority at all. Please, let's be real. I can name 20 issues that are far more important.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  131. Joe Saldarini

    Certainly the priorities should be shifted to the protection of the environment, the discovery of new scientific data about our own planet and the Next Generation Space Telescope. WHen our economy revives itself, we can then move again to exploration.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  132. Jake W

    The space program should have top priority. Once all of our land and resources have been used up we will no longer be able to afford to get to space, where resources could be near limitless.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  133. Clay from newly blue Virginia

    Yes, we need to explore. The science and discoveries made will help us out of the recession and help our economy and minds grow, something that has not happened for 8 years.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  134. H Joe Tyson

    None......there are more pressing priorities

    July 6, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  135. Robert

    Jack... we need to STAY AT HOME and fix the EARTH's problems ... Mars can wait!!!....

    July 6, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  136. Shane Lloyd

    Jack,

    The goal of the space program was, and always has been, to push the human race forward. America has fallen behind on so many things. Let's hope that this historically moderate period of financial turmoil does not let us lose our leadership position in the exploration of space. It pushes technology and minds forward.

    Shane
    Hershey, PA

    July 6, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  137. Linda & Ted Moore

    Our first priority should be to create jobs and get the health insurance plan going gung-ho. Space programs should be at the bottom of the barrel – we need economical stability first!

    July 6, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  138. Seth

    Come on people don't we have money problems?I could see it of we were going to move someone there , but we all that's not going to happen.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  139. Bunny

    Jack – We should pull everything out of every budget and put it into the space program. It is becoming more and more obvious that we need the get the heck out of here!

    Bunny
    Arlington Heights, IL

    July 6, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  140. Mahesh Pattabiraman

    Global warming. This is not a choice but a necessity. Remember the saying "bird in hand is worth more than two in the bush?"

    July 6, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  141. John in Santa Barbara

    The space program has always been high paying welfare for the scientific nerds that work there. What do we get out of the space program, do we get ALOT of good jobs for ordinary people, or do we get better than good paying jobs for a bunch of wanna-be Einsteins that couldn't get work in the normal job market. It's time we looked at this welfare program for the brilliant and understand that us normal or middle ranged brains have to not only pay for dumb people but also for the over educated bums who need special work programs called NASA to keep them from starving.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  142. Christian in California.

    Jack if we as a species want to survive on this planet the gameplan should be simple.Learn to gett off of it!!.I always laugh at people who think that we should just abort the space program so we can have more amazingly useful "social programs".The crib analogy always works.And in the vast universe that's all the earth is,a crib.The space program needs to get back to the Moon and then to Mars,then to mining the near endless resources located there.It's that simple.
    San Bernardino,California.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  143. Gary Graybill

    Jack,
    Let me get this question right. Which is best, providing health care for all the people of the United States or going to the moon? You're kidding, right?

    July 6, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  144. Simon Gulden

    ........way down on the Totem Pole.....until the USA gets back on its financial feet with a balanced budget....a tough nut to crack....
    Simon Gulden, Markham On (on the top of Toronto)

    July 6, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  145. lee in MN

    If the space program includes a 1 way trip for Cheney and Rush, I am all for it for the good of OUR country.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  146. Mike Stark

    The Nation needs to get back into our Space including the Moon, Mars, and don't forget aerospace safety and technological development. We (US Citizens) get what we pay for.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  147. Tyler Kelley

    Space technology should be very high up on the do list for the U.S.
    We have spent far more than $150 billon in pork in stimulas so why
    not spend some where it is worth spending.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  148. Sam Myrick in Austin

    The Space Program should have very high prority. Space exploration lifts humanity beyond what we ever thought capable. It unites the world in triumph AND tragedy. In 20 years, we could have a permanent human colony on one, maybe two other planets. When we look to the stars we will know WE are there looking back at us. No price tag is too high.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  149. Ray Campbell

    Going to the moon and then Mars should be on the must do list
    10 B a year is not that much when you look all the Gov is spending

    July 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  150. Rick in CA.

    NASA spent millions of dollars to invent a pen that can operate in outer space... Russia, used a pencil... Perhaps if NASA invested in common scents, there goals would not cost so much.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  151. James Egbert

    With as much technological advancement that comes from the Space program a Mission to Mars or the Return to the Moon just does not measure out to benefit us Average Joes and Janes here on Terra Firma. If a trip to the moon would bail out the middle and lower income class and a trip to Mars to put an end to the global concerns within the time it takes to make the trips one way, maybe.

    CAPCOM gets a "NO GO" from me.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  152. Andrew Hoekzema from Austin

    The real question is what priority should the manned space program be. At this point in our history, it simply is not worth the risk to life and the enormous cost required to conduct these "prestige" missions to bring man back to the moon and mars. Why do we need to continue to expose our men and women to these risks when we have advanced robots that can conduct the same functions?

    -Andrew Hoekzema
    Austin, Texas

    July 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  153. Kyle

    Forget it.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  154. Bob G in AZ

    I think we can find some spare change to keep it going, if not it could end up being a private enterprize funded venture into the unknown. Just think the next shoe commericial from Nike could say; "These shoes are from out of this world'!

    July 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  155. Ann Capritti

    Hi Jack:
    I have long been strongly opposed to my tax dollars going to the Space Program. We can't take care of life in this country and on this planet. Why are we looking for life on other planets?
    Ann
    Pennsylvania

    July 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  156. Dan Coughlin

    Hi Jack,

    I am a former NASA employee of 18 years. There is a growing contingent in the agency that seeks to turn over space transportation to the private sector as it should be. The government is extremely inefficient and NASA is no exception. Literally billions of dollars are wasted yearly. NASA should undertake a massive effort to turn over technology and support the commercial space industry.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  157. Andrew Nims

    We had better hope the space program keeps going. With all the problems with global warming and pollution and all the talk and no action by our political leaders, we may very well make this planet unliveable and what will do then?
    Andrew Nims
    Sasebo, Japan

    July 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  158. Steve in Utah

    Jack,

    I believe that NASA is fully aware that aliens exist. Several Astronaut's even acknowledge seeing them. Why don't we start using some of the reverse engineered technology we have gained from UFO crashes like the one that happened in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947?

    July 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  159. Tina Johnson - Calgary, Alberta

    Absolutely vital there is a return to the moon. Space travel is an extension of man's need to explore, with that comes hope. I saw the first landing on the moon on TV as a child, definitely an inspiration for a lifetime – I'd like to see it happen again.

    Maybe Nasa could take donations for the project – I'd contribute.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  160. Joey

    Dont get me wrong...I LOVE the space program and know it will provide great information for ours and future generations...but with the extremely long payoff of the program, dont you think we could just scale way back for a few years?? It would save hundreds of billions just as we need it...Yup....I vote to postpone!

    July 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  161. Doug

    My 22-year-old son passed away from cancer two years ago and I'm now selling $5.00 chances on a golf ball drop to raise money for pediatric cancer research. Sorry, the moon is not a high priority in my value system!

    July 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  162. Carol(Missouri)

    instead of spending money trying to screw up another planet why dont we spend that money trying to fix the one we live on! DUH!!!

    July 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  163. Howard in London, UK

    There was a time when space travel was so no, so revolutionary, that we had to do it, especially in light of the symbolic and real competition with the Soviets. Now, we've been there and done that. We know already that there's not much on the Moon or Mars to explore, and the notion of eventual colonization is so far off in the future as a practical matter as to be unworthy of consideration under current budgetary constraints. We need to spend efforts to develop new cheaper and faster methods for travel before we expend large sums of money on a limited range of expeditions.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  164. Tom Donovan

    I noticed Jack put the price of the Mars program at "billions and billions and billions" of dollars. I think since Obama's become president, we fully know the word "trillion" as an everyday word thrown around the White House. So what's another quarter or half a trillion dollars these days? Just chump change!!!

    July 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  165. Jim, from Concord, NC

    There's plenty of time to address the relative merits of the space program. This has to be a very low priority, given the plethora of serious immediate needs here on earth.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  166. Frederick Mayer

    Considering the fact that China is well on its way to establishing a presence on the moon, it should be a matter of national security.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  167. David

    Jack,

    Our entire planet has evolved because of our need to explore! Giving up on the arts and sciences during hard times only harms our ability to grow as a culture and society. While we cannot spare hundreds of billions of dollars right now, we must not abandon our future!

    – David B.
    Mapleton, MN

    July 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  168. Ralph Hofmeier

    With a infrastructure like on Moon the US should spent the money in streets, Schools and Public Transit System . To close the gap with the modern countries like in Europe and Asia .To step in the 21 Century And be a modern Country !

    Ralph

    July 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  169. Tom Miles

    I am a big supporter of scientific exploration. As such, I realize that the two best programs of the last 30 years–Voyager and Hubble–have both been un-manned. We have to learn to spend our scientific dollars wisely. Sending humans into space is more of a dog-and-pony show that does little to add to human knowledge but serves only the human ego.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  170. Floyd Vahalik

    I would think the space program should have a high priority. How do we expect to learn about the universe while we are stuck on this planet?

    We need to think in terms of leaving this rock behind and finding new frontiers. Some of us anyway. The rest of us can be thrilled by the discovery of unimagined wonders.

    Floyd Vahalik
    Ammon, ID

    July 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  171. Solomon

    The space program – creates jobs, drives research and development, and is a fraction of the costs of many other programs. Yes it has a priority – But NASA does need to do a better job of explaining the benefits that it provides to the country.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  172. Donald Murray

    Jack, The space program has always led to other technology. Research organizations like Nasa, DARPA, Cern, etc, have always been the provider of solutions to our economies. e.g. The web came from CERN. The Internet came from DARPA. So, clearly it should have some money to continue research.
    That being said, I believe that NASA should start working with the private companies doing incredible work at a fraction of the cost for problems already solved. E.g. Richard Branson's company that won the X prize getting their own shuttle to space. They could at least solve the big problem of getting fuel into space cheaper in the next year or two this way. Then, in 2 years, if the economy is doing better, we can readdress the issue.
    Thanks...great work.
    -Donald

    July 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  173. Gerard

    Absolutely nothing. I can't understand our interests with bare planets? What about some interest in the big blue one....you know, the one that WE LIVE ON.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  174. Mr. Lightbourne

    Jupiter would be a more effective program because it allows the use of current technology, while still meeting the goal set out by the white house.
    We should let N.A.S.A. pursue these goals, because in the end, space exploration will profit humanity. Ever needed a laser angioplasty? Have one of those programmable pacemakers (Cheney could attest to this)? They are all bi-products of the space program. It is worth it.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  175. Edward

    I have a solution....privatize NASA.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  176. George from Waco

    Don't we already know there's no cheese? Where's the business objective. How wIll this make me any better off? I mean with no cheese what's the purpose. There si no one else racing for the moon is htere? We are the only flag up there. Give somebody else a chance to be in second place! Been there done that!

    July 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  177. Floyd

    Space exploration and exploitation is a must. Simply put, where else are we going to expand and garner new resources? Just mining the mass of the NEAs (Near Earth Asteriods) will pay us back many times over than an intial investiment.

    Now, if you are asking if the culture of NASA needs a change? Yes. This is true. Science for the sake of science is a lofty goal... but it should not be the end result goal of our space exploration.

    We also need to use the resources we find to make life better here, there, and everywhere there is an American citizen. Plus, think of the technology innovations: spin-offs from the last space race fueled our economy for thirty years; name anything else that was that effective.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  178. Brad Koerner

    In my opinion the Space Program should be fucusing on find new suitable planets for humans to live on because we are eventually going to need to find a new place to live due to natural and man made disasters. The Government should spend as much money on the Space Program as they need to.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  179. James Schubert

    It depends on what kind of message you want to send. If you want to give Americans something to be proud of again, you have to let NASA send humans away from the earth. How, and at what cost should be debated by the experts, let the engineers who say they can do it for less have their say. If you want Americans to quietly accept third world status, cut NASA all you need to.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  180. Larry Briscoe

    Space - the final frontier - should be given our highest priority as our country has thrived on pioneering new frontiers since its beginning. In addition to the unlimited number of tangibles the space program has provided, it inspires us to be all we can be. As for priority, first the moon, next the moon and then the stars.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  181. Lance Elliott

    Jack, there's been research done proving; dollar to dollar, the space program returns $25 dollars back for every dollar put in. This is done through inventions made both in space, and in the attempt to get to space.

    We also can't forget, once we establish ourselves in space, we can begin using it for it's abundant natural resources. All of this means that now more than ever we should be reaching for the stars.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  182. Eduardo

    I think the study of our universe should be a priority for humankind. Let me just quote someone people might be familiar to. "We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces. " Carl Sagan.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  183. Dallas, Sarasota FL

    NASA's unmanned probes have been far more cost-efficient and have returned more interesting data. They should probably focus on those. We need a permanent orbital presence for maintenance, but otherwise manned missions are best left to the private sector.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  184. Nia Livz

    In my opinion, space program should not be a priority at all.

    We are in the worst economic times since the Great Depression,
    jobs are being lost at a very rapid pace, this is not the time for grand
    plans that perhaps at best pump up the ego of people in power.

    This is the time to rebuild America, stay grounded and not space out!

    July 6, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  185. Howard in Hollywood Florida

    Can't find money for the Constellation Project. Wait until the Russians lands a man on Mars and see how soon we find money

    July 6, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  186. Megan Bess

    The space program is one of the most important things we have. Our planet is wasting away at an exponential rate, and the further our technology is developed, the faster our planet seems to fall apart. We need to develope ways to expand to other planets that might be able to support our life and/or space stations so as to prepare for our planet completely collapsing in on itself from our maltreatment of it.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  187. DM Fleming

    Why doesn't the average citizen within this country get any 'vote' on whether the Space Program continues, grows or (hopefully) shrinks?

    Stop spending enormous amounts of money on this Space Program ...at a minimum until our economic recession and high unemployment ends!

    How can we justify spending even $1 on this program to earn 'bragging rights' when we have American children going hungry, Seniors not able to buy their medications and millions of American citizens without proper heath insurance and healthcare? Let's pour the BILLIONS back into the programs that provide aid and support to ALL our citizens.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  188. Jim Chebuhar Marshalltown, IA

    Send a few people to the Moon and Mars for several hundred billion dollars or help our nation 300 million people achieve energy independence. Gee I don't know maybe if we let Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rove be the astronauts.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  189. jetfuel

    ..Hey Jack...why don't we fix this planet first before we screw up another one in this solar system...

    July 6, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  190. Reno Domenico

    The fact is that the exploration of space has benefited the USA greatly over he last 50 years, and we need to remain committed to human space exploration. The US cannot become paralyzed by the Bush recession/depression. In fact, it is great "stimulus" to spend on the space program. Perhaps we should take some of the billions back from AIG or the other banks and give NASA a 100 billion shot in the arm! Mankind will return to the Moon and onto Mars. The question is do you want the spacecraft to have the initials USA on it, or do you want to see the word "China" on that victorious day?

    July 6, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  191. G Houze

    Jack–

    It should be a top priority - if it wasn't for the space program, CNN wouldn't have the satellites it needs to be in business!

    Any money spent is spent here in the USA – supporting engineers and other support firms.

    Please don't be short-sighted and kill about the only thing we can all be proud of!!

    July 6, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  192. anthony carcaldi

    Regarding funding for Mars/Jupiter/the Moon....let's take care of humans
    on Earth first. Furthermore none of us will most likely ever want to
    travel beyond Earth as there are no Starbucks out there.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  193. Kate R in SW Fla

    I wish someone would make a list of all the technological advances that can be attributed to our space programs to date. We are not talking Tang here, either. In fact, every dollar that we have invested in these programs have been repaid a thousandfold, perhaps a millionfold, in taxes collected from all the jobs and commerce that resulted from these discoveries. If we want to remain at the forefront of invention, we had better think long and hard before we curtail further research and inventment is Space Programs.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  194. Randal from Ohio

    Jack,

    Zero gravity should have the same priority - zero.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  195. Tom Wilcox

    We must do it. We must continue the technological and engineering challenge of exploring our solar system. we must put habitats on the moon. we must make cheap transport to get there and other locations in our system. it is vital to our growth as a world. It is a way to focus all of the world onto one thing. Unless we are looking forward to the new and untouched, we will have to look inward at a world that is difficult to deal with environmentally, and has a burgeoning population.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  196. Anonymous

    The US space program encourages innovation and technological progress. The space program has created innovations in technology such as Velcro and advancements in computer technology, advancements and innovations that might have not been possible had it not been for the space program. In fact, I'm not sure we would have such things as Cafferty's blogs had it not been for the space program encouraging technological advancements.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  197. george

    in spite of budgetary cuts nasa's main objective in my opinion should be what it has allways been scientific researchand space exploration.
    money's not the issue its burocracy........and govermant money being missappropriated. you know on war's,geopolitical but kissing ect ect.

    space exploration needs to go private.thats were the money is and the will to succeed.
    george
    chester,ct.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  198. Barbara Greenslate

    As a resident of the Space Coast, and a retired worker of United Space Alliance, a NASA contractor, I will tell you that any effort we make into space exploration is beneficial. The list of beneficial things that have come out of the space endeavor is endless and too numerous to chronical here. If we continue our space program we will add to these benefits, to say nothing of providing jobs. I am not talking about just jobs here at KSC, but jobs all over the country through contractors and suppliers and any number of other neccesary assistance required for space exploration. The public is generally short-sighted when it comes to the space industry. They have no idea of the over-all benefits derived from the project.
    Barbara Greenslate, Cocoa, Florida

    July 6, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  199. Nancy, Tennessee

    It's time to stop playing Star Wars when a country is in debt up to its eyeballs. NASA has had a busy schedule trying to get in all the missions the space shuttles had left before the deadline to stop using them. The last shuttle cost us $1.8 million dollars just to fly it back to Florida from Texas. And who cares if we fly to the moon again or on to Mars. The space program lost out to unemployment, health care reform, and cancer research in my priorities. I wish the law makers would have the courage to say enough space exploration until the economy improves.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  200. Joe, St George (Utah)

    The space program should never be put on hold or have programs done on the cheap. Does anyone remember the early Apollo program and the money the program tried to save? Gus Grissom put a lemon on the first capsules that were made and look what happen to him on Apollo 1! Too many lives are at stake to do this on the cheap!

    July 6, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  201. Raymond Ridge

    We've reached a point of dimishing returns from the space program. We know that space travel is limited by the human body. Astronauts already suffer bone & muscle problems on relatively short flights, and the return on investment just doesn't pencil out.

    We need to sell-off NASA to realize on a national asset to anyone interested in underwriting this poor investment, and elect to ameliorate life on this planet, beginning with passage of a government option for health care!

    Government needs to begin realizing on the vast resources of our country to pay-down the national debt, but without selling out to the Corporate Terrorists (i.e. those considered "too big to fail")

    July 6, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  202. Caleb S

    Let's not deny it, the first moon landing was just a stunt in the technological arms race with the Soviet Union. This time we are looking at actually inhabiting the moon. Compounded with the eventual exploration of Mars, we are seeing the beginning steps to eventual colonization of space. The investments into space exploration and research have always given us more technology and inspired growth in the scientific community. There is no doubt in my mind that the use of funds for space exploration will pay a mighty dividend if we can safely transport and establish human colonies on the moon and other planets, not just for the United States, but for man kind as a whole.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  203. James (DC)

    This kind of science for the purpose of discovery is never going to be a "priority", people are always going to point out more immediate and tangible crises that deserve attention. The space program advanced before because the US felt threatened by the USSR gaining domination of space; there doesn't seem to be an antagonist who will do so in the near future. Science for the sake of science, be it space exploration, cancer research, or subatomic physics, is necessary for the advancement of the species, but it is a necessarily slow and meticulous process that will often be overlooked in comparison with economic cycles and human suffering.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  204. Karl Pershing

    No way. We are not worthy of such great things anymore. We do not have and will not have the money. We are becoming thirld world. We have invasions from Latin America, European American population is in decline and Jewish policy makers keep sending us to wars for long term national security of Israel. Forget Mars. Lets make the United States into a great nation again... First!

    Karl
    Los Angeles

    July 6, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  205. Chad S

    Continued space exploration is important, but, especially in these economic times, needs to be paced. We're not in the same situation we were in during the 1960s, when the space race was not only a point of pride, it developed alongside an arms race and technological advances. Space exploration is important, and we should have goals that we set and reach, but it isn't urgent at the moment. Whether we reach the moon in 2015 or 2020 won't make a big difference, and therefore the program should be paced and not spend unnecessary amounts of money on the effort. Also, it probably wouldn't hurt to build some sense among the public of the direction of the space program. What is the purpose of the program? What do we gain from it? I think Americans don't have the same sense as they did in the 1960s of what we're working towards and why. It wouldn't hurt to rebuild that for this millenium.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  206. Jason Yee

    We need to keep our money here on earth, where we need it, Jack. We give Billions to NASA and they our money on "research". Where does this money go? Up space? Up in smoke? We discover that there are microorganisms on Jupiter? Great! But, none of this helps us solve the REAL pressing problems we have here on the ground.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  207. Lisa Smith

    Where does it leave us? Well why don't we ask all the recently unemployed people their thoughts, or the 47 million Americans without health insurance. Perhaps ask the superintendents of hopelessly drained school districts like Detroit or Washington D.C or the young adults entering into college only to be saddled with huge loans to repay after they graduate. You know I could just go on and on and on.... Space program, ha, it sounds like it should just be a Nintendo Wii game.

    Lisa Smith
    Grosse Pointe, MI

    July 6, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  208. Rikk

    It should go without saying....
    It's foolish to have all of your eggs in one basket....

    Also,
    What would China or North Korea (think mieesl tests) do with a moon base.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  209. Lisa in Ga

    Come on Jack, who cares about space....let China get there first.... let them spend some on the billions they have made off us... the GREAT USA..... thats the problem with the the US now...... greed... spending more than we make... for unneccesary bs.... ask them how many jobs this will create? That will be the answer.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  210. Aacer

    None...... instead of spending 150 billion +, you only need one fifth of that to insure everyone in this nation and also find a solution for poverty and homlessness

    July 6, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  211. Tracey Greene from Huntsville Alabama

    As the wife of a NASA rocket scientist, I see first hand what technologies the space program brings to our lives, and the jobs that are created. And what most people do not see, is the constant struggle for funding that makes it so difficult to see these projects to fruition. And this funding is a drop in the perverbial bucket compared to other programs. Does no one remember the Kennedy and von Braun years and the pride that our country took in our achievements? Apparently not. Quit blaming our problems on projects that have nothing to do with our current financial woes and leave our scientists in peace to do their jobs. Exploration is inherent in our genes as humans.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  212. Dan In Japan

    Really Jack, 100 billion?They did it before with leftover tank parts and a computer with less power than my kid's iPod. Compared to how they did it before, we should be able to use a Prius, an iPhone and few old pieces of amusment park rides.
    100 billion. Really?

    July 6, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  213. Charles

    What have we gained in the past forty some years of space exploration and going to the moon? Not much I can see to influence and improve our country's future.

    Let's forget space exploration for now and reallocate our resources to take care of the unfortunate members of our society who can not afford health care coverage. Trillions spent on medical research, steem cells and worthy causes like fighting cancer and other diseases will go a LONG LONG way.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  214. Bobby

    Private industry is the future of the space program. NASA's budget is way over blown just like must government agencies. It doesn't make any sense for a project to cost 150billion dollars. Are they planning to build a stardestroyer?

    July 6, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  215. Samuel C

    The space program should in no way be put on hold. The fact is that whether people like it or not, space holds the future of our species. When that time comes, it may be nothing more than a matter of years that separates our species surviving or being obliterated, and is that really a risk we want to take in the long run?

    July 6, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  216. Douglas and Judith Campbell

    What priority should the space program have? NONE!

    July 6, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  217. Sally Metry, Reseda-CA

    Perhaps next time I should send my job application to the moon!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME...we are the youngest country IN THE WORLD and look what we have done with our resources after 233 years and where do you stand, this is all is a result of misgudgement in spending, please please lets look to us on earth before we think of the moon

    July 6, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  218. Dennis, Columbus, Ohio

    Aside from all the great technical advances we have made over the last 40 plus years of space exploration we are at a place now where we need to cut back on all things outside our own national interest, where possible.
    We measure space in ‘light years’ or millions and billions of earth years. So if we take a couple years off it wouldn’t even be seen as a blip in galactic history.
    Warp speed ahead Cafferty!

    July 6, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  219. Dan - Eustis, florida

    Extremely low, what do we need a space program for when we can.t take care of business here on Earth. We are in debt up to our eye balls. As a
    Nation we are deeply in debt to China. We have lost trillions in Personal
    wealth and we are thinking of going to the moon. How stupid is that.
    Even if Newt Gingrich, Sara Palin and Rush Limbaugh were the
    prospective Astrounauts for the Moon shot we just can.t afford stupid
    expenditures.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  220. Daniel

    I think that it should have a high priority. What shouldn't have a high priority are all of these committees that "needed" to run and regulate things. I mean come on, The committee on Human Space Flight Plans. And I bet they all make six figures.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  221. Aron Sora

    We need a macro-engineering project. But not just any macro-engineering project. Yes, we can build a better city, a longer bridge, a higher building or a bigger canal, but the all lack something. It is just what we have done before, but bigger and they do not tap into something deep within our instinct. I believe humans are driven to protect and better the world for the next generation. Imagine a day when nothing, absolutely nothing can wipe out humanity. Imagine a day where every star supports life. THAT, that is a purpose. Thinking of that gives life and energy to a person. Looking up everyday and seeing that there is nearly infinite possibilities and wilderness builds a huge fire in the heart. When I wake up, I first think for this possibility and when I want to stop studying or blogging or working all I have to do, I look up. The fire will never die in me because of this; this mission has complete control over me. Space flows through my veins.

    NASA shows this is possible, it shows that anything one dreams can happen. IT shows that not even the huge gravity of Earth can hold back passion; can hold back a dream! Yes, NASA would be the worst, most inefficient corporation in the world, but they are not a corporation. Every human who sees a launch is lit like a candle out of the burning cloud of a shuttle escaping the chains of gravity and that will never, ever go out. This fire in even one person is well worth the cost of one shuttle flight, but this fire is not given to just one person. A launch lights the world! Once humanity is given this passion NOTHING will stop us. We will be an unstoppable species.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  222. Jim in Fairfield, CA

    NASA’s proposed operating budget for FY2010 is $18.7 Billion dollars.

    That may sound like a lot, but it works out to about $60 dollars a year for the average American – which is $5 a month, or $1.25 a week, or $0.16 cents a day. That’s less than the cost of a Cheeseburger or a Double Mocha Latte at your neighborhood coffee shop!

    In comparison, the budget for Social Security will be $655 Billion for 2010, which is 35 times larger than NASA’s budget.

    Congress recently passed a “stimulus” package of $787 Billion for the Banking, Mortgage and Automobile industries. Funding bills for Defense ($663 Billion), Medicare ($453 Billion), Medicaid ($290 Billion), Health & Human Services ($78.7 Billion), Transportation ($72.5 Billion), Education ($61.7 Billion), Housing & Urban Development ($47.5 Billion), Veteran’s Affairs ($52.5 Billion), Homeland Security ($42.7 Billion), International Assistance ($27.483 Billion) and Energy ($26.3 Billion) round out the annual laundry list.

    All things relative, NASA’s budget is neither a significant tap on social programs, nor a drain on the overall $3.1 Trillion Federal Budget.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  223. ED, Champaign

    Jack,
    The money that is spent on the space program is not "Going to Waste" as many of the people have commented. In fact most of that money is being paid to goverment employees with meger salaries and middle class mortages. The rest is spent on universities for research, companies for manufacturing and schools for outreach. I really fail to see how ANY of the money spent on the space program (primarly manned space) is going to waste. in fact cutting a small portion of the budget in the space program will cut more jobs which will just make this economic problems worse.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  224. Ptrick Joiner Port Charlotte, fl

    I think it should have a high priority. It is important that we explore space and return to the moon and go to mars. I beleive this is the same as the fithtern, sixteen and seventeen hundreds and will, in the long run, reward us in knowledge and greater economy as it did then.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  225. Hank

    I recently attended the launch of the Atlas V rocket carrying the LRO/LCROSS (now at the moon). I fully support NASA and the manned-flight program, whatever incarnation they decide upon. We as a species have been exploring for as long as we've been on earth... and we need to keep exploring. If the US manned-flights are scrapped, I will become a huge fan of Russian and Chinese exploration- the US will fall far behind other nations.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  226. Don from Warwick NY

    Very high. A stimulus plan that gives billions to create high-tech jobs in aerospace and engineering would have been much more sensible and inspiring than one that gave trillions for banks, insurance companies and supposed bridges and roads. Who has ever been inspired by a bank? It's the 21st century. US workers should be put back to work building spacecraft, not digging ditches.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  227. Gerry Goodrich

    Continuing to cut the space program is a great way destroy yet more jobs in the US. Far worse, not aggressively pursuing it is a disaster for US based technology.

    The space program is shovel ready for engineers and technical support employees. Due to it's connection with military interests, it is more difficult to outsource these jobs. Do we really want to continue the US's technical decline?

    Not a dime was spent on the moon, the same is true of an ambitious space program.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  228. Tony Delise

    What's the big rush to get back to the moon? There are no great rewards for getting to Mars and we may never find intelligent life in the milky way. This includes earth. We need to get our house in order soon or we might be the next species to become extinct. We need to use Nasa's budget to solve human problems and make live better with advances of DNA. The starts will always be out there, we may not.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  229. Derek in Tennessee

    You want to know how the United States is going to remain competitive? It's through technology and the exploration of space. We can no longer compete in manufacturing (can't argue with cheap labor) and some of our service-based economy might eventually get outsourced with the internet as the medium. Our nation needs to fund the future and NASA needs to lead the way. I encourage everyone to read NASA's Spinoff magazine if they have any doubts as to what NASA has given us! It is time NOW to establish a permanent presence in space outside of low Earth orbit. Having such a large project like Constellation can retool American industry towards even higher tech jobs that CAN'T be outsourced. Once we get to the Moon we can start preparing for space industry including 1/6 gravity manufacturing and research and development. It's the only way the United States can hope to retain its leadership in the world and eventually in the solar system. In fact, although there is an initial sticker shock, I believe this will ultimately stabilize the American economy. I'd like to close with a quote from Konstantin Tsiolkovsky: "The Earth is the cradle of humanity, but mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever."

    July 6, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  230. Jason in CA

    We need to keep our money here on earth, where we need it, Jack. We give Billions to NASA and they spend our money on “research”. Where does this money go? Up space? Up in smoke? We discover that there are microorganisms on Jupiter? Great! But, none of this helps us solve the REAL pressing problems we have here on the ground.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  231. Nick

    We should continue to fully fund our space program. It is in our communal human interest to explore, and this is exactly why we have the United States.

    The achievements and technological gain we have created through our reach for the stars has been incredible. Stopping funding means that we can no longer explore and gain wisdom about ideas and concepts much larger than ourselves because we can't deal with our problems of today.

    This is absurd. The problems we have today that could potentially break us have been in place for quite some time. They have simply been neglected and now have to be addressed. This should not mean that we all panic and cut funding to positive, uplifting areas which have previously been so important.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  232. nancy

    Most people will say no to NASA but there should be a compromise in funding...private and public. The research is more valuable to our lives than most people realize.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  233. Tony Delise

    What's the big rush to get back to the moon? There are no great rewards for getting to Mars and we may never find intelligent life in the milky way. This includes earth. We need to get our house in order soon or we might be the next species to become extinct. We need to use Nasa's budget to solve human problems and make live better with advances of DNA. The stars will always be out there, we may not.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  234. Cherie

    Jack.. How can the U.S. Government stop the shuttle program, when the International Space Station isn't finished yet?
    Use some of the infamous Stimulus money for the space program, so we can invent more cool stuff, like Tang, Teflon, and Velcro.

    Cherie
    Highland, CA

    July 6, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  235. frank parente

    Hey Jack:

    Why spend money on Space, We have plenty of it
    between the Ears of the People running our goverment,
    maybe we should send a bunch of them out their and
    see if they can improve things on the Moon? Good Luck.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  236. Ken in NC

    The Space Program can be scaled back a lot Jack because the Republican Party is no longer growing at such a rate that we will continue to need "Space" to store all of them.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  237. gerald

    Priorities have to be determined by the availability of financial resources to implement them. If there is less money they have to be reconfigured accordingly. Why spend this money to go to the Moon and Mars if it is sorely needed at home? These space missions are far from urgent. Getting out of the recession as soon as possible is urgent.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  238. Aaron Wallace

    Manned spaceflight, while expensive yeids benefits far beyond it's basic premise. Thechnology is a key component in building an economy that is competative and effective. Additionally, the concern of the impact on leaving space travel and development to other countries would have on national security is potentially serious. The solution might be to engage to a greater degree the global community in a coalition effort to develop space. This would have the benefit of both spreading the costs and making closer relations and ties to the global community.

    Aaron Wallace

    July 6, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  239. Sparky McMuttons

    $6 billion for a capsule?!!!

    When you have private companies like SpaceX developing a rocket AND a capsule that will be supplying the IIS for vastly less it really makes me think the answer is the commercialization of space.

    That being said, a national space program is critical for science and furthering the dreams and innate spirt of humanity for exploration and discovery. Go to the moon baby!

    July 6, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  240. Bill

    The space program should be parked forever. Seriously what use is it to know that there was once water on Mars? Useless information for $500 please Alex...

    For that matter your empire needs to be parked. Why not bring all of the troops home from everywhere immediately and begin life as a normal, peaceful country? Imagine focusing your energy inwards instead of outward? There is no telling what you are capable of, time is running out for you though so you had better hurry.

    The world isn't in love with America anymore and it's a matter of time until your dollar is dethroned as the benchmark currency internationally. We just don't trust you. Your kids are fat and stupid. You pay more for health care than most countries and yet rank #37 in the world for health just behind Morocco for crying out loud.

    I could go on, suffice to say that it is time to focus on inner space.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  241. Naveen Mudaliar

    NASA and the space program have done so much over the years to improve our quality of life. They create thousands of jobs and pump billions into the economy. We must continue to fund missions to the Moon and Mars regardless of the initial sticker shock. If the government can spend hundreds of billions in an instant to bail out the banks and automakers, we can invest a fraction of that amount over the next thirty years to explore our solar system and feed the human desire for discovery. At least we'll get a return for our expenditures this way.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  242. Jason in CA

    We need to keep our money here on earth, where we need it, Jack. We give Billions to NASA and they spend our money on “research”. Where does this money go? Up in space? Up in smoke? We discover that there are microorganisms on Jupiter? Great! But, none of this helps us solve the REAL pressing problems we have here on the ground.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  243. Marc Dichter

    Jack, I am 58 years old and have been a proponent of man space flight since Al Sheppard first flight. I don't know you realize how important going back to the moon is. The Chineese are trying to get there by 2020. The reason for this is that there is an element on the moon called HELIUM 3. The element is rare on the earth but plentiful on the moon. The idea here is to mine the moon and use this element to eventually power fusion electric reactors, this would give us unlimited clean power.For the national good we must continue on the road back to the moon. Any less would cause the Chineese to probably claim the moon.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  244. Robert Wiens

    We need to scale back on the space program until we can get our finances back in line. The last 8 yrs of lack of government oversite in the area of business has crippled us with a massive debt caused by greedy businessmen. The forty billion profit by Exxon Mobile is an example of that. Please don't blame the freeing of the people of Iraq for causing our problems because most of the money spent by us on the war is returned to us in the form of military payroll, military armaments and other expenditures like Blackwater Inc.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  245. Jim Chebuhar Marshalltown, IA

    For five years there have been two robotic rovers on Mars and all they need is sunlight for power. If NASA can only do that millions of miles from Earth then they haven't really helped us here have they.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  246. Tanner Kelly

    Remember the excitement and patriotism inspired by space travel in the 1960s? Looking back upon this hugely significant period in American history, I can see that we have lost the vigor and enthusiasm that once rallied the nation. If putting a man on Mars can bring a sensation of national pride back to the American people, there's no amount of money I wouldn't be willing to give. Space travel isn't merely a form of exploration in this country, it's a symbol of American strength, will-power and determination... not only domestically, but across the globe.

    Tanner Kelly
    Orange County, CA

    July 6, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  247. Bill Thwaites

    I love the space program, but a manned space program is a total waste. Robots don't need a round trip ticket. Robots don't need life insurance. People should stay of Earth until we have universal health insurance, a smaller military, 100% renewable energy and a budget surplus.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  248. Naveen Mudaliar, Jacksonville, FL

    NASA and the space program have done so much over the years to improve our quality of life. They create thousands of jobs and pump billions into the economy. We must continue to fund missions to the Moon and Mars regardless of the initial sticker shock. If the government can spend hundreds of billions in an instant to bail out the banks and automakers, we can invest a fraction of that amount over the next thirty years to explore our solar system and feed the human desire for discovery. At least we’ll get a return for our expenditures this way.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  249. JK sharma

    Jack,
    There is no price for knowledge that we can't pay. The knowledge is the future. Exploration of the universe is as important as our life itself. Can you think of a life without science and innovation. Think of a life without Electricity, Medicine for various disease or without internet. If Defense department was not to fund the Internet technology would not have taken the path that it had in our life. So we can cut on any thing else but certainly not on science and exploration. We should be ready to eat just one meal a day still explore because that is what is future - full of promise and hope.
    Thanks.
    JK

    July 6, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  250. Shari, Florida

    The space program may well be a place where some of the greatest scientfic minds come together and produce technologies that make our lives, and probably, our futures better. But as a product of and now a parent/4 boxes of kleenex per semester contributor with a child in the education system in the same state as the Kennedy Space Center, I think at this point we should invest what little funds we have in the education and welfare of the next generation, because from where I sit at the homework desk every evening, if things keep going like this, in 20 years we aren't going to have anyone who will understand how to use the machinery over at the Cape.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  251. Joe

    Jack:

    I heard the same arguments against satellites (that enable this broadcast) and against Apollo whose technolgy makes possible the medical, communication, and quality-of-life advances we enjoy today. The money we invest in manned space exploration – in developing the technology to go to the Moon today – will yield the knowledge here on EARTH that we need now. To the extent we do not go into space is the extent to which we will be unable to solve our environmnetal problems in a technologically efficient manner. Could fish ever envision fire? What fire is waiting for us know? AS JFK said in September 12, 1962 "new knowledge for peace and hope is there." We cannot solve the problems of Earth solely on Earth.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  252. Tom Gorey

    While this county may be presently in a rescission it is evitable that mankind will always endeavor exploration. It is important for humankind to understand and be aware of our surroundings. That being said, it does indeed sound like a big price tag at the taxpayers expense. Maybe we should weigh both the Constellation and Jupiter projects carefully and act accordingly. Successful Space missions have always been a huge moral booster and might just be the shot in the arm this county needs to get back on track.

    -Tom from Columbus Ohio

    July 6, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  253. Jeffrey M. Lauffer

    One of the ways the world looks up to the United States is in our leadership role in science, exploration, and the betterment of the human condition. No endeavour better showcases this than this nation's space program. The desire to see what lays beyond the horizon defines humanity at its core. The desire to know defines our daily struggles. The desire to better our condition defines the hope of all citizens of this planet. From velcro to micro medical components, the space program is probably the last true bargain that people can invest in. The answer to whether the space program is worth the money in the face of fiscal difficulties is a resounding YES!

    July 6, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  254. Rosemary Robertson

    We can go to the moon as soon as we fix the problems on earth, ie poverty, energy, war, health care inequities, hunger, etc. That is unless we discover that the moon is made from greenbacks instead of green cheese.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  255. Raymond Gellner

    Jack
    Despite the growing national debt, we do need the space program. Not only does it create jobs, it also increases our technology base and creates enthusiasm in schools for science, something that is sorely lacking presently. We need such goals to advance forward and be competitive in the world, for without such striving, we will become a third world nation. The Europeans, Japan, and China all are moving forward; we need to do likewise.
    We should however find cheaper methods of achieving these goals, for they are out there. For example, Mars can be reached through a Mars-direct program which could be done for a fraction of the cost of the present plan; it is a waste to incorporate the moon in such a plan, though separate missions to the moon are warranted.

    Raymond Gellner
    Charlotte, NC

    July 6, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  256. Don

    Many of todays technologies and breakthroughs have been born from the things learned from our space programs past, Mercury, Apollo, Skylab, etc. Does NASA need to fiure out a way to do it more efficiently? Yes, but without risking safety on manned missions. Not to mention all the jobs that would be lost if our space program fell apart. It's not just NASA, but all the subcontractors that they employ. The benefits are far greater than the costs.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  257. jean

    priority that should be given to the space program? None at all.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  258. William Dillard

    Dear Jack,
    The government told us in the 70's that the average person didn't care about space missions because the ratings were down on tv. Now, they're telling us we can't because there is no money. NASA has always had a tiny fraction of the national budget. They spent a trillion dollars on a war for profit in Iraq, they bailed out unsustainable corporations with hundreds of billions (with trillions to come), inflationary trillions are being printed and don't forget the so-called stimulus plans? Give us a break. The space program with a modest cost would pay for itself in 15 years with a myriad of scientific and technological dividends; not to mention give us some visionary goals. It's embarrassing to see the United States willfully become a technology follower instead of a leader. I say spend the 500 million now while the Dollars have that face value...It's a deal.
    William Dillard, Miami, FL.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  259. Mark, Bloomingdale MI

    NASA should refocus its spending on technologies that would make future space exploration more economical, such as the long talked about plans for using magnetic levitation assisted launching in to space. It would be smart to invest in developing technologies that would be helpful to NASA and still applied practically to fix and modernize America's crumbling infrastructure.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  260. Ken Northcutt, Choctaw, Oklahoma

    At this point I think the money would be better spent learning more about our own planet.
    We know very little about our oceans. If we don't learn to take care of Mother Earth our species won't be around long enough to go to Mars.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  261. AspenFreePress

    The Fed's presses can print enough dollars to fund the space program in less time than it takes a metro daily to run off an early edition. What's the big deal? Sterling Greenwood/Aspen Free Press

    July 6, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  262. Barb in the Bronx

    Whoever leads in space exploration and presence leads the world. In the 1960's, money was not a deterrent and should not be now. It's absolutely imperative that America rekindle and maintain our leadership in human space exploration, and we don't have until 2020 to do it. Somehow, Some way, we MUST get back to the moon as soon as possible. If someone else does it we will lose our standing in the world in many ways. It can be a limited scope compared to current programs, but the statement is vital.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  263. Seth in New Hampshire

    The space program needs funding, comets can be mined for water and resources, the developments made in research help the country directly. Energy can produced by many means in space and in earth's relation to the cosmos. Humanity's problems are greater than just the economy.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  264. Peter Anastopulos

    The Space program is what America is all about not Iraq ,not Afghanistan. .Our proudest moments in mid 20th century America on come from the Space program.The technology generated gave our economic engine boost let along the world a .Not committing to space with India,Japan,Russia ,France, China moving forward with there programs will send the wrong signs .I will gladly pay a Space Tax if it would go directly to NASA. I am not ready to give up Space and if I were in charge thats who I would bale out .Peter Anastopulos

    July 6, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  265. steve

    Since it's inception, our space program has created more wealth than it has costed and has saved more lives and has done more for our healthcare system than Obama's healthcare plan could possibly accomplish. If we can't afford to continue our space program, then we can't afford Obama or the Democrat majority. I think it would be laughable to say that we can't afford a space program while claiming that we can afford the $2 to 3.5 trillion lifetime cost of amnesty for illegal aliens.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  266. Bobby

    Jack,
    didn't we put a man on the moon in 69? For what? It should be a low priority. Behind health care and debt reduction. Let the Chinese go to the moon. Big deal. We have more pressing issues at home.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  267. Tom from Columbus Ohio

    While this county may be presently in a rescission it is inevitable that mankind will always endeavor exploration. It is important for humankind to understand and be aware of our surroundings. That being said, it does indeed sound like a big price tag at the taxpayers expense. Maybe we should weigh both the Constellation and Jupiter projects carefully and act accordingly. Successful Space missions have always been a huge moral booster and might just be the shot in the arm this county needs to get back on track.

    -Tom
    Columbus Ohio

    July 6, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  268. Annie, Atlanta

    I saw an interesting science program last night on putting solar energy collectors in space and transmitting them down to earth as microwaves, for electrical power. That might be money better spent right now.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  269. John, Fort Collins, CO

    The space programs should have a very high priority. JFK's commitment to have a man on the moon by the end of the 1960's spawned the high-tech era that fueled out country's economy for thirty years. My vote is to reach for the stars; for both the inquisitive mind and the economy.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  270. Claire in Kansas

    Jack, the space program's first priority needs to be astronaut safety- lack of funding and a time crunch ultimately led to the Challenger disaster and the tragic loss of American lives. NASA is a scientific organization that is unfortunately funded by the government, and therefore is responsible to Congress about spending- however, Congress isn't a scientific organization and seeing as they're mainly focused on being re-elected, and they just don't understand the consequences of slashing the budgets at NASA- the lives of some of the brightest American men and women.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  271. Reginald

    Jack the moon should be in the budget the reason everyone including China plan to go there is the moon has an unlimited supply of clean nuclear energy that would supply any country with excess to it with energy independence for generations. If we don’t go back there it would be the biggest strategic mistake our country make for years to come.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  272. john

    Why all the competition? Couldn't NASA work together with other programs like it has in the past? The Cold War is over. Science, and the protection of the earth is EVERYONE's concern. Perhaps NASA and others should focus on asteroid detection, the Orion (versus the space shuttle) and using the international space station to it's fullest since we've invested so much in it already.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  273. Joe Druecker

    When a civilization stops exploring and pushing the limits of its knowledge- that civilization starts to die.

    There is grandeur in exploration on the Moon and further beyond on Mars. Of all the tings we have done to our children – let us not deprive them of the exhiliration and thrill that we who saw it, had during Apollo.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  274. Frank

    We should not spend a dime going to the moon until all Americans have naional health care.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  275. Conor in Chicago

    Jack,

    A few points:

    1) The first country to have a base on the moon will dominate the 21st century. It will be like having the 1st atomic bomb.
    2) So far as I can tell, ending our pointless wars will pay for this program easily.

    If the world is going to continue under the nation-state structure we will need to continue the space program for our own survivial.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  276. lynne from NC

    Space research takes a backseat to survival. Right now I need health care and a job. I don't care one wit about the space program unless they have a job with benefits for me.

    Besides if any aliens out there pick up the chatter from satellites, they will come to the conclusion that we're too primitive to deal with anyway with our wars, greed and self-absorption nature.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  277. Tina, Ontario Canada

    With science lacking in interest in so many children, there needs to be something to motive this...just as the "Space Race" did at one time. However, it has to be done responsibly, with accountably; not as some day dream for it will become a nightmare!

    July 6, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  278. Dawson from Minneapolis, MN

    I think they should dump or downgrade the space program. I will take a cart full of groceries over a picture of space any day. Stop wasting money and feed people. Also astronauts get paid way too much. Just as intelligent and capable people would do it for far less. Cut those meaningless jobs and put people to work. It must be nice to waste my tax dollars Mr. Obama. I'm glad I voted for half-hearted change we can't afford.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  279. Abe From Denver

    NASA's budget for 2008: $17.3 billion
    Total U.S. budget for 2008: $2.98 trillion

    That means NASA takes up a whopping half of one percent of the money we spend. They could fund the Constellation program AND the Jupiter program all in this fiscal year and it would barely be noticeable compared to the trillions we spend.
    If the American public can't see the value in a greater understanding of the universe, then at least they should value the water filters, invisible braces, cordless tools, memory foam mattresses, adjustable fire detectors, long-distance communication (satellites), ear thermometers, kidney dialysis machines, athletic padding and helmets, and many, many other innovations and inventions made possible by NASA research.

    History has proven time and time again that any money we spend in science and medical funding we get back in spades. I for one would quadruple the NASA budget AT LEAST. We can find other, less important things to cut out of the budget.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  280. Sarah in Cape Canaveral, FL

    In a culture where profits measure success and importance, the space program is the only remaining area where knowledge is sought for its own sake. The space program has been responsible for a plethera of technological advances. If you are uniformed of these please visit NASA's website because this is public knowledge. If the space program goes south THOUSANDS of dedicated scientists will lose their jobs and an entire county here in FL will be destitute. Can we really afford to sacrifice our space program in which the United States is still the world leader? I think not, afterall once you let it go you cannot simply replace it by picking up another at Walmart!

    July 6, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  281. Bob Dutilly

    Mr. Cafferty,

    Most people do not understand the space program. It is made up of many scientists, engineers, technicians and support people. Not only NASA personnel of about 18,000 but also over 100,000 contractors. The space program encompasses not only human exploration but also earth and space science satellites, climate studies, aeronautical research for the country and numerous other activities. In 1972, the administration cut back the space program and consequently many thousands of highly educated people were out of work. The money spent on the space program is not thrown into space but is spent on the salaries of people working around the country. The young people growing up notice that if the space program is seriously cut, then math, science and engineering professions suffer because they do not feel it is a worthwhile profession. I have since retired from NASA and it was the greatest experience that I could have ever had.

    thank you
    bob dutilly

    July 6, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  282. Jeff in Houston

    Higher than you would think Jack. For once, let us invest in something based in knowledge, exploration, and progress. Our future may depend on the technology derived from such a program. Here is where you can get some money: get rid of the supports for the oil companies. Let them rot in their own filth and greed.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  283. Mary Bren

    NONE! We are already in outer space with the economy. Put "moon money" into HealthCare!

    Mary Bren, GA

    July 6, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  284. Michael Texas

    Egyptians built pyrimids for jobs work programs, great wall in china etc., why not continue with the space program. Great jobs and really doesn't acomplish anything but knowledge of what we have done in the past.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  285. Priom

    Space exploration has accomplished great things but there's a time for everything. Right now we need to focus on all the problems right here on Earth before we spend billions for NASA.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  286. Jim, from Las Vegas

    The space program should have a very high priority. Just look at how many items we use everyday that orginated with it, starting with electronics. Much of our medical knowledge comes from it, too. The space program has been a huge sucess story in terms of return on investment.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  287. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Jack this is an easy one. The Space Program should come just after the nation funds building a memorial for former President George W. Bush in New Orleans.
    That black hole in space sucks up more than light and space dust – it sucks up billions of hard-earned dollars with no tangible benefit or return.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  288. Spider Robinson

    As SF writer Robert Heinlein said, to participate successfully in the evolution of a democratic society, citizens need to be willing to reexamine assumptions, including taking a look at the benefits the space program has provided its citizens.

    From my POV, NASA has failed to develop more than a small fraction of the commercial potential of space. If we citizens' supported the agency’s activities, it would ultimately reduce the cost of accessing the resources of space, which could prevent the spread of the ongoing "resource wars" we’re experiencing.

    No activity offers greater economic benefits than the rapid development of space-based industry and power generation, supported in part by low-cost space tourism services. A range of government policies should be revised to reflect this.

    If we restrict ourselves to this planet, we will gnaw it bare. And the window for escape is closing. That’s why the Chinese, a prudent nation, are heavily committed to exploiting the moon, and space generally.

    –Spider Robinson, science fiction author

    July 6, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  289. Philip Sakornsin

       Given our country's disastrous economy in the immediate short term, it would be prudent that we recreate ourselves through lofty space flight goals in the way that we were motivated to do so during our space race with the Soviets of the 50s and 60s.    The long-term technological gains from that era that we enjoy and take for granted (Ie. computer chip, remote controls, Personal Computers, cell phone technology, etc.) everything that forms the technological backbone of the American economy was born out of a necessity to overcome problems in getting to the moon. The potential for even greater technological leaps that could only be a positive boom to our country's economy, and could be the basis of a stronger economy driven by the creation of a new industrial base acompanied by  thousands of new jobs in all inter-related fields in this endeavor.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  290. Patrick Joiner Port Charlotte, fl

    I think it should have a high priority. It is important that we explore space and return to the moon and go to mars. I beleive this is the same as the fithtern, sixteen and seventeen hundreds and will, in the long run, reward us in knowledge and greater economy as it did then.
    Think about it this way, What would of happened if christopher columbus had never sailed to the america’s? simple we wouldnt be here today! Exploration is ecentral to civilization with out we can never asertain a greater sence of culture and technology. if anything i think it was best said by JFK, “If this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything, it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space.” -John F. Kenndy

    July 6, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  291. David E. Cozad

    Considering the nature and extent of the coming energy crisis, the only objective of the US space program is to get into space and start building space based solar voltaic satellites as fast as possible. When the oil, natural gas, coal, and uranium can no longer support the energy demands of our civilization, we will have to use the energy of the sun directly and that can only be done effectively in space. The Defense Dept is already planning to supply electrical energy to oversea bases by solar voltaic LOE satellites, 1 Megawatt at a time.

    David E. Cozad
    Arlington, TX

    July 6, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  292. Gregory in TN

    Jack,
    Just remember who you are going to call the next time a extinction-level asteroid is heading toward earth at 30,000 mph.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  293. van joyner

    I think the program should be suspended for a while, and put that money toward some of these programs that will help the tax payers. And a study should be done on how much damage the space program as done to cause the problem of global warming,after all,we have been destroying the ozone layers since 1969.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  294. susan- Chicago

    What science have we learned in the last 10 years?

    Please inform us and we can make a better informative decision.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  295. d odom

    The Kennedy space program only gave us a huge leaps in avionics, materials science, medical science, and electronics miniaturization. That hardly compares to the Obama social program to give us nationalized banking, socialized medicine, unionized industry, and collectivized earnings.

    Why would we want to go back to space when in just a few years we'll be able to come to our government homes from our government jobs in our government cars, pick up our kids from our unionized government schools, and watch our "fair and balanced" government news on our government digital tv's. The latter will have been made by the Chinese, with broadcasts coming from their next generation of satellite technology, courtesy of their space program.

    The next time we hear "one small step for man....", it will be from mars or beyond, ......in mandarin.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  296. Krystal in California

    Perhaps if we placed more funding into education, then it would be worth it to prioritize space programs. As an educator, I see students just trying to get by and not having any interest in their future here on this planet, let alone future on other planets. If more funding could be put towards better schools, better programs and education that actually benefits our youth, perhaps we could have enough interest to invest more in a space program.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  297. Peninnah

    I am sure that the Trillions of dollars spent on the space program can be used for health care. Let's take care of our own back yard before we start spending money in space.

    Let the private industry take over the space exploration, they are the ones that benefit from it.

    I can't believe that the wealthiest nation in the world would allow its citizens to make a choice between eating or taking life sustaining medicines.

    I want the public option. Health care for all Americans now!

    July 6, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  298. H.Hildenbrand

    What difference does it make they’re spending a lot more than that on all the pet projects the Democrats have sitting on all these years and called it a stimulus package. Just print more money got the moon Mars and anywhere else you can think of. If nothing else we may get some scientific breakthrough out of it and probably before the Harry Reid train is finished.

    July 6, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  299. don bradbury

    with the economy in such sad shape why do we need/want to spend millions for space programs? a huge waste of taxpayer dollars to go along with other billions of dollars that are wasted on programs that do nothing to aid the economic recovery.
    i remember the CCC and WPA which, as you know, brought about the TVA, BOULDER(HOOVER) dam, countless projects that provided employment for "the common man" and created the modern infastructure of this nation. different times and different men with different mindsets and priorites--too bad for all of us !

    July 6, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  300. Cheryl Rowland

    My granddaughter and myself were just talking about space recently . we can't figure out what the lure of space is . Humans need a collar and leash on when outside so we don't float away forever . No Mc Donalds or starbucks. no Cnn , or BlockBuster . Why go where you can't get back from

    July 6, 2009 at 7:00 pm |