Senate puts $19.5 Billion on the table for NASA
Getting to Mars has been on NASA’s mind since the days of the Apollo missions, and it looks like it’s really going to happen.
Although it may not seem like it, NASA has been gearing up for a trip to Mars for decades. They have done this by learning as much as possible about Mars by sending rovers, probes, and orbiters at nearly every opportunity. They have also been running experiments on the International Space Station, such as studying the long-term effects that space travel has on the human body. The most recent example of an experiment like this was astronaut Scott Kelly’s year in space. This one was particularly important because a trip to Mars will likely take around 8 months.
The bill that the Senate has proposed is a very interesting one. It provides 19.5 billion dollars for a trip to Mars, and it is expected to pass, but it comes with a few guidelines. First off, it states that NASA needs to do this in the next 25 years; this is the first time a trip to Mars will be mandated by law. The bill has also taken NASA’s current projects into consideration, leaving room within it for projects like the SLS rocket and Orion orbiter, which will play key roles in getting to Mars. Lastly, the bill prevents the incoming president, whoever it may be, from tampering with NASA and its mission to get to Mars. This was a good move and was likely provoked by President Obama ditching the Constellation program shortly after taking office. That program had hoped to put astronauts back on the Moon. This new bill has what NASA needs to succeed, and allowing it to happen will open a new age in space exploration.
When discussing NASA many people get frustrated, annoyed, and discouraged over NASA having any government funding at all. They do not see any purpose in funding NASA, and 19.5 billion dollars over the next twenty-five years could provoke backlash. I think if they could observe the massive positive effect NASA has made, their minds could be changed.
Ignoring the technology that NASA has either greatly improved, created, or just invented altogether, such as the satellites they have put into space that you use everyday for weather reports and communications, and the seemingly endless stream of information that NASA has given us about the solar system and the universe, they are still invaluable.
The reason for this is their unrivaled ability to inspire. What kid growing up didn’t dream of being an astronaut, floating around in microgravity or walking on the Moon? This is the reason we need NASA, and need to fund them. They have inspired countless kids to pursue careers in the STEM fields, and as a result, have contributed to society in an immeasurable way.
King, Ledyard. "Senate Panel Authorizes Money for Mars Mission, Shuttle Replacement." USA Today.
USA Today, 22 Sept. 2016. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.
Liberatore, Stacy. "Senate Introduces Bill to Give Nasa $19.5 Billion for Mars Exploration, but Says It Must Happen within the next 25 Years." Daily Mail. Daily Mail, 23 Sept. 2016. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.
To Authorize the Programs of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and for Other
Purposes, S. 3346, 114th Cong., Https://www.commerce.senate.gov 1-73 (2016). Print.