October 20th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Exploring space: Why’s it so important?

By Zaina Adamu, CNN

Carol Beckles isn't buying into all the space exploration hype. She’s a single, middle-class mother of three living in a modest, cozy three-bedroom home in Atlanta’s suburbs. She foots the college bill of her oldest daughter Tiffany, who – like her mom – wishes she got more government help to pay for tuition.

“It’s definitely hard. From the time that I was a senior (in high school) I had to start figuring out how I was going to pay for this,” said Tiffany who sits close beside her mom.

A mere mention of taxpayers’ dollars going to NASA makes Carol cringe. “I don’t see the use. What are we going out there to do?” she asked. CNN commenters often share these sentiments; one recently identified himself/herself as "waste of tax dollars."

It’s been asked since space exploration began in the late 1950s. Some people argue that some –- if not all –- funding for space exploration could be used to revitalize the economy, fix the education system, or solve undersea mysteries, among other Earth-related issues.

“We need to be researching the bottom of the oceans just as much,” said CNN’s space and science meteorologist Chad Myers. “There could be things at the bottom of the Earth that we don’t know about.”

According to a 2010 CNN/ORC poll, 50% of Americans agreed that the money spent for the space shuttle program - which ended last year - should be spent elsewhere. And in a 2009 Gallup poll, the percentage of Americans who believe the U.S. space program should be scrapped jumped four points: From 4% to 8% in an 11-year period (1998-2009).

The numbers reveal that some question the purpose of space exploration. NASA chief scientist Waleed Abdalati said the government’s financial contribution to NASA has been beneficial to humans and will continue to set breakthroughs in technology.

“By sending astronauts to space and trying to understand their biological responses to space environment, we’ve learned a lot about understanding human beings,” said Abdalati. “A lot of the instrumentation in an emergency room, for example, is traceable to investments by NASA to monitor and understand human health and performance in a space-related environment.”

Human benefits from space exploration

The birth of the space age has spurred on a plethora of new ideas and ground-breaking technologies that are used in day-to-day living.  

Health: During the early Apollo missions, scientists needed precise images of the moon’s surface in order to land the first man on the moon. In the 1960s, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory created digital image processing, an innovative technology that uses computers to enhance images of the moon. In the medical field, scientists and researchers found that this technology could be used to enhance images of organs in humans. Today, digital image processing is used in Magnetic Resonance Imaging and CT scans.

Medicine: Before Dan Carter joined NASA in 1985, developing large amounts of protein crystal was a challenge. He and colleagues discovered that space-produced crystal could be used to make the atomic components of albumin(PDF), an essential human protein. They founded a called New Century Pharmaceuticals in 1997. Their findings helped lead to the development of a cancer drug combination approach and skin care products.

Information Technology: Captured by satellites, NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System collects and archives information of the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and vegetation on a daily basis. The massive amount of data accumulated has reached 4.5 petabytes. That’s equivalent to completely filling 90 million four-drawer file cabinets with paper, according to NASA’s 2010 “Spinoff” publication(PDF). To provide convenient access to the large data repositories, NASA partnered with Archivas Inc. to create a high-tech software program that can hold large amounts of information. Hospitals, cell-phone providers, businesses and organizations now use this same technology to store information.

Communications: Satellites play an instrumental role in how we communicate and navigate the world. In the 1960s companies including AT&T and RCA partnered with NASA and other space agencies to build and place satellites in the Earth’s orbit. Global positioning systems, television networks, radio stations and cell-phone carriers are all dependent on satellites to keep the world connected.

GPS in particular arose as a result of Sputnik, the Soviet satellite that launched in 1957. Changes in radio frequency helped U.S. scientists track where Sputnik was because of the Doppler effect - that is, a shift in the frequency of sound or light waves corresponds to a change in position. This principle led to a Navy navigation system called TRANSIT intended for submarines. GPS for continuous navigation was developed as a Defense Department initiative in the 1970s, leading to the launch of the first GPS satellite in 1978. The system was complete in 1995 (More about this from Time.com).

Environment: When the Saturn 1B launch stand (used in several Apollo missions) was disassembled, it was stored away in an open field. No one knew until years later that the launch stand was coated with a paint containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a toxic chemical that was seeping into the Earth’s soil. Quinn and her colleagues created the Activated Metal Treatment System (AMTS), a paste-like solvent solution that extracts PCBs from paint without removing the paint itself. The innovative system has been redesigned since then to remove many forms of contamination and pesticides on land.

Transportation: The parachute shrouds that landed the Vikings on Mars have a fibrous material used in automobile tires. These state-of-the-art tires were originally developed by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Now the tires, famously called radial tires, are manufactured in factories around the world. They are five times more durable than steel and have an expected tread life 10,000 miles greater than conventional tires.

Public safety: Those powerful rocket launchers that propel spacecrafts into deep space are now fighting fires. Rory Groonwald, chief engineer at Orbital Technologies Corporation, partnered with the U.S. Air Force Fire Rescue Research Group to design a similar high-pressured system that suppresses fires in seconds. The technology also reduces water usage because the extreme force creates fines water droplets as opposed to an excessive flow.

Memory foam: For anyone who gets a better night’s sleep from a foam mattress, NASA’s to thank. The administration originally developed the polyurethane-silicon plastic to reduce harsh impact when spacecrafts landed. Now the famed foam is used in everything from automobiles and airplanes to helmets and horseback saddles.

We also have advanced water filtration systems for astronauts as a result of the space program.

Talking numbers

In 2012, NASA was allocated $18.7 billion(PDF) from the federal government (less than 1% of the entire U.S. budget) for further research and exploration. $3.8 billion of that will go specifically to space exploration. By comparison, the Department of Defense got $670 billion and another $69.8 billion went to education.

To put that in perspective, that’s 1.2% of a taxpayer’s total income going to science, space and technology programs while national defense and education receives 26.3% and 4.8% of taxpayers’ dollars, respectively.

Even with a limited budget (the smallest budget of any major agency), President Obama emphasized at a 2010 conference at the Kennedy Space Center that space exploration has been key to America’s position as a world leader.

“For pennies on the dollar, the space program has improved our lives, advanced our society, strengthened our economy, and inspired generations of Americans,” he said.

If re-elected, he plans to pump an additional $6 billion in NASA’s budget over the next three years.

The takeaway

Carol does not know for sure if Tiffany’s post-secondary education in business administration will lead her to a job in the field. She does know though, that the opportunities for her will be greater if she stays in college, so she said she will continue to invest in her daughter's education.

In the same way, said Abdalati,  society must continue to invest in space exploration.

“There’s value to making these investments. It’s very easy to look at the challenges we face financially as a nation and consider alternative investments, but if we don’t carve out a small fraction of the national budget to support exploration, we lose something tremendously important and, in fact, we step back as a society.”

CNN's Elizabeth Landau contributed to this report


Filed under: News
soundoff (448 Responses)
  1. Ardith Cerroni

    Did the Jonathan Ames letter come yet? I signed up in January and i seriously actually hope I didn't skip it. Is there a way I can read through it if it did already come?

    July 22, 2013 at 11:48 am |
  2. Danial

    Hi to all, it's truly a good for me to visit this site, it includes precious Information.

    July 10, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
  3. Oubrwewar

    Thanks for finally talking about >Light Years <Loved it!

    January 25, 2013 at 12:28 am |
  4. loserface

    dead space is more likeit

    November 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  5. loserface

    all of you are wrong space is called space for a reason

    November 6, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  6. Amused

    It really slays me how ignorant, uninformed people such as Carol whine about how useless Space exploration is while utilizing several Space spinoffs just to spew her useless negativity!!! Without Space exploration, her computer, Internet, cell phone, GPS and ipad would NOT EXIST! And she blatantly ignores the fact that Space exploration DOES INDEED BOOST the ECONOMY and yields FAR, FAR MORE lucrative technology and products than ANY OTHER publically funded program! It is the ONLY publically funded program that returns MANY TIMES more economic value than it costs! The benefits HUGELY outweigh the costs!

    October 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  7. SG

    Let me get this straight: This mother wants to get rid of one of the govt. organizations that graduates would give an ARM TO WORK FOR so that the govt. can fund her education! Ok, lets get rid of ALL the high tech jobs in this country so that all of those high tech graduates either leave the country for a job or use an engineering degree to work in agriculture..... Yeah that will help the economy fund high tech education, but get rid of all the jobs that employ high tech people....SMART

    October 21, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  8. allison

    If the government doesn't have enough money to fund NASA how bout we make space exploration profitable like instead of drilling for natural resources on our planet start mining the moons of Jupiter with machines for our natural resources. Instead of killing our own planet mine the uninhabited moons make a profit to fund further exploration into space sound like the national park activist would like that way better than destroying or national land marks. Hmmmmm theirs food for thought.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Hugo

      NASA is profitable but being government, many discoveries are simply given away (which stimulates the economy). Please read the article.

      I'll add to the article. It doesn't mention the Beowulf cluster project. This has allowed us to build far less expensive supercomputers. One thing that has done is allow large city police departments to apprehend certain types of criminals sooner. That has a value that I assert is significant. But that's only one benefit of the Beowulf project.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  9. Edgar Hubbard

    Exploring space is extremely important because the Earth's natural resources, vital to the survival and development of the human population, will not last forever due to ever growing demands of a hungry world population. It is time to seek for new resources on other planets. I think developing fusion-powered propulsion will be a steadier step for a long-term survival of the human species and civilization. http://youtu.be/ro5-QYqqxzM

    October 21, 2012 at 8:53 am |
  10. greenfloyd

    We are wired to survive. Humans have been observing and recording the great sky show since day-one. And good thing too, we certainly would not have survived without it. I think it's a safe bet our future will also depend on it. Of course it will also depend on getting the governments of the world to reverse the trend of spending so much more on "defense" and war, rather than education and research to expand human knowledge...

    October 21, 2012 at 7:17 am |
  11. Gagarin Miljkovich

    Space exploration is a REAL investment in Tiffany's future, and her fortcoming children, their children and so on.

    Space exploration founds new jobs in the final frontier. It could be the biggest job-program in humans history. Exploration of space gives us endless riches of whatever we could dream of.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:10 am |
  12. Doug C

    Nothing wrong in exploring space. “What is out there? “ I believe that we are the only planet with people. But that should not stop us from going to and looking for other things. Mars should have a lot of new things of interest so will other worlds. The money is well spent.

    October 21, 2012 at 6:21 am |
  13. Kelly Youngberry

    Tiffany, if you can not see why space exploration is vital to our daily lives then you certainly deserve a refund on your education costs

    October 21, 2012 at 5:00 am |
  14. Eddie

    Someday when the world runs out of oil, gas, uranium and coal you guys will appreciate it(discover new source of energy). Maybe in the future your grand grand children will blame you for not spending enough on space exploration( The day that the worlds stops spining. They will wish that they had somewhere else to go)

    October 21, 2012 at 4:57 am |
  15. maltesefalconx9

    Well, let society invest in the space programme, like Dr. Abdelati wants. But the US Government cannot afford it.
    All the products mentioned that use space developed technology sound like they would would be better designed if the engineering was done for that product originally, rather than these jury-rigged applications of a design for something else.

    October 21, 2012 at 4:44 am |
    • Hugo

      Um, maltesefalcon...how do you propose scientists create the crystal made in micro-gravity some other way? You did say all.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Amused

      Maltese – You obviously do not comprehend that most of these spin-off technologies had NEVER EVEN been concieved of nor pondered about until Space technology yielded innovative solutions to Space engineering obstacles! Most of these spinoff technologies would have NEVER BEEN DISCOVERED NOR INVENTED without the ambitious requirements that were necessary to acheive Space Project results! The R&D necessary to make such breakthroughs is generally WAY TOO EXPENSIVE for commercial industry!

      October 24, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  16. Miguel Aleksich

    Space Exploration is must for our species

    -Miguel Aleksich is the name ask me again and I'll tell you the same

    October 21, 2012 at 4:27 am |
  17. Sri

    Its just our migratory instincts kicking in. That is all. Some knowledge about the universe is ok. To that extent these space exploratons are meaningful. We must however make sure we don't get carried away into unrealistic ventures. We humans are not going anywhere beyond the earth.....period. So..all this talk of colonizing other stellar systems is rubbish.

    About the spin offs.....even the World Wars had many spin offs...but that does not mean we should have more wars!

    October 21, 2012 at 4:18 am |
  18. steve

    Mr. Bradbury summed it best when he said " I don't know what the big problem is with spending money on NASA, its not like the money is spent in space". NASA is American jobs and pride. Besides, if you want money for college serve your country and get the GI BILL. Your birth as an American only guarantees freedoms. You have to work for privilege.

    October 21, 2012 at 4:17 am |
  19. rbloom

    Couple of things.
    First, the woman and her daughter cited in the article are not idiots, selfish or narcissists – they raise valid questions about what the priorities should be for federal spending and whether we as a nation are getting a good bang for our buck with NASA.
    My personal opinion is that there are plenty of other programs that could be trimmed or eliminated (can you say "DoD"?) to fund, say, college tuitions before you need to look at the NASA budget. However, I also think that NASA now and then spends money on things that seem frivolous to many (like the NEA does) and vastly overspent and underperformed with the Shuttle program.
    According to Wikipedia, the US spent $790 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars on NASA from 1958 through 2011. I realize that that is spread over 50-plus years, but it's still a ton of money and it's not stupid or ignorant to ask whether we got $790 billion in benefits from it. I mean, that's a lot for memory foam.
    But with that all said, I do wholeheartedly support a space program – and I think we've gotten a significant payoff recently with the discovery of exoplanets in their stars' habitable zones. Because finding planets we can colonize to ensure the long-term survival of the human species (or whatever comes next) is, to borrow a phrase, priceless.
    Now, I don't know whether there are any other intelligent species in our galaxy or even the universe as a whole – nobody does. But I suspect we're it, at this time in at least this region of the universe. And I think that makes us precious beyond measure – without us, the universe becomes in many ways pointless.
    Not that humanity is perfect or even particularly noble, but we are sometimes capable of transcendence – in art, music, compassion, imagination, courage, love. And in striving to achieve the impossible, like traveling to the moon, the planets and the stars.
    So, I'm all for the space program. For finding habitable planets or moons around other stars, terraforming them and moving in. How long will it take? A century? Two? Ten? However long it takes, it's really the most important task we have right now.
    And if we fail, ironically enough NASA has already provided us with our tombstones: the LEMs and other equipment left on the moon will remain there as a monument to our species for billions of years, long after all trace of humankind has disappeared from the Earth.

    October 21, 2012 at 3:42 am |
    • Hugo

      How are the concerns valid in the face of an ROI that exceeds the investment?

      If I can invest $1 and get $2 back, shouldn't I do that? Put another way, if I have $1 and would like to spend $1 on education but can also get $2 back for the $1, why don't I invest the $1, get the $2 back, then use $1 to invest again and use the other dollar on education?

      October 21, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  20. allison

    http://mobile.nasa.gov/mcs/mobile/showDetailView.jsp?paramItem=mission_pages/station/research/news/curiosity

    October 21, 2012 at 3:06 am |
    • jane

      Found something they could cut instead of NASA wiki.answers.com › ... › Politics and Government check out the salaries and allowances of our congressman. And ask your self that question one more time.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:25 am |
  21. tallulah13

    As long as people keep having children without the means to take care of them, there will never be enough money to fix the problems on earth. Why not give those who are willing to reach for more a venue to explore and learn? They are the ones who will change the world.

    I came from a poor family and paid for college with loans and menial jobs. I have never resented space exploration, in fact, I think that the pursuit of the unknown is vital. They day we stop seeking knowledge is the day humanity starts to die

    October 21, 2012 at 3:04 am |
    • Hugo

      Just how does a prospective parent determine how much money it will cost to raise each child? What's the formula? Will you stand behind the formula with your own money?

      October 21, 2012 at 3:10 am |
  22. organically

    The pinnacle of human arrogance is believing that life does not exist elsewhere among the trillions of stars in the milky way gallaxy and among a trillion galaxies.

    October 21, 2012 at 3:03 am |
  23. HCMC_MCPO

    Carol is what is wrong with this country. "Whaaaaa, I was irresponsible and didn't save money for my kids to go to school......Mr. Obama, Mr. Obama, GIVE ME MONEY!" Get real, it's YOUR FAULT that your kid doesn't have the money to go to school. Your kid AND the kids fault. Guess what, I didn't have the money to go to school when I was about to graduate High School....so guess what I did. I joined the military and did something USEFUL for this country in exchange for help through school. I didn't just sit on my [] and complain about other government programs soely because I was too lazy to do the right thing.[]

    October 21, 2012 at 2:29 am |
    • allison

      True but that was a little bit racial at the end. Let's keep the racism out of the conversation. Please.

      October 21, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • Hugo

      It's great that you joined the military. At least two problems.

      1. The military doesn't have enough capacity to accept each and every recent H.S. graduate.
      2. Some people are medically 4F. Your solution clearly doesn't work for them.

      Why did you think that posting such an incomplete "solution" was responsible behavior?

      October 21, 2012 at 3:15 am |
    • Hugo

      I just payed attention to your nick. MCPO. Are you really a Master Chief? If so, you know better than that. You understand quite well how the Navy works. Cripes man. What gives? Most Chiefs I know are honorable and you pull a stunt like that? #$!#%%!#@

      October 21, 2012 at 3:17 am |
  24. allison

    The true is without exploration of space. The expansion of or human knowledge halts. Satellites communication the understanding of storms so many things would be halted space plays a huge role on us it would be shamefull and possibly deadly to stop space exploration.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:23 am |
  25. Chris

    Space exploration is essential for the existence of mankind in the future. If your against it your either religious or not very intelligent:-)

    October 21, 2012 at 2:12 am |
  26. mingming7

    I tend to think both proponents and opponents of the space program are missing the point when arguing about the importance of the space program. It's not really about the spinoff products/technologies from the space program, which are nice, but they're just that, spinoffs, and thus shouldn't be the main point when debating the worth of the space program.

    Rather, for me, the importance of the space program can be summed up easily: outward exploration and expansion for long-term survival of the human race. In a very real sense, the Earth is like a small isolated island in a vast ocean, with an ever-increasing population but limited resources. The only way we can ensure the long term survival of our race is by building ships to cross the ocean and explore/colonize neighboring islands. Our space program is akin to the building of ships and the venturing out into the cosmic ocean. It's plainly wrong to ask what worth the building of ships has for the mundane daily lives of island residents, the ships aren't built for improving the daily lives of island residents, and thus the worth of ship-building shouldn't be judged on this basis. The same applies to the space program.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:06 am |
  27. Desertmike680

    Without space exploration, then we wont be able to answer questions regarding where we came from and how everything around us was created. Hence its extremely necessary. Even considering that one doesnt care how the universe, life and the planets were created, should be punched in the face a couple times. With that, dont even consider mentioning a higher power or "god" if you will or politics, it has nothing to do with it. This revolves around Astrophysics, Biology, Quantum Theory and Chemistry.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:02 am |
  28. allison

    You can't expect everything to be handed to you. Its all comes down to research. The government has grants fasfa Theirs student loans. Scholarships. And you could also join the military. Tuition assistance, so many different thing and have you heard of the Gerber life plan, I have it for my children. The money is their, you just have to look for it and you Don'nt even have to look that far. Take responsibility for your own self and stop blaming all your problems on government or financial situations.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:01 am |
  29. Chuck

    Sadly we are looking at the end of Space exploration, we need to pay the bills in the world first

    October 21, 2012 at 1:53 am |
  30. Ron

    I don't have an issue with NASA or our exploration of space. But compared to Nasa's budget, we could save at least 50 BILLION DOLLARS each year, by NOT sending money to nations that hate and despise us anyway. Their citizens hate us for propping up their tyrannical governments, too. They might be more grateful, if we didn't shovel it out by the truckload, without question, while we do have people in need at home, especially now. NASA, by comparison uses a fraction as much, (an average of $9.928 billion per year, from 1958 until today), and as noted in this article, actually has some benefit.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:50 am |
  31. someGuy

    One day an asteroid or comet will hit the earth. It could be in 50 years or 200 million, but it will happen, it's a statistical fact. The development of astronomical technology is the only safe guard we can have.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:39 am |
  32. Brainiac

    More money is spent on war, which has brought nothing but death and destruction.

    An example being the 8 year long Iraq War which did nothing...

    October 21, 2012 at 1:13 am |
    • Hugo

      Or the Iraq war did something. It caused Alan Greenspan to look for a way to pay for it without raising taxes. Unfortunately, it blew up in all our faces and the economy crashed. We could have avoided the crash by paying more taxes. But we also could have avoided the crash by not invading Iraq.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:17 am |
    • Hugo

      Oh the Iraq war did something. It caused Alan Greenspan to look for a way to pay for it without raising taxes. Unfortunately, it blew up in all our faces and the economy crashed. We could have avoided the crash by paying more taxes. But we also could have avoided the crash by not invading Iraq.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:17 am |
  33. Will

    I find many of you writing to be morons. Space research as three segments: Theoretical side which involves subjects like maths, physics, astrophysics, etc ; Exploration side which includes fields like astronomy that involves direct observation from a distance or nasa flight journey which is direct observation up close and some tinkering ; experimentation which might include space colonization, settlements, etc. Scrapping NASA is not always about scrapping spce exploration. It is about scrapping programs where old or aging astronauts go to the ISS (International Space Station) that consumes millions of dollars. Let private companies do that hum-drum job tha has already been done and refined. Today you don't need a PhD in engineering to be an astronaut...just a BA in history or bottle opening will do. But space research must continue as it is tied to so many fields: math, astrophysics, exobiology, molecular biology, etc. There are certain people who will never amount to anything as their brain is limited or neurology is screwed up. These are people whose ability to do anything innovating is limited. They can buy shoes or find new ways to refine heels...that is it. What are these morons going to do? Discover the vaccine for cancer cure or prevention? Come to LA...where bimbo women spend lots of time on body fitness and body beauty. If from fifteen the only thing they are taught is how to fix hair and breed babies...what discovery are they going to do? The morons who want more money from the govt. so they can eat and get fat and watch more football. These losers are not going to invent anything or even defend the nation against attacks. I say to many Muslims: in stead of teaching America how to be more democratic go to your countries (and you have plenty of them) and teach them how to be democratic and more inclusive. Same thing with Blacks. Go back to your neighborhoods or ghettos and do the work to teach your tribe. So too much the white trash who all want to come to California to consume and dominate. Get out and do some solid social work with your own white trash tribe between Cal and New York. Do it!

    October 21, 2012 at 1:10 am |
  34. 2/8

    The money would be better spent investing the future of our OWN planet, instead of floating around space, touching rocks and reporting shiny dirt.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • Rogue351

      Moron, how do you think alot of the things that benefit our planet are developed. You set a goal and you work toward that goal creating new ways of doing things along the way. Do you think the plug for your cabel TV just stops outside the house ? Do you think that cell phones are just magic that some guy made in his garage. How about safety equipment, metals and the science behind which ones are best for different

      October 21, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • Hugo

      2/8, didn't you read the article?

      A cancer drug treats people on our OWN planet. MRI's and CT scans help people on our OWN planet.

      I'll give you one more that isn't in the article. The Beowulf Cluster project brought less expensive supercomputing to the our OWN world. One thing we do with that, on our OWN planet is predict the behavior of criminals, especially serial murderers, serial rapists, serial burglars, and capture them.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:13 am |
    • tallulah13

      Space exploration IS investing in the future of our own planet.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:06 am |
    • SG

      2/8 – EVERY PENNY of NASA funding goes directly BACK into our economy. Those spacecraft are nearly 100% Made in the USA by 100% US engineers. DO you think we put the money on the rocket and launch it into the sun??? Yeah you are probably right, we should take that NASA budget and spend it on welfare or feeding the homeless THAT will solve our problems. In FACT lets take ALL of the money spent in the US on high tech jobs and just GIVE it to the homeless. THAT way instead of a demand for high tech jobs in the US we can take 10 million uneducated starving and homeless and turn them into 100 million uneducated starving and homeless – That will fix it.

      October 21, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Amused

      Space Exploration IS an INVESTMENT in the future of our planet!!!!!! In fact, it is BY FAR, the BEST investment we could possibly make in the future of our planet!!!!

      October 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  35. Rogue351

    You have bough into the Republican economy problem hook line and sinker. Look at the DOW !! I am willing to bet stores will have record sales come Christmas. More cars are being sold than any other time. The economy is doing just fine, no help from the Republicans. However to help Mitt get elected the prey on stupid people like you that rely on FOX new, Hannity, Beck and Limbaugh for News. Or should I say doom and gloom ever single day. But once Mitt is elected he will take credit for everything. That is until 4 or 8 years pass and everything falls back into the toilet again. If you say things are bad enough times morons like you will believe it. Things are getting better. Things are much much better than 4 years ago. Things will remind good for at least 4 years or until Mitt stars another War to bolster the economy, which he will. That is not speculation that is fact. Yo see the Republicans, Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh and Fox broadcast day after day scare tactics telling their listeners everything is bad. The reason they do this is so they can make more money because for some reason Bad news sells in this country, that is exactly why the Republicans, who actually created the bad new fail to report anything is getting better. Well until Mitt gets into office and then everything will be great, even if it is not. Just like religion they lie to you and because you respect them and they know they can get away with it. You respect and trust Religion and the Republicans because you have been brainwashed your whole life to do so. And your stupidity allows you to turn the tables 180 degrees and say everyone else is lying. We didn't go to the moon, man walked with dinosaurs, WMD's in Iraq. Toucher is ok as long as the USA is hiring other countries to do it for them and not doing it themselves. Letting people die in the streets because Obama care is an elitist, socialist concept, even the Christians who claim to be on the side of helping people are stand up against this. Bt they call themselves patriots. Explain to me how a "Patriot" can protest a soldiers funeral because it has something to do with people being gay ? Tell me how can Christians send entire families back to mexico and let our fruit and vegetable rot on the vine because they are illegal but have been working in the country for 20 + years. Republicans, Beck, Hannity and Limbaugh have screwed up this country so bad it is unbelievable. And then they turn around and blame it on the illegals, the gays and the people whom don't make enough money to eve pay taxes. NO the problem is the rick never having enough. The rich not giving back to there employees. The Republicans not working with the elected president on anything. Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity telling you day in and day out how bad things are and how bad our president is and you being so stupid you believe it. The NRA selling death in record numbers and then saying guns don't kill people, people kill people. 47000 Americans dies last year because of guns you the Republicans are ok with that, The NRA says we need more gun on the street to fight the problem, so they can make more money. And you, the Good Christian Republican believe them. The same Christens that saw how many pastors, bishops and clergy convicted of molesting your children and now it is the boy scouts turn to come clean after years of cover ups. Nope it is all the Democrats fault and Obama was behind it all. No he was not, you have been brainwashed on so many fronts you don't even know where or how to explain it. And it fear of looking weak you wont even try. You will just say with the standard message and vote yet another Republican into office and them blame all the screw up on the democrats. I am better off that I was four years ago. But in the next four years if I have to start carrying a gun just to protect myself, if I see one dirt road closed because the land was sold to some private rick guy to drill on. If I see one young man or woman going off to fight another war for nothing but a presidents ego. I will not be ok. But you will except it and call him great because he lowered your taxes $10 a year. THINK or at least try to think and try to question instead of listening and repeating what you hear mindlessly based on what religion says you should do. Or what Beck, Hannity or Limbaugh said. Disregard what scientists have spent there whole life researching and stick with the so called Fact man walked with dinosaurs, we didn't go to the moon and everything out side of our solar system was put there by the devil to test you. People and laugh at you, but that is because they are stupid. I am going to let you in on a secret. It is not them that are stupid. Religion, Guns, Fear of all sorts of things are what drives a Republican and that is no way to live a free life. I am sure None of the Republicans out there will remotely understand this but it is fact. Some republicans will look back years from now and think a little bit about these things. Some are so far gone they have lost any sort of personal or social responsibility.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Smartguy

      Perhaps you clicked on the wrong story?

      October 21, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • tallulah13

      Paragraphs are your friend. Learn about them. Embrace them.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:08 am |
  36. Smartguy

    It only matters to the people who have the intelligence to know that it matters.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:34 am |
  37. mmi16

    The technological advances create by the space program over the years have more than paid back the expenditures in the space program. Our decay in the worlds eye is in part because of the retrenchment of the space program.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • Smartguy

      No, but the single mom with a crappy resume would rather the money for this scientific research be used to fund her grocery list from Walmart.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:50 am |
  38. BigBird Johnson

    Does it matter for you? Does it matter for me? No.
    Does it matter for the future of mankind? Yes.
    Could the survival of our race depend on it? Yes.
    Should we begin now? We must.

    October 20, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Hugo

      Did you read the story? It matters right now. We have better images from MRI's and CT scans. We are able to make new medicines that we couldn't have without experimentation in a micro gravity environment.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:20 am |
  39. Reinaldo

    I can not believe this... teachers are complaining about space exploration. I would say then, why we need teachers? 90% of what we learn on school doesn't work in the real world, the grades we make does not help to get credit or a loan. When you find a job you have to learn everything from scratch any way. In school we do not learn about credit, liability and mortgage, that is few of the things we have to deal with every day. I believe we need to focus in space exploration and not in buying and iPad for leisure, or the latest fashion or cocaine or tings fro depression and anxiety.

    October 20, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
  40. Jim Allen

    I say Carol Beckles is delusional, non-contributing piece of garbage, and so is anyone who doesn't see the benefits of space exploration. Space exploration, the process of exploring space, might be pointless to some people, and it actually might be, but the research and technological progress gained in the process of engineering Space-exploration-pertaining fields brings loads of benefits to everyone else.

    Someone should conceive an imaginary world where we didn't have the space race of the 60s and should make realistic guesses as to what we WOULDN'T have today if not for the space race. This article lists some of the vital advancements made because of space exploration research.

    Why would someone have three kids if she can't even afford to give them all good education and would prefer the government to pay for her kids' eduction. Why not just have one kid and give him/her a good life that is free of financial stress?... Some people..........

    October 20, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
  41. michael

    There was a time when people thought it wasn't important to explore our own planet. Hard to imagine that now though isn't it. Everything is relative. Including time, and scientific capability. Is it important to my life, not really, but will it pay off for generations to come – absolutely. And, that's the point.

    October 20, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  42. Andrew

    At the end of world war 2 the US government had extra money and put it into NIH. The director of NIH decided to give grants to fund basic research on bacteria and c. elegans. people at the time complained, asking why their tax dollars were being spent on bacteria. but out of that came modern medicine. Our average life expectancy would likely still be in the 50's without that. Who knows what innovations will come out of space study and exploration.

    October 20, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  43. speltomqt

    The space program is an excellent example of why we need representative democracy. Many of our citizens are incapable of understanding the importance of this sort of scientific research and would vote against it if we had direct democracy (much as they vote against their own interests in general elections). These decisions must be made by people who understand the importance of the science.

    October 20, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Hugo

      Based on some recent news stories, I'm not at all convinced that many in Congress understand science well at all.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:22 am |
      • DomP

        I live in Missouri and we had a congressman ask "when is it considered rape?" Oh akin you so funny "" Face palm""

        October 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  44. BJJCA

    Philosophically and from a humanistic standpoint, space exploration helps us define our place in a larger cosmos. It helps us to understand the magnitude, majesty, and scope of the universe, while reminding us how miniscule we really are. To anyone, anywhere, reading this who doubts the power of even Earth-bound space exploration such as basic astronomy to alter our perception of ourselves in profound ways, Google or YouTube "Pale Blue Dot" by Carl Sagan. Your mind will change.

    Scientifically, its importance cannot be overstated. There are areas of theoretical physics that can never be confirmed or ruled out without direct observation of certain cosmic phenomena. There are areas of medical science, cognitive science, and biology that we simply cannot experiment with or investigated on Earth. We need a space program to conduct this research.

    Technologically, the same technologies developed to get us to the moon contributed in part to your ability to type and read this today. Who knows what advances might come out of space exploration tomorrow? Ten years from now? A hundred?

    And lets not forget that there is an age old question that only space exploration can ever truly answer: are we alone in the universe? We may say that it's a foregone conclusion that we aren't, but only direct observation can prove it. And we can't get that without a space program of some kind. It may seem pie in the sky today, but within our lifetimes, we MAY see near-light speed propulsion send unmanned probes to Alpha Centauri B to look for postulated Earth-like planets there. Only a space program can accomplish this. And if it doesn't happen in our lifetimes, it will ONLY happen ONE DAY with continued research and funding.

    Space exploration has the power to profoundly and fundamentally redefine our perception of ourselves and our world. That is worth every penny, and every "boring," iterative step along that long, winding road that may well take many generations. Fundamental truth about our universe takes time, perseverance, and resources.

    So, unless of course you simply don't care at all about any of these important things... support space exploration.

    October 20, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
  45. Nick

    Man's first steps out of Africa... Did it matter?
    The European voyages of discovery... For better or for worse (and there was *a lot* of 'worse'), did they matter?
    Our first glimpses into the universe which banished 'crystal spheres' and led to the realization that the world is predictable and understandable... Did it that matter?

    Is exploring space important? Well... Given our long history of taking steps into unknown lands, I say, 'Yes, absolutely.' Where will we end up? I do now know... The journey will be dangerous, as it has always been, but the treasures beyond will be beyond comprehension.

    October 20, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  46. Richard

    I suspect that the universe is filled with planets bearing evidence of long-dead advanced civilizations that also thought that space exploration was a waste, until a natural disaster took them all out in one shot.

    October 20, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
  47. Richard

    Those who would complain about NASA's budget have no comprehension of the amounts of money involved and how those amounts compare to what we spend on other things, like our military exploits. So, just ignore them. They aren't worth the time to explain grown-up matters to them.

    October 20, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  48. Bob

    It says in the bible that man should not seek out other worlds because ours is the best. So no we should not be trying to explore gods universe as it is not ours to explore.

    October 20, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Hugo

      It does? Where? (If you believe in what's in the Bible, you should be properly citing it without anyone asking you to do so.)

      October 21, 2012 at 3:23 am |
    • Amused

      That is UTTER NONSENSE! Do You REALLY believe that continued IGNORANCE is a better path than exploration and discovery!??? By the way, I would love to know what Bible verse you are quoting that says such a thing! I don't believe you.

      October 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  49. Ronin

    Does it matter? Well aside from curiosities sake and educating/elevating our species....Space exploration is unavoidable, Resources/Land will be gone eventually and we will have no choice in the future. Why wait for urgency, i saw make sure we put everything we put into military into space projects...hell half would be acceptable.

    October 20, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  50. Natfka

    I wish the writer of this article used some facts. Here is how much money you are spending of your tax dollars to space.

    http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258

    Please CNN, the author is trying to make this an issue, when it really is not

    October 20, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  51. helenecha

    In response to the question why it's so important to explore Space, I'd like to say that perhaps the more we know, the more we want to know, uh? Well, when we find there's a piece of leaf on the ground, which we never see before, should we let it off lightly?

    October 20, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  52. free101

    This lady must be high school drop out. She got the job for reasons you know....

    October 20, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Hugo

      Yet, she supported her position and you haven't...

      October 20, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
      • Amused

        What "position" was that? Sitting on her rear end???...

        October 24, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  53. waaaaa

    short-sighted ppl wan more govt handouts at the expense of science. Such trashy people out there.

    October 20, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  54. jason

    i don't see how anyone cannot see the benefits of space exploration . like eistein said the greatest thing we can experience is the mysterious , he who knows it not , can no longer wonder or feel amazement is as good as dead a snufffed out candle. by explorting space we find the mysteris of not only human origins but the universes and what other vast worlds await out discovery , how much knowledge out there can we discover by learning about other worlds . only igorant people would see that as a waste of money

    October 20, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
  55. God

    Yes!! It is important because Earth will be limited of resources and people.We need to explore the Space now

    October 20, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  56. upsilone

    I think almost everyone will agree that it's the military that needs to be scaled down.

    The US has not used it's full military capablities since WWII. It has not used more than 60% since Vietnam.

    The last two simultanious wars in Iraq and Afghanistan required barely 5% of the total US resources at their peak, and the US forces overseas represent less than 30% than total US military resources combined.

    a good 70% stays at home, waiting to be invaded, invade someone else, or simply stay there because the army is too slow to decomission it. The US has thousands of tanks dating form the 1970's, that are on the waiting list to be upgraded. The US military officials themselves decided they don't need that many tanks, yet the senate wants to upgrade them so as to keep contracts for the military industries which in turn finance the senator's campaigns to get elected...

    I am not a conspiracist, my critcism is based on facts on the ground. The US does not need such a huge army anymore! Ever since the US invented nuklear warheads, it has become invulnerable to attack by any sovereign country.

    October 20, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  57. BDefrogg

    I bet all the NASA naysayers will change their tune as soon as SETI hears its first signal. The entire DoD budget will shift to Space, as we suddenly discover we haven't got s**t to defend ourselves against someone/something thousands (millions?) of years more advanced than us puny half monkeys. "Trust but Verify!"

    P.S> Hollywood lies. Could cave men stop an aircraft carrier task force? How about a bunch of cave men standing on a tiny rock in the middle of the ocean? "Pale Blue Dot."

    October 20, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  58. Dude

    If you survey the thousands of people who currently work in high tech industries what inspired them to enter their fields, the number one answer will be NASA.

    From aircraft designers to computer programmers. I work in IT, I am in no way directly connected to NASA. I remember the exact moment I became fascinated with technology. I was watching TV with my father and they broke in with live coverage of a Gemini mission splashing down. I was not even in grade school then. Today I am still working with cutting edge technology that works for a lot of people.

    It is impossible to really account for how much that secondary effect has shaped the state of technology today. But, the effect has been huge.

    Many people graduating college this year with engineering degrees are still following the spark from watching the first rover on Mars.

    The future economy is going to have a lot of high tech in it. China currently has six new engineering graduates for every one American. If you stop inspiring Americans, where will our economy be in ten or twenty years?

    October 20, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  59. Jacques

    "What is a man, If his chief good and market of his time Be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more. Sure, he that made us with such large discourse, Looking before and after, gave us not That capability and god-like reason To fust in us unused." – William Shakespeare –

    October 20, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  60. Brett

    History teaches us one universal and un-ambiguous lesson; and that is that great nations that cease to be explorers cease to be great nations. We explore space because exploration is an essential expression of our human nature to see and learn what "is beyond". Also, the exploration of space is essential to the long term survival of the human species.

    October 20, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
  61. bob

    Should we explore space YES unless your religious because they fear learning new things, because it might show even more proof how ridiculous the concept of a god is. ( and lighting candles, praying, wearing robes, praying, having churches with money baskets, and so on )

    October 20, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  62. Andy

    Why would a random person such as Carol ever be asked about such things?

    October 20, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  63. sanjosemike

    There are worse ways to spend public money than to employ scientists and engineers. They have a right to live too.

    sanjosemike

    October 20, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  64. Harvey

    If I am going to spend a dollar, I want to put is somewhere it will bring back two. The space program has done that many times over. The weather satellites alone have saved more in lives and money through more accurate forecasts than has ever been spent on the space program. Another example is the world wide communication we take for granted today. Before we could put the satellites up there that all this possible, we had to see what was up there. That is called space exploration.

    Benefits from the space program have shown up everywhere. The other day I bought a pair of gloves that are lined with Thinsulate. The is an insulating material originally developed for the space program that found it way into many consumer products. This one of thousands of examples.

    For those of you who complain about spend all that money in space, please consider this. We have not spent so much as a dime in space. Every penny of it has been spent here on the ground. Translation, very high quality jobs. Another translations; all those high quality jobs generate more jobs as the money will be spent.

    I don't know about you, but I would rather see my tax dollars being placed somewhere that generates a return rather than being flushed down some welfare rathole that returns nothing

    October 20, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  65. Leo66

    Agent Smith (Matrix) was absolutely right: Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague....
    The cure is to get the hell off this planet to find new resourceses, new technologies, and spread out the human race if it wants to live forever. If we are all on one world and some kind of global catastrophy; natural or manmade; were screwed!...we've been here only a 100,000 years. that's only a blink of an eye in cosmic terms.
    You want to have a long lasting family for generations to come? Better start thinking about your kids and their kids future instead of that 52" flatscreen or the newest iPhone for Xmas....clocks ticking and we have only three seconds left.

    October 20, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  66. PO

    we couldd be the only beings in the universe & galaxies to have gotten this far & we shouldnt stop now especially since we know earth will die sooner or later

    October 20, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  67. meow man

    sounds like the writer was complaining about the amount given towards education.if we took even a fraction of what they give the goverment towards national defence and put it towards education this country would be a much better place..im all for more spending on nasa as well as more towards education.our defence budget is strangling this country and we just may end up like the soviets and what happend to them with there military spending.

    October 20, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  68. Jim

    Just before I say anything- this blog site seems to omit many letters I type which makes me sound like an idiot who cant spell.
    Anyway, another point I want to make came from the brain of the late, great, Carl Sagan. He points out that there is almost no practical invention or benefit to mankind that was planned to be the result of pure reseach. He point out the example of a "nerd" named Maxwell who wanted funding to do research on magnets, and electrial currents, things that everyone else thought were totaly curiousities with no practical value. He was a dork, and why should anyone fund such nonsense. The money for his research could feed the poor.
    Anyway, he wound up understanding electormagnetic radiation, which subsequenty became the basis for almost every future advance of the humand species: radio, x-rays, television, telephones, radar, computers, lasers and all thier applications, etc etc etc etc.
    And James Clerk Maxwell, the nerd never once said- hmm, I going to do some research that will lead to the invention of these wonderful things. He did pure research to try to undrerstand the universe in which we live.
    One wonders, 200 hundred years fron now, what will we be able to say space exploration led to? No way to know, but i guarantee it will be spectacular.
    Or maybe we should just say forget it and use the moeny to "feed the poor". If we are truly an intelligent species, the choice to me is a no brainer.

    October 20, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  69. want2believe

    The ignorance of people like Carol Beckles amazes me...

    October 20, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  70. jayman419

    My only takeaway from this article? Yay, NASA finally gets more than 1 penny out of every dollar. (1.2 pennies, apparently.)

    October 20, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
  71. cass1320

    I would rather pay a higher interest rate on my Federal student loans than see the space program go away.

    October 20, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
  72. Brian

    Big surprise that someone from Atlanta objects to taxpayers' dollars (a miniscule amount compared to our defense spending) funding scientific endeavors.

    October 20, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  73. Chuck

    I laugh at all the people that assume that we would not have had all the advances in science without NASA. No one could know this for sure. We might just have more advances.

    October 20, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • want2believe

      And what is your reasoning for that? I forgot we told the private sector to put their R&D work on hold while NASA was out at the forefront of technological advancements.

      October 20, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Amused

      Please explain HOW we would "magically" have more breakthroughs, without any R&D to discover them, hmm??? DUH! What a hoot!...

      October 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  74. Michael

    Quote "Tiffany, who – like her mom – wishes she got more government help to pay for tuition" WHY OH WHY does everyone think the job of the government is to help you pay tuition, bills, housing, food etc etc... That is not the governments job the governments job is governing the country and protecting the country. NOT supporting all you people who refuse to work or work hard to support your family's.

    October 20, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • want2believe

      I'd love to ask Tiffany what scholarships she was awarded from the school and if none, why she didn't work harder in high school to earn them or why she chose a school she may not have been able to afford.

      October 20, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  75. Jim

    People who talk about "wating" money on space exploration need to give thier heads a shake. Where does this money go? Do we put a billion dollars on a rocket and send it into the sun so it is burned up and wasted?
    The money spent on space exploration provides thousands of jobs, jobs in high tech areas, research, ad a million other spin-off industries. Apart from the gain in knowledge, each dollar put into space exploration , is magnified many fold in benefits to our economy and many many industies. This is what this article tries to point out. Its not about getting cool picctures from the surface of mars for a billion dollars a picture, as the ignorant nay-sayers seem to think.

    October 20, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  76. Dan

    "Scientists have learned there's a direct correlation between the percentage of Americans that want the space program scrapped, and the number of Honey Boo-Boo viewers."

    October 20, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  77. Rob

    Don't people spend billions of dollars on religion? Building churches, going on missions, etc? Other than fueling fantasy, bigotry and instigating more wars, wouldn't that money be better spent on scientific discovery which has clearly benefited mankind?

    October 20, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  78. nottellingyou

    It seems everyone is missing a serious point here: ALIENS

    October 20, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  79. Andrew

    We will run out of resources one day. A lot of resources are finite and we rely on them to maintain our lifestyle. We need to develop ways to get to other resources (not on earth) and waiting until they're gone would be like waiting until the power is switched off to pay the electric bill. It's not only about exploration, it's about continuing the legacy of humanity. If we didn't climb down from the trees all of those millenia ago we'd still be meaningless, we'd have no understanding of nature and we would have no legacy. There will always be problems on earth. And one day we will have to venture into space and it won't be because we want to explore, it will be because we have to in order to stay alive. It may be thousands of years down the road but it is inevitable.

    October 20, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  80. xbox360wirelesscontroller

    I have seen very little to convince me that the human race deserves to have its existence extended once critical mass has been met and resources have been depleted on this planet. By exploring space, we would widen our knowledge to help our species move off the Earth in the very, very, VERY short time it will take to fully deplete our planet's resources. It would appear likely that this will not happen...particularly in light of the fact that fewer people care beyond the short term. Face it: Once you're dead, who cares if the planet and everyone living on it simply implodes. We are certainly on that track now it would seem.

    October 20, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • James

      Hope. If we were to go by what you are saying then nothing matters. Why bother even posting unless there is little hope left and you are trying to find it like many others.

      October 20, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  81. Mobius123

    Funding space exploration is ONLY suitable if you believe that humanity has a long-term future.

    Clearly, we don't.

    We could live comfortably here on the Earth for several billion years, before the sun ages to the point where the Earth is uninhabitable. This is an UNIMAGINABLY long time, but we will very likely exterminate ourselves in the next several hundred years.

    If war and bio-weapons don't decimate humanity, global warming, the associated sea level rise, and human overpopulation will likely decimate humanity.

    We ARE just animals, after all, unable to manage ourselves or our planet.

    ALL animal species eventually become extinct, and we aren't wise enough to be able to simply live in peace, and enjoy this incredible world.

    October 20, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Amused

      So, YOU think that exploration and discovery of OUR OWN PLANET and SOLAR SYSTEM is a complete waste unless we are going to leave Earth? That makes NO SENSE. Please explain...

      October 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  82. Dan

    Wow. She just wants a bigger hand out from the federal government.

    October 20, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  83. Hadenuffyet

    I'd really like to see man on mars before I leave this old world. We could do it within 10 years if we really wanted to.

    October 20, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  84. iowa guy

    we know that all money should be spent to help the rich and to enforce conservative religion. idiots rule!

    October 20, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  85. John P. Tarver

    The Lunar space program was important to the development of ICBMs, but today NASA is just another relic of the cold war. After 25 years with no real mission the only signs of life are at JPL.

    October 20, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Amused

      NOT TRUE! That simply shows your lack of knowledge! There have been MANY new breakthroughs in science and technology as a result of each and every NASA project including the current ISS! Commercial industry still has yet to utilize MANY new advancements that have been recently developed! You couldn't possibly be MORE WRONG!

      October 24, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  86. Robert

    How can you be so poor as to present the MRI machine and not mention its REAL inventor, Dr. Raymond Damidian? You've mentioned some digital processing that NASA came along and did LATER and neglected to mention the man who actually created the machine when no one else thought that it could be done! Ho poor and small you are Zaina Adamu and CNN.

    October 20, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  87. James

    Sadly its going to take an event like Armageddon to convince the world that Space Exploration is vital for our existence. Till then we can still fund Honey boo boo and Jersey Shore. Go us!

    October 20, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  88. bobincal

    “When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”. If we reduced our military spending to just the average per capita spending of our NATO allies, we would save $242,611,117,262 a year. Of course, we would have to be a lot more careful about the fights we pick! Maybe the military should copy NASA’s faster, cheaper, smaller model. It certainly worked great for Mars exploration.

    October 20, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  89. Dynamic

    Why not spend that money on researching cures for things that go wrong with the human body? I'm sure people suffering from diseases would appreciate treatments and cures much more than watching a bunch of NASA nerds slapping each other on their backs every few months because they got their robot to land on some planet without their little joy-toy becoming completely useless. NASA is an endless series of government welfare checks to aerospace corporations and the companies that work with them...THAT is why more money is NOT being spent on the much more lucrative field of bio-research. Instead of throwing money at fat-cat CEO's our government should look at revenue as an investment, with much larger ROI from biotech. Rockets get tossed and recycled, but everyone buys the pill when the pill will heal. Or we could just buy our cures from China, a much wiser nation that is light-years ahead of the USA in the field of biotech research. We probably won't be able to afford their prices though.

    October 20, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • Amused

      You poor ignorant fool! Nearly every advancement that has been made in Bio-Research was made possibly because of SPACE TECHNOLOGY!!!!!! Without this technology, Bio-research would still be be an extremely primitive and limited field of study!!!

      October 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  90. Eureka

    I have to wonder if the mother mentioned in the article would be so opposed to NASA funding if her daughter were pursuing a degree in science or engineering. If her daughter switched to being a theater major, would she be complaining about the government's lack of funding for the arts?

    October 20, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  91. brucespencer

    LEADERS OF THE WORLD: People of the Earth, it is our sad duty to inform you that a large meteor will impact our planet in 15 days and cause an extinction level event. All life on the planet will die within six months.

    PEOPLE OF THE EARTH: Why doesn’t NASA do something?! It’s all their fault!

    NASA: We might have been prepared if we’d had a like 2% of what you give the military.

    October 20, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  92. Scott

    Yes it matters. There is life out there whether small minded people want to believe it or not. We are not the center of the universe and we are not alone.

    October 20, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Dan

      True

      October 20, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
      • jayman419

        While I agree it's pretty much a mathematical certainty that life exists elsewhere in the universe (1 x infinity =?), the universe is a pretty big place. Either intelligent species are out there but using some means of communication we haven't sussed out yet, or they are all pretty far away. In truth, it's probably a good thing. War and exploitation has been the result on Earth literally every time an advanced nation has discovered a less advanced people.

        There are more important reasons for exploring space than hoping to find friendly aliens. Earthly benefits that affect people in a very real way every day.

        October 20, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
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