Wednesday, February 15, 2012
The New York Times has a page here showing an interactive makeup of President Obama's proposed budget for the upcoming year. The graphic looks like this:
Any guesses which of these circles represents NASA's budget? There are a lot of them but try to think about what size it should end up being compared to the whole.
so which one is it?
Keep that in mind the next time you see someone make the argument that we shouldn't be exploring space 'because there are so many things we should be fixing at home first with all that money'. Their argument in visual form is as follows.
This Earth-based spending is mostly justified, because it is being spent at home:
and if we could just stop spending money on this:
we would be able to finally, once and for all, really find a solution to the issues we face here on our planet.
An exaggeration? Of course. But pray tell, which other circle of similar size receives as much attention and criticism as NASA? $14.1 billion for international security assistance? $13 billion for other? $9.3 billion for risk management agency? Yes, there are always calls for cuts for such agencies. But the grandiose idea that we should cut spending on a single minor agency to 'solve our problems here on Earth' sounds completely ridiculous ("let's cut programs for the Office of Justice so we can solve our problems here on Earth"), and is also just as ridiculous when applied to NASA.