Limiting the Funding of U.S Space Program

Topics: Space exploration, NASA, Human spaceflight Pages: 5 (1706 words) Published: January 4, 2013
Animesh Karki

Limiting the Funding of U.S Space Program
The spirit and sense of adventure of exploring the ‘heavens’ captivates the general public very easily. Ever since the competition between the Soviet Union and U.S to occupy space, the United States has been on a consistent drive to discover more and more of outer space. Although there are minor independent companies that contribute to space exploration, the U.S government directly funds one main program, which it has established to perform space-related tasks, the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA). As innovative ideas arise, the potentials of technology augment resulting in an increased need of funding. The spirit for adventure of the general public greatly aids the influence on the increase of the funding because of widespread assent which in result overshadows other problems brought concerning Earth and people. The funding for the U.S. Space Program should not increase because of a large amount of overlooked consequences, many fallacious reasoning and lack of productivity.

The aspirations of space exploration goals for humanity clearly overshadow the consequences which deserve greater concern. Numerous effects to space exploration only come to realization after the damage has already been done. One of the most significant displays of carelessness by NASA was the 2003 shuttle Columbia accident where investigators following the accident, which killed seven astronauts, did not force NASA to confront the ‘foam debris’ problem head-on (“Did NASA Fail”). Due to overlooked precautions, the deaths occurred. However, the deaths were insufficient in provoking forewarnings because problems still are not being solved and NASA officials were still unsure of the fix or its effects on the space program many months after the major incident. Another significant risk of space exploration is the effect of microgravity. Microgravity, a condition where there is a lack of gravity, brings major consequences. Exposure to microgravity corresponds to a decline in vitality and an increase in fatigue and inertia (“Psychological Effects”). This “decline in vitality” leads to a decrease in self-confidence in astronauts, which as Dr. Kramer, a professor at the University of Texas Medical School states, “[provide] a potential limitation to long-duration space travel” (qtd. in “Prolonged Space Travel”). Subsequently, some scientists have taken a more specific initiative to examine the effects of prolonged space travel on astronauts. However, MRIs of eyes and brains of 27 astronauts that were in space for a long time revealed optical abnormalities amongst the astronauts, which were a result of pressure that builds in the skull. Findings included expansion and bulging of optic nerves, flattening of rear of the eyeball, and changes in connections of pituitary gland to the brain ("Prolonged Space Travel”). The fact that those astronauts are struck with a risk of blindness along with upcoming long-term effects show that the risk factors have to be reconsidered by NASA before they plan any other missions with the use of the funding. Although the consequences of space exploration float around thoroughly over NASA’s missions, as NASA physicist and former astronaut John Grusfeld states: “The estimated probability of astronauts not making it back home is 1-in-70 and it gets worse the further in space you go” meaning that there hasn’t been much improvements in the safety of human space travel (qtd. in Vergano). Protection from space exploration is not well insured and if people have such low odds of making it back home, billions can go to waste from failed missions. Yet, the safety of humans seems to fall under the cloud of false reasoning that NASA displays to the public.

Space exploration is always attributed even when it is a negative thing. When reasons for halting exploration efforts arise, they are altered to sound...
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