NASA fosters innovation

Nasa Innovation
The recent announcement that NASA would begin work on its new heavy booster rockets was met with a polarized reaction, from enthusiastic support to outcry among the budget conscious. With the phasing out of NASA’s Space Shuttle program, the United States was left with a void in their space exploration capabilities. The end to NASA’s shuttle program was largely met with disappointment in the scientific community, but support from the general public, as people considered it a black hole for public funds.

Yet, American ingenuity throughout the Space Age drove technology in this country, a symbol of American prestige. As an engineer, I look at the announcement of NASA’s new goals with optimism. Our ingenuity cannot fall by the wayside as China, Russia and Brazil strive to develop and innovate in ways that once drove our own nation’s technological growth.

In recent times, NASA has been the scapegoat for a public increasingly wary of spending money on programs that seem to provide no direct benefit. A report by Roger Launius, the Senior Curator at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Air and Space Museum, found that in the late 1990s, the public believed NASA to account for anywhere between 6 and 45 percent of the national budget, when in fact, NASA accounted for less than 1 percent. Such misinformation drives the public belief that space exploration is an unnecessary facet of our country.

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