NASA spend­ing, small part of over­all bud­get, has led to ben­e­fi­cial dis­cov­er­ies

North Penn Life - - Opinion -

Let’s sup­pose you’re very rich. vou place one thou­sand piles on the ta­ble, each pile con­tain­ing A1,000. If they would fit, you now have a mil­lion dol­lars on the ta­ble ( A1,000,000).

If you place one thou­sand piles on the ta­ble, each con­tain­ing A1 mil­lion, you would have A1 bil­lion ( A1,000,000,000)! And if you could put one thou­sand piles to­tal­ing A1 bil­lion each, you would have a tril­lion dol­lars ( A1,000,000,000,000).

NASA sure has changed. Many of the 18,000 em­ploy­ees are gone and the fleet of space shut­tles have been de­liv­ered to mu­se­ums around the coun­try.

The pres­i­dent’s bud­get re­quest for NASA in 2013 is A17,711,400,000. In com­par­i­son, the ac­tual bud­get for 2011 was more than this year at A18,448,000,000.

The NASA bud­get is made up of many cat­e­gories. In 2013, com­pared to other years, NASA plans to spend more for as­tro­physics, the James Webb Space Tele­scope, which will be launched in 2018, and he­lio­physics, the study of the sun. How­ever, in 2011, NASA had spent A258.5 mil­lion more than in 2013 on the study of the plan­ets.

NASA will spend A242.7 mil­lion more in 2013 than was spent in 2011 on space tech­nol­ogy. Also, in 2013, NASA will al­lo­cate nearly A300 mil­lion more on the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion, ( a lab­o­ra­tory cir­cling about 200 miles above Earth).

In 2011, NASA spent A1,592,900,000 on the Space Shut­tle. Since the shut­tles are no longer fly­ing, NASA needs A70.6 mil­lion for 2013 and in the fol­low­ing years there will be no fur­ther re­quest for money for the shut­tle. In ed­u­ca­tion, the 2013 pres­i­dent’s bud­get calls for A69.8 bil­lion in dis­cre­tionary spend­ing, an in­crease of A1.7 bil­lion over fis­cal 2012.

Pres­i­dent Obama’s fis­cal 2013 bud­get pro­posal will add up to A3.67 tril­lion in new spend­ing. Dis­cre­tionary pro­grams of ed­u­ca­tion, the mil­i­tary and EPA ac­count for A1.15 tril­lion. More than half the bud­get, A2.27 tril­lion, cov­ers So­cial Se­cu­rity and Medi­care.

The mil­i­tary ex­pen­di­ture of A653 bil­lion is sig­nif­i­cantly more than the A17,711,000,000 asked by NASA. In fact, the money spent by the gov­ern­ment on NASA is less than 3 per­cent of the dol­lars spent on the rnited States mil­i­tary.

NASA spinoffs are the in­ven­tions and developments based on NASA’s dis­cov­er­ies that are of ben­e­fit to all of us. Some of these are fire­fight­ing equip­ment, LEDs, ar­ti­fi­cial limbs, in­frared ther­mome­ters, ear im­plants, high­way safety groov­ing, ven­tric­u­lar as­sist de­vices that are tem­po­rary heart in­stru­ments, cord­less minia­ture vac­u­ums known as Dust­busters, freeze dry­ing of food, mi­cro­cir­cuitry of med­i­cal in­ten­sive care unit mon­i­tors, and scratch re­sis­tant eye­glass lenses.

At present, NASA’s John­son Space Cen­ter in Hous­ton and Epi­omed Ther­a­peu­tics Inc., Irvine, Calif., are de­vel­op­ing a fast- act­ing nasal spray to fight mo­tion sick­ness.

Al­though the space shut­tles are no longer fly­ing, the r. S. com­mer­cial space in­dus­try will send un­manned and manned crafts into or­bit, later to the plan­ets and will continue com­mer­cial cargo flights to the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion. This will be un­der the di­rec­tion of NASA.

The Na­tional Aero­nau­tics and Space Ad­min­is­tra­tion, un­der plans by the pres­i­dent, will send hu­mans to Mars and the moon in the mid 2030s. The bud­get sup­ports de­vel­op­ment of a heavy lift rocket and crew cap­sule for flights in 2021.

Per­haps, most im­por­tant, NASA will continue with heavy em­pha­sis on ed­u­ca­tion, which will en­cour­age students to study physics, as­tron­omy, math and the uni­verse.

Health & Sci­ence Dr. Mil­ton Fried­man

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