Manned Space Missions BY Matt Nicholson
Why We Need Them • One reason that we need them. At the height of the Apollo program, NASA consumed more than 4 percent of the federal budget. In the 1960s, that was a lot of money. Today, it's a rounding error. NASA's budget for fiscal year 2011 is roughly $18.5 billion - 0.5 percent of a $3.7 trillion federal budget. In 2010, Americans spent about as much on pet food. A second reason why we need them are. HOUSTON--With the space shuttle now history, NASA's next great mission is so audacious, the agency's best minds are wrestling with how to pull it off: Send astronauts to an asteroid in less than 15 years. The challenges are innumerable. Some old-timers are grousing about it, saying going back to the moon makes more sense. But many NASA brains are thrilled to have such an improbable assignment. And NASA leaders say civilization may depend on it. An asteroid is a giant space rock that orbits the sun, like Earth. And someday one might threaten the planet.
Why we don’t need them • One reason we don’t need them. "We must invest in fundamentally new innovations for space technology and new ways of doing business if we are to develop a space exploration and development program that is truly sustainable over the long term," NASA administrator Charles Bolden told the National Press Club in Washington in February • A second reason we don’t need them In response, the president and NASA have crafted a bold plan that truly makes possible this nation's dreams for space. Their plan calls for the full embrace of commercial solutions for transporting astronauts to low Earth orbit after the space shuttle is retired this year. This frees NASA to do what it does best: deep space exploration, both robotic and human. By selecting commercial solutions for transportation to the international space station, NASA is empowering American free enterprise to do what it does best: develop technology quickly and efficiently in a competitive environment.
My opinion • I think that we need them because the more time we spend in space studying other life on planets we could move there when people say we will run out of resources. It could teach us new things we haven’t yet discovered. It is also less expensive.