Should the US begin a new program of manned space exploration? Lila Cummings.
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Should the US begin a new program of manned space exploration? Lila Cummings
Plan - Budget $12 billion increase to NASA's budget over the next 5 years. $11 billion comes from shift within NASA's current budget of $86 billion. $1 billion from US government Only 1% of NASA's budget would come from government
Plan - Government President Bush has said that this is “Only the beginning”. He hopes to create a “launch pad for deeper space exploration, as well as tapping resources on the lunar surface that could be used in those missions”. The United States government welcomes international participation in this project.
Plan - Timeline 2008 – New Space Shuttles developed and tested 2009 – begin tests on ISS and long term physiology effects 2014 – manned missions begin 2015-2020 – lunar missions begin 2030 – manned missions to Mars begin
Costs and Criticism The United States is stopping participation with the International Space Station by 2010 with Russia and 14 other countries still involved with the ISS. If we want to continue flying Columbia Shuttles, by 2010 recertification would be needed. Instead NASA plans to spend more money and build safer and completely redesigned shuttles (which are actually referring to past shuttle structures).
Costs and Criticism $24 billion was spent developing the Apollo missions in the 1960s. Accounting for inflation, that $24 billion would be $142 billion now. This leaves the question: is the $86 billion budget sufficient? Many experts believe it is not.
Costs and Criticism All of the proposed missions that Bush has described could be done safely, efficiently and more effectively with robots according to some. “The image of explorers facing the unknown dangers of a strange planet a hundred miles from earth is certainly heroic, but it is hopelessly old fashioned. If you want romance, read romance novels.”
Costs and Criticism On a political note, some speculate that Bush introduced this plan mainly as a political maneuver in an effort to gain popularity. These people and others claim that this endeavor is a waste of federal money and we should be spending the money on more worthy causes like the environment.
Benefits and Support The moon could be used as a launch base and potential source of energy and fuel for further flight. A new manned space program would encourage younger people to study math, science and engineering and pursue a career in these fields.
Benefits and Support “The human thirst for knowledge ultimately cannot be satisfied by even the most vivid pictures or most detailed measurements. We need to see and examine for ourselves, and only human beings are capable of adapting to the inevitable uncertainties posed by space travel.” We must physically explore space ourselves to fully understand what is “out there”.
Benefits and Support US robotic missions since 1992: 21 Failed US robotic missions since 1992: 5 Percent Failed: 23.8% “Failed” - any mission that did not achieve its primary goal. US manned missions since 1994: 24 Failed US manned missions since 1994: 1 Percent Failed: 0.04% “Failed” - any mission that did not return to Earth.
Benefits and Support Countering the claims that too much money is being spent on funding NASA many site the amount of money that is spent on the war in Iraq. Specifically, the White House Budget (Office of Management and Budget) is going to spend $35 billion by 2011 to reorganize Army Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and to increase active Army combat brigades by 30%.
Should this be done? I believe that a manned space exploration program should be pursued, but with modifications to the current plan. First, the plan needs to be slowed down – especially if the budget is grossly under what it is required. Second, compromise is needed – not all missions need to be manned, some goals can be accomplished by robots. Lastly, the United States should stay involved in the ISS – this would help maintain better relations with the other countries involved and encourage help and cooperation in our further space exploration programs.
Should it be done? In other words: Is a good approach!