NASA has announced plans for American astronauts to return to the moon by 2018 at the cost of $104 billion. This goes along with President Bush’s plan to eventually send a manned mission to Mars.
Officials at NASA noted that the $104 billion price tag would only be about half of what the original Apollo mission.
In anticipation of criticism, NASA Chief Michael Griffin said: “When we have a hurricane we don’t cancel the Air Force… and we’re not going to cancel NASA.”
Griffin is right when he says that the price tag is not relatively large; it is much less compared to what the U.S. has spent in Iraq. And the space research is justified by its level of importance.
It seems our priorities are mixed up. Is there any proposed space research on AIDS medicine, race relations, poverty levels, world hunger, improving public schools, raising literacy rates or ending rape?
Scientific research and understanding more about the universe we live in are important endeavors for the human race. Any knowledge we gain as human beings is definitely an advantage. There are a lot of problems right here on earth that will not be solved by space exploration and research, but the $104 billion could solve a few problems.
NASA and the work it does certainly have a place in the U.S. budget, but their work must be regarded as a luxury that we can afford only after our necessities have been addressed.