Tech Devil: NASA and Space Exploration are the Key to Our Future
Only a few close friends and family members know about my childhood obsession with astronomy and the universe in general. I was a huge Star Wars fan (still am) and had every space-themed Lego set imaginable. My parents bought me books and my room in the house I lived in in Austin, Texas, was painted like the inside of the space shuttle cockpit. The one dream I had as a kid was to be the first human being on Mars.
I was obsessed with the Red Planet. It got to the point where I knew the speed one would need to reach to escape the gravitational pull of the planet (11,245 MPH). A little much, but it was fascinating to me, and still is. I had a number of Estes model rockets. I would give anything to be strapped to a rocket and launched into space at 17,000 MPH. This means I have to find a way to get $20 million for a ticket.
The reason I bring this up was because we have some major problems facing our country at the moment and we need a spark of inspiration to keep us moving forward. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is the director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, has become the voice of the space community in popular media. He's had multiple interviews on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Someone even put together a video with audio from a few of his interviews and powerful images of NASA's history.
In many of his interviews, Tyson has stated that the reason we had a craving for future-everything in the ‘60s and ‘70s was because of the Space Race and the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions. It made us dream about what the world of tomorrow might be like. Tyson also delivers a disappointing fact that NASA's budget is made up of four-tenths of a penny of every tax dollar.
It's sad to realize that gatekeeper of a nation’s dreams has been stripped to a skeleton. Hopefully we, as a nation, realize the potential NASA has to drive our economy and country forward into the future. I can't count how many times I've daydreamed about what our world will be like in the next ten, 50 or 100 years. I've thought about what it would be like to live forever just to see how far humans could reach into the solar system, the galaxy, and eventually the far edges of space.
We can reach that point. Maybe not in our lifetimes, but we can at least build a solid foundation for future generations to have the drive and ability to explore the rest of the universe. Now politicians and economists will say that we can't spend the money on things like NASA. Even a modest increase to a penny on a tax dollar would get us to Mars in the next 50 years, and who knows after that.
I'll leave you with the same question as offered at the end of the video. How much would you pay for the universe?