Thursday, August 22, 2019

Public Support for NASA Essay Example for Free

Public Support for NASA Essay Established by the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, NASA believes in these words of Abraham Lincoln: â€Å"With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed (â€Å"External Assessment;† â€Å"Public Opinion of the American Space Program†).†Ã‚   After all, NASA is dependent on public funding for its unspeakably expensive space programs.   Even though the government has spent an immense amount of money on the Iraq War, and it is common knowledge that at least forty seven million people in the United States, including at least eight million children cannot afford health insurance, NASA’s programs must continue. These space programs cost billions of dollars, while the cost of providing health care for a single American child is far less.   Therefore, public support for NASA must dwindle according to the times.   The American public is pretty wise as far as funding for NASA’s space programs is concerned.   This is the reason why public support for NASA slipped during the year 2001 after its rise in the 1990s (David).   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Despite the current trade deficit of the United States – a loud and clear message that American consumption is beyond control – as well as the health care failures confronting the country besides the overuse of public funding on the Iraq War; the famous Gallup Poll has revealed that the American public is by and large supportive of NASA at present (Jones).   Of course, the Gallup Poll is a survey conducted through the scientific method.   So therefore, its results are considered credible.   All the same, Bergin reports that there is an obvious gap in support for the prestigious space agency of the United States among the group of Americans aged 18 to 24.   Perhaps the Gallup Poll would be considered credible still.   Regardless, Bergin adds that the young people of the United States are the future voters and taxpayers whose support is crucial for NASA’s future planning.   Hence, the Office of Strategic Analysis and Communications has assumed the responsibility of finding out whether the communications and public relations department of NASA is failing the young members of the American public (Bergin).   In other words, the young people of the United States must be inspired by the space programs of NASA.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   NASA has plenty of supporters willing to convince the public about the value of its work.   The Citizens for Space Exploration, for example, is a â€Å"multi-state organization† comprising U.S. taxpayers who are supportive of the United States’ space exploration investment (Citizens for Space Exploration).   The organization describes itself thus: â€Å"We are private citizens, small business owners, students, teachers, space and non-space business representatives, and county and municipal officials (Citizens for Space Exploration).†Ã‚   Seeing that people from almost all walks of life are backing NASA today, there is no doubt that the United States’ space exploration investment is almost fully supported by the American public.   Moreover, it may very well be that the young people of the United States are taking the problems of Iraq as well as health care more seriously than the older Americans. This is making them disbelieve in the value of NASA to the American society.   The goals of NASA, after all, do not appear as serious as the problems confronting the nation.   According to the Presidents National Space Policy, NASA must achieve the following goals for the United States: (1) Enhancement of knowledge about the universe, the solar system, and the Earth through robotic as well as human exploration; (2) Strengthening and maintaining the security of the nation; (3) Enhancement of â€Å"economic competitiveness† in addition to â€Å"scientific and technical capabilities of the United States;† (4) Encouragement of private, local and state use of, and investment in space technologies; and (5) Promotion of â€Å"international cooperation to further U.S. domestic, national security, and foreign policies (â€Å"External Assessment†).†   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Apparently NASA did not help to secure the United States against the terrorist attacks on 9/11, which is why young people do not believe in the capabilities of the space agency.   Levin and Watson write that the majority of people in the United States had doubts about NASA even after it had managed to send man to the moon.   According to David, the American public is not very interested in sending people out of the Earth’s atmosphere in any case.   Hence, a survey conducted in the year 1971 by the Roper Organization revealed that two-thirds of the Americans were of the opinion that the government was spending far too much money on the exploration of space. However, the American public showed a great deal of support to NASA after the Columbia accident.   Although the accident entailed an increased need of public funding for NASA’s space programs – the number of Americans that had previously claimed that they wanted public funding for NASA to be reduced, declined.   As a matter of fact, soon after the Columbia accident, the National Opinion Research Center conducted its annual poll to discover that the number of people wanting a reduction of public funding for NASA had declined to thirty five percent (Levin and Watson).   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Even so, the American public has consistently ranked the budget of NASA lower in importance than defense, health care and education.   When public funding for NASA fell during the 1990s – to the point of being halved – the space agency had little to spend on Research and Development, considering the massive amount of expenses it incurs on virtually all of its departments and programs.   After the Columbia disaster, the agency complained that the decline in public funding was indirectly responsible for the accident. As an example, NASA had cuts its budget for photographing the launches of shuttles.   Without vivid photographs of the patch of foam that had struck a wing of Columbia eighty two seconds after its launch, engineers at NASA had mistakenly concluded that Columbia was not in danger (Levi and Watson).   This may very well be the reason why public support for NASA increased after the accident.   After all, NASA cannot be shut down under the Presidents National Space Policy.   Thus, the American people must have gathered that they ought to support NASA as best as possible to ensure the safety of other Americans.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Still, the people of the United States do not believe in the extravagance of NASA’s programs.   Educated Americans are more likely to assume that the benefits of NASA continue to exceed its costs.   The majority of the Americans, on the other hand, are of the opinion that the space program should be similar to the Centers for Disease Control in delivering practical benefits to their lives.   Rich Americans, mostly men and white, are known to support NASA much more than the others.   The others are not too confident that the space agency is â€Å"worth its price tag (David).†   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Although NASA is not supported by eighty percent of the Americans at present, and only a little more than half of the population of the United States is known to believe that the benefits of NASA exceed its costs; it is possible for the space agency to raise public support for its programs by communicating with the Americans, especially the young Americans, more often.   The young people can be inspired to enjoy NASA’s creativity.   All the same, there are a number of concerns on the young American mind that must be addressed before NASA’s experiences can be thoroughly enjoyed by all. These concerns include the health care problems facing the nation, as well as the tremendous amount of money that has been spent by the U.S. government on the Iraq War.   Undoubtedly, young people are more likely to believe that the problems faced by their nation present them with a great responsibility.   Hence, NASA would have to be patient if it is not supported by the young people of America.   After all, nobody ever said that NASA was more important to the United States than its defense, health care and education.   The United States is also suffering from a trade deficit at present.   NASA should consider it a blessing, therefore, that even fifty percent of the Americans support its programs. Works Cited Bergin, Chris. â€Å"Constellation concerned by the gap in public support for NASA.† David, Leonard. â€Å"Poll: Public support for NASA slipping.† â€Å"External Assessment.† Jones, Jeffrey M. â€Å"Americans continue to rate NASA positively.†   31 Oct 2007. 19 Nov Levin, Alan, and Traci Watson. â€Å"Public Support Could Prove Crucial for NASA.† 18 Aug 2007. 19 Nov 2007. â€Å"Public Opinion of the American Space Program. Sep 2007. 19 Nov 2007.

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