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Joe Fercho Professor Susan Latta UF 300 9/26/13 So I want to begin by asking you guys a few questions.

How many of you guys eat food enriched with some mineral or another, like flour or vitamin D milk. Ok, now how of you have a water filter like a Brita or the Pur one that goes on the faucet? Well if you use some of these products and many, many others on a regular basis, you can thank NASA. Now most people know what NASA is and what Its done but for those that dont Ill Give a you a quick overview. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is a government agency dedicated to exploring and understanding space, flight, and the sciences that describe those things. Since its inception in 1958, NASA has conducted many important missions including the Apollo missions that took us to the moon and the Voyager missions that have sent probes into interstellar space. So why should we care about hunks of metal and plastic flying through space? Well Ill tell you. Its not easy sending a car sized rover to mars nor a manned shuttle to the moon. To overcome such obstacles, NASA has done more to advance engineering than any other group that I am aware of. NASA has patented thousands of their innovative inventions and ideas. The really cool thing though, is that many of those patents are free for the people to use. NASA isnt all about engineering though. It is the worldwide leader in astrophysics and astronomy. Without NASAs research and efforts in these fields, we wouldnt have satellites for TV, GPS, or Cell phones. Without NASA there would be no International Space Station. Without the ISS there would be no low gravity experiments being done. Without those experiments, we would be clueless as to how our bodies and other natural organisms survive in space. This is why you should care, NASA works and innovates to forward our understanding of the universe for us all. Heck its even in their motto For the benefit of all.

So whats my point here? Well I think we need to fund NASA more, like a lot more! NASA has developed and researched a countless number of things that enrich and enhance our everyday lives. Yet we allocate less than half of a percent of annual budget towards it. Compare that to the 4.5 percent that we gave it in 1966. Just a few short years before man landed on the moon. If the science and engineering advancements alone arent enough, NASA helps to stimulate the national economy. It does this through its contracting work. By hiring or purchasing materials, NASA spends millions of dollars in each state every year. Nearly 4 million in Idaho alone in 2012. NASA also provides about 80,000 jobs nationally. The real question though is what can NASA do for us in the future? I mean thats what the moneys for right? Right now NASA is researching long term exposure to weightlessness and space. They are doing this in the hopes to be able to conduct a manned spaceflight to mars or to establish a more permanent colony on the moon. They even want to capture an asteroid and put into orbit around the moon in order to research. So whats the point right? Simply to advance humanity. Mankind is no doubt destined to explore space further and more in depth than we have thus far. NASA hopes to be the main driving force behind human expansion into the cosmos. As of right now NASA has furloughed 97% of its workforce due to the government shutdown. While NASA is deemed non-essential for the short term future, the long term losses in research and development are priceless. NASAs shutdown is not only hurting it, the shutdown is noticeably hurting the private space industry as well. Sierra Nevada Corporation, a private space company, has had to cancel testing due to like of funding and support from NASA. Whatever NASA means to you, whether it be an engineering firm, a scientific laboratory, or simply another cog in the national economy, there is no denying the good that NASA does. If we simply doubled NASAs budget to a little less than 1% of national expenditure, there is no telling how much

good can be achieved. We might even be able to recapture that adventurous spirit us Americans used to get when we gazed up at the stars.