NASA to lose funding
February 28, 2018
Amidst plans to cut funding, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will no longer be able to carry out what was selected to be their number one mission in 2010: Wide-Field Infrared Space Telescope (WFIRST).
NASA’s funding has decreased from five percent of the U.S. federal budget to what it is today: less than 0.4%.
Many, such as Ethan Siegel of Forbes, believe that the government’s decision to slash NASA’s funding and end the WFIRST project will permanently damage NASA.
According to NASA’s website, WFIRST’s goal is to “settle essential questions in the areas of dark energy, exoplanets, and infrared astrophysics.”
The research that could be compiled from WFIRST would be cutting edge and answer a lot of questions that have recently come up.
Dark energy is a theory that explains the expansion of the universe. Without launching WFIRST, scientists at NASA will not be able to have real data to potentially confirm or deny the dark energy theory.
Here is a video that explains the WFIRST project.
NASA executes many projects and missions that advance research and help people all around the world. An example of this is the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM).
NASA partnered with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in order to launch GPM into space. GPM was successfully launched on February 17, 2014. With many advanced instruments aboard, GPM monitors the precipitation around the world. This mission has helped NASA develop an understanding of how Earth’s water and energy cycles work. Additionally, GPM directly benefits societies by helping to predict natural disasters.
With projects such as GPM, it is clear that the research being done by the space agency is invaluable.
With the government gutting NASA’s funds, space travel is becoming more corporate. Companies such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX plan on using space travel in order to profit.
NASA has three main goals:
“1. Expand the frontiers of knowledge, capability, and opportunity in space.
- Advance understanding of Earth and develop technologies to improve the quality of life on our home planet.
- Serve the American public and accomplish our Mission by effectively managing our people, technical capabilities, and infrastructure.”
SpaceX, a private organization that wants to charge people in order to travel to space, writes that they “revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.”
Although corporations such as SpaceX have made progress on developing space technologies, NASA has the explicit goal of benefiting society. If the U.S. government plans to continue to learn about the world around us, they must stop decreasing NASA’s funding.