Is NASA a waste of money?

Doesn't the government spend billions of dollars on NASA every year? Is it really worth it? I mean, do we really need to know about planets millions of light-years away?

I think that it is a big waste of money. HS school kids cannot even pass Alg. I. Put the money there. If not a whole generation of poorly educated Americans are going to be China's moon slaves 100 years from now.

Let's hear some opinions.


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Comments (34)

Dec 23, 2018 - 1:05am

Get one thing right--- Zero shot we'll ever be China's slaves. That just won't happen.

thots & prayers

  • 1
Dec 23, 2018 - 2:22pm

Yes, NASA is a fucking waste of money. All this liberal idealistic bullshit about finding "new planets to sustain life" when, in our own planet, people are bombing each other, wild savages still roaming forests in Africa and Southeast Asia, crackheads beating each other in the streets, billions living on less than ten dollars a day.

Let's take care of our own planet first before we go beyond and look for new ones.

Aug 22, 2020 - 7:42am

Not entirely a waste of money. Advances in space technology has advanced our own technology a LOT. But yeah we should fix our planet first. Also, if you really want to use stereotypes, conservatives consider the moon landing fake and the earth flat lmao

Aug 24, 2020 - 1:37pm

The left believes human evolution stopped at the neck and all sorts of blank slate Lysenkoist nonsense.

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Aug 22, 2020 - 2:18pm

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you, the first case of having a perfectly smooth brain in the human species  

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.

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Aug 24, 2020 - 1:48pm

Liberal bullshit? LMAO. NASA was stitched together by a former Nazi with the implied or explicit goal of showing the technological superiority of a capitalist, democratic society over a communist dictatorship. If NASA is "cancelled" by anyone it will be the New Woke seeking to discredit NASA because of its foundations and founders. 


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Dec 23, 2018 - 2:42pm

Satellites, new modes of transporting capital and information through IT, the internet, and military technologies owe their existence to the space race in the 60s. Not sure that NASA has the same impact today, though.

Most Helpful
Dec 23, 2018 - 9:10pm

No, it isn't. NASA accounts for 0.47% of the national budget so whilst it still is a matter of billions, it is small. Also, most of NASA's inventions/discoveries are still integral in many thing we use today - check this out (…). A lot of what these space agencies do (even ESA) are earth bound and help government with urban evolutions, agriculture and many other fields. One should read up on what these bodies do before talking shit.

Aug 22, 2020 - 2:06pm

This right here, NASA isn't just for "finding planets and aliens" like some smooth-brained idiots on here believe. It's essentially a government-sponsored r&d division for the US, we benefit from an incredible amount of innovations produced by NASA.

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.

Aug 22, 2020 - 6:05pm

SB. This made me happy to see someone else say it before me

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” - Nassim Taleb
Aug 22, 2020 - 11:30am

Not at all.  It's less than .5% of the national budget and the types of inventions they come up with to solve problems they deal with in space eventually make their way to the private sector.  Easiest one, cordless power tools.  They were invented because guess what, in space you can't just be plugging into an outlet and carrying around a long ass cord while making changes to the outside of a space station.  Developments from them have contributed to hundreds of billions in the private sector after their tech was adapted to commercial use.  If anything NASA yields the most effective return on investment out of anything the entire federal government does.  If anything we should INCREASE their funding because they're the only intelligent organization born from a federal mandate.  They're like that scrappy startup who that makes due with limited funding and real innovation contrasting the wasteful and bloated incumbent of the rest of our government programs.


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Aug 22, 2020 - 12:45pm

There's a good number of people who believe that we ought not do space-research when we have serious systemic problems here. My only response is to consider the technological improvements here on Earth that are a result of the space program.  While some serve the humanitarian good better than others, there are some technologies that have been increasing the living standards of the global poor for quite a while.

also, I'm still out here tryna fuck some aliens

Aug 22, 2020 - 2:16pm

People here are thinking too myopically, once NASA discovers aliens, Americans are gonna get first dibs on the thicccest alien cheeks and for that alone we should be raising their budget 

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.

Aug 22, 2020 - 6:08pm

One of my friends from HS worked at JPL for a bit. He was focused on harvesting energy there. He's now doing his PhD in Nanotechnology and elaborating on his work experience. This guy is complete genius and I'm sure he will make a big difference in the world 

edit: I can't eloquently speak to what he did because I really struggled to understand it. I hadn't taken Physics in a long time. But there's a lot more to NASA, and sustainable energy is going to be a huge playing field in the near future. 

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” - Nassim Taleb
Aug 22, 2020 - 6:55pm

Humanity has literally been at war and have had social issues since history has been able to have been recorded. That's pretty much a natural part of human nature unless you turn into an authoritarian society like china or russia and just make the problems "dissapear". 

There will always be kids that can't pass alg 1, you will never fix all social issues. 

May as well go to space 

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Aug 22, 2020 - 7:50pm

Honestly NASA is where we should all want to throw money. Space is the next frontier and it's important for our country to stay on top. 

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Aug 23, 2020 - 1:47pm

Investing in science/R&D as others have mentioned is a great idea. There are plenty of advances in technology that have come from funding NASA, and I would argue it's a perfect example of an area where public sector investment makes sense.

On the other hand, I have a problem with this argument that we should just throw more money at the educational system. For example: "The United States spent $13,600 per FTE student at the elementary/secondary level, which was 39 percent higher than the average of OECD countries3 reporting data ($9,800). Expenditures per FTE student at the postsecondary level also varied across OECD countries in 2016, ranging from $6,900 in Colombia to $50,000 in Luxembourg. The United States spent $31,600 per FTE student at the postsecondary level, which was 95 percent higher than the average of OECD countries reporting data ($16,200)."

Is funding really a problem here for our educational system? I would argue that our ability outspend our peers and receiving poorer outcomes speaks to broader government inefficiency rather than a lack of funding. But sure cut one of the few positive ROI programs the government has invested in which isn't even that big of an amount compared to our overall budget, just so we can throw even more money at wastefully managed programs. 

Aug 23, 2020 - 11:20pm

IMHO, we don't invest enough in space studies and exploration.

Last week, an asteroid set the record for coming closer to Earth than any other known NEA (near earth asteroid): It passed 1,830 miles above the southern Indian Ocean. NASA barely caught this one on time. Fortunately, this one was a relatively smaller asteroid.

What happens when one the size California comes barreling down on us?

We really need organizations like NASA for the long run - to ensure the continuity and progression of humanity..

Aug 23, 2020 - 11:52pm

Yep, and that's exactly my point. Ideally, we'd have knowledge of it early enough to act. Unfortunately, we don't have any transnational mechanisms that I know of to address a global catastrophe like this one. If an asteroid the size of CA were to impact we'd all be more or less dead. But if we made more investments in technology and research, perhaps we could find ways to detect these objects earlier and thwart them. ATM, we don't have anything.

It's my belief that organizations like NASA ought to start taking these possibilities more seriously and we ought to be investing in them more, too. 

Aug 24, 2020 - 1:46pm

Your premise is flawed. Your implied premise is as follows: adding money to the budget will help x students that aren't currently passing algebra pass algebra; 2) students far on the margins of academic success will be meaningfully impacted by a (temporary) grasp of algebra (before they step away from it for 3 months and forget 90% of it); and 3) that students with marginal academic abilities will meaningfully help society with a tenuous grasp of algebra.

I reject all three of the premises on which your question is built. So I can't answer whether or not NASA is a waste of money based on the flawed question. I will say that NASA wastes a lot of money on bad approaches to space, such as the SLS, because it is a government bureaucracy that operates on inertia. SpaceX, for example, is a good counterweight to NASA's bureaucratic inertia, and money that might otherwise flow to bad NASA designs or foolish plans might go to SpaceX instead via NASA's budget.


Aug 24, 2020 - 3:00pm

I mean there are certain things that the private sector does better than the government but let's not pretend NASA didn't run so that SpaceX could fly. What NASA does well is that it accelerates the process of scientific discoveries prior to when they would otherwise be economically viable. Now we can argue if this is good or bad but it's also important to note that through NASA's "premature" exploration of space, we've benefited as a society from the incidental discoveries along the way.

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.

Aug 24, 2020 - 3:33pm

I'm not remotely arguing that NASA is a waste of money. I'm pointing out that NASA *wastes* money regularly on bad approaches and endeavors with either limited scientific value or with poor returns on scientific investment. This waste often happens because of bureaucratic inertia--these projects take decades of planning and constant begging to Congress for money. In that light, it's good that you have private companies working with NASA to balance out NASA's bureaucratic inertia. The current NASA simply could not do what SpaceX has done in just a decade or so. The current iteration of NASA could never make it to Mars (with humans). 


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