Point Counterpoint: Defund NASA?

I: NASA is a waste of $18.4 billion. Unlike every other way federal money is spent, NASA doesn’t make living any easier for anyone. The only purpose of NASA is to satisfy the white man’s desire to colonize the world now the darkest reaches of Africa are known. Space being cool is not a reason to spend money.


K: Your argument fundamentally misunderstands what space exploration does and how it benefits humanity. NASA is amazing. It has given us more food, and more information about the world that we live in. You are also overshadowing all the women and people of color who contribute to NASA. From the moment humans stood on two legs, we were curious. I remind you that the first explorers, weren’t white.


I: The whole idea of NASA is colonialism. Now that we have discovered the farthest reaches of the “Oriente,” we need more land to conquer. There is no benefit to space exploration. This progress doesn’t benefit people, it’s just progress for progress’s sake. Programs that are tax funded need to have real benefits.


K: No benefits? We have the Internet because of NASA. NASA contributed to life-saving pacemakers that pump blood through people. NASA has helped safely remove landmines. Firefighter gear is lighter and safer. We use solar energy. We purify and clean water. It’s nice to not have to just guess when it’s going to rain or when a hurricane is coming. This is more than enough to justify taxpayer funding for NASA.


I: Weather satellites are operated by NOAA and we’ve actually had the technology to purify water for hundreds of years. Solar power, velcro, the internet, all not NASA. The purpose of NASA isn’t to add to useful technology, it’s to explore space. Even if usefulness was a byproduct of NASA, wouldn’t it be more efficient to create useful things on purpose?


K: Necessity is the mother of invention. NASA forces us to need new things that cause improvements to our everyday lives. Let’s talk about solar power. NASA missions kept it economical. They also helped research ways to make solar power more efficient and cheaper. All of this made solar power exist in its current form, affordable and helping fight climate change. Every year, NASA publishes a list of inventions that they helped create.


I: Solving fake problems and hoping that it solves real problems isn’t a wise way for the government to spend money. NASA has done research on solar power, but so have a lot of people. Technology that helps people is a necessity and is created by many people. Almost all research is not done by NASA. NASA’s purpose is space and space is not helpful.


K: Solving the problems NASA brings up is the only way we can invent technologies that we would’ve never otherwise dreamed of. We are curious. We should know what is beyond. The desire to explore is the reason that we have advanced so far. Our curiosity has allowed us to invent new technologies that have completely changed the way we live. The average taxpayer pays $33 per year to NASA, to get all of those benefits. That’s a pretty efficient use of money.

Photo By: Luke Notkin

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