Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | APRIL 19, 2012 6:30 AM

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'How much would you pay for the universe?'

The Penny4NASA campaign, founded in March, is a campaign to increase federal funding of space science programs. The premise is that NASA is underfunded, and "we the people" want to do something about it.

Notable figures such as Neil DeGrasse Tyson have asserted that if we double the budget of NASA to 1 percent of the total federal budget, we will be able to return to the moon, go to Mars and beyond, soon.

See, NASA's budget is 0.4 percent of the federal budget — even when doubled, would not amount to one percent. This campaign is not asking for much — $850 billion was spent on the bank bailout, which is more than NASA has received in all 54 years of its existence.

Think of it this way: For less than the price of the bailout, we have paid for all the moon landings, all the astronauts, the missions to Mars, the Hubble space telescope, the International Space Station, all 10 NASA centers, the Kepler observatory, the Voyager missions, etc. The list could go on, but I digress.

In short, NASA is underfunded to do what it needs to do: making dreams come true. How much would you pay for the universe? How much would you pay for a manned mission to Mars? What would you pay for a secure future for your children? How much would you pay for all the technologies — LEDs, artificial limbs, memory foam, water purification, pollution remediation, and freeze drying, and many more — NASA has inspired? How about one penny on the dollar?

Ben Ungs
UI student

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