NASA has wasted billions over the years by sending Americans to the moon on six occasions and by having them live in the Space Station for months on end—over $200 billion, in fact, since the organization’s creation.
Sending Americans into space is fun and makes for a great public relations exercise, but today, that role should be left to private industries who have both the motivation and the resources to build ambitious space-going craft. The goal of NASA, on the other hand, should be limited to gathering information, sending out probes, discovering new worlds, and answering questions about the universe. If NASA just focuses on those tasks, then the billions needed for shuttles, astronaut training, fuel etc. can be readily used for other, more pressing aspects of the national budget.
The space race is long dead, and we are no longer at the point where we can throw billions of dollars where it’s not needed. Allocate those billions to transportation, energy, veterans’ affairs—the list of where we need that money goes on and on. I’m confident the public and I would be much happier if the government were budget $5 billion for NASA rather than the almost $18 billion that it’s asking for in 2013. We are Americans; we still have the urge to explore and to satisfy our curiosity. Imagine the new discoveries we could find, if we would just use our innovation and kept exploring—at a reduced cost to taxpayers, of course.