October 31, 2013


Sports Editor




Over the weekend I watched a two-part video of a speech given by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson aimed at raising the budget for NASA. The video is called “We Stopped Dreaming,” and I highly encourage everyone to watch it.


According to the Office of Management and Budget, NASA’s 2012 funding was .48 percent of the federal budget. Tyson wants it raised to 1 percent.


As it currently stands, NASA gets half of a penny per tax dollar raised, or $18.4 billion. That seems like a lot of money, but if you look at it on a scale that we can understand, it is not that big.


Of every 100 cents that the federal government raises through tax dollars, NASA gets half a cent.


Tyson wants to raise this to one penny per tax dollar, which would double the budget.


The $850 billion bank bailout of 2008 was more than the entire 50-year budget of NASA.


When the video of Neil Armstrong was broadcast live to the world in 1969, it inspired a nation. It inspired our world.


As Tyson put it in his testimony, we stopped thinking of Earth as a globe with countries painted on it and started thinking of it as a whole.


He listed off a series of facts that validated his point. In 1970, the Clean Air Act was passed and Earth Day was started. The Environmental Protection Agency was founded in 1970. Doctors Without Borders was founded in 1971.


The Clean Water Act was passed and the EPA banned a destructive insecticide called DDT in 1972. The Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973.


“We’re still at war in Vietnam,” he said. “There’s still campus unrest. Yet, we found the time to start thinking about Earth. That is space operating on our culture, and you cannot even put a price on that.”


When we were kids, we all wanted to be astronauts. We heard the stories from our parents and grandparents about the moon landing and we read about it and other space explorations in our textbook.


Take into account everything that NASA has accomplished so far and double it. That is what we could have if Congress upped the funding for NASA to 1 percent.


“For twice (NASA’s current budget),” Tyson said. “We can transform the country from a sullen, dispirited nation, weary of economic struggle, to one where it has reclaimed its 20th century birthright to dream of tomorrow.”


Kaleb Causey is a senior journalism and political science major from Jonesboro who serves as sports editor for The Tech Talk. Email comments to ktc013@latech.edu.



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