NASA has been a household name for Americans since the ’60s when it achieved the seemingly impossible, landing humans on the Moon. Since then, NASA has explored other alien surfaces like, Mars and Saturn’s moon Titan, as well as flown by every planet in our solar system. It has achieved so much on a budget that is so small. Imagine if we gave NASA hundreds of billions of dollars a year like what we give the US military. What more could NASA have achieved over the years?
This is one example where the sky is not the limit — it’s the starting line. Following is a transcript of the video.
The US spends more on space exploration than any other country in the world. A big chunk of this investment goes to NASA, the country’s leading agency for space exploration. But that’s still a pittance compared to the overall US Federal budget. Since NASA landed the first man on the Moon in 1969, its budget has plummeted from 4.5% of the Federal budget to less than 0.5%. But what if NASA’s budget hadn’t shrunk? What if, instead, its funding was comparable to the US military’s?
How close would we be to actually colonizing Mars or visiting another star system?
It’s impossible to know for sure, but here’s a look at how NASA’s budget compared to the US military’s in 2016. Put another way, the military’s budget for 2016 would pay for a crewed mission to Mars with tens of billions to spare. NASA estimates it would cost $450 billion to land the first humans on Mars by the late 2030s or early 2040s. What else might NASA do with $600 billion? Let’s look at how NASA allocated its funds in 2016. That would easily meet current costs for NASA’s biggest ongoing projects including:
• Construction and launch costs for the most powerful rocket in history, the Space Launch System.
• The most powerful space telescope ever built, the James Webb Space Telescope.
• Partner with SpaceX on its first mission to Mars in 2018, the Red Dragon Mission.
• Pay for NASA operations on board the ISS through 2024.
So, how would you have NASA spend the rest?
We can think of some ideas.