What’s the value of space exploration?
This week, elated by the Curiosity rover, I posted something about how great NASA is to my FB page. Someone immediately commented that it cost $3B already (which I don’t think is even accurate), and complained that it was a waste of money that would be better spent on immediate needs back home.
Of course, I ranted about how the space program has provided nearly limitless value in terms of the technology it’s provided the United States and the world. And of course, he was unconvinced, calling quantifiable and demonstrable advances in communications, medicine, public safety, engineering, transportation, etc., “subjective benefits.”
So in the interest of assisting anyone else who may have encountered such a myopic lack of vision and, what else can I call it but flat-out ignorance, and since NASA’s budget is forever on the chopping block, here are a few links to more information about what is known as NASA’s “spinoff technologies.”
Wikipedia list of spinoff tech
NASA’s own Spinoff home page
back issues of Spinoff magazine, a free annual PDF that’s over 200 pages of details about NASA advancements
NASASpinoff Twitter account
Top 10 NASA Inventions You Might Use Every Day from Discovery.com
10 Best NASA Spinoffs from Wired
In a nutshell, if you drive, fly, walk, use a cell phone, use a computer, use a smoke detector, use a GPS device, wear shoes, sleep on a bed, wear glasses, check your kid’s temperature, check the weather, or ever had a CAT scan… your life has been positively impacted by NASA technologies.