“Let’s get humans farther and deeper into space,” writes Bill Nye in a response to recent op-eds from Robert Zubrin and Rick Tumlinson. “Let’s go to Mars and look for living things.”
The latest from Bill
Cutting the NASA budget line for planetary science is a mistake that would start at $309 million in fiscal 2013 but end up in the billions and billions in just a few years. In the space business, $309 million is not an especially large amount of money. Right now, the U.S. House plans to restore a substantial fraction of it — the Senate half of that fraction. If funding is not restored, it would be a substantial cut to programs whose benefits far outweigh their costs. Planetary science missions are the crown jewels of the U.S. space program because they bring us remarkable discoveries, great science, and because they are not routine — because they are hard. Investment in planetary science inherently leads to innovation: the development of new materials, new engineering techniques, new remote sensing technology and ultimately new discoveries. Without a flow of innovations, the U.S. economy will falter and cede billions of dollars to economies in other parts of the world. Planetary science delivers remarkable bangs without costing a great many bucks.