The American Space Program -Why Invest in it?

Why invest in more in the American Space Program? How will it help us solve the problems here on earth? Why not invest that money on Environmentally Friendly Programs instead?

This web page provides some of the answers to why we get overwhelming benefits for all the tax dollars spent on the American Space Program. These benefits are:

1. The exploration of a new frontier.
2. Incredible technologies and products to improve our lives.
3. Amazingly Environmentally Friendly Technologies.
4. The Changing of lives for better stewardship of the planet.

See the US Space Program for a more in depth explanation of these benefits. Let’s ask the next question:


How do we invest our Tax Dollars wisely to get the most Environmentally Friendly Planet?

This question is important. There are some interesting choices.

1. Continue to fund the US Space Program at the same levels.

2. Reduce the American Space Program budget and use those funds to fix the problems on the planet.

3. Increase the Space Program budget and reap the benefits of Environmentally Friendly Technologies.

That third idea may be a bit difficult to grasp however it is worth exploring.

Why is it wise to put more money into space exploration to get environmentally friendly technology?

Why not just invest more in the Environmentally Friendly Technologies directly?

These are great question! To answer them lets dig deep into the heart of Problem-Solving-Techniques.

To solve any problem effectively the desired outcome must first be clearly understand. Next, a workable solution can be pursued.

Many times intuitive ways of solving problems do not achieve the desired results. The Critical Thinker uses Problem Solving Steps to ask what the final desired outcome of the problem and then working backwards to determine what is the best solution to accomplish that task.

The best way to explain this concept is to provide a real life example how this method works.

The Broken Windows Theory
(from The Re-Discovery of Common Sense )

In the 1980s and early 1990’s the poor neighborhoods of Brownsville and East New York and their streets had every conceivable violent and dangerous crime. Crime was spreading like a virus.

A common solution for lowering crime is adding more police and jails. However, this only treats the symptoms of the problem. It does nothing to address the root cause of crime nor does it lower it.

To solve its crime situation, New York City implemented what is now known as the Broken Windows Theory. The Broken Windows theory states that if a window is broken and left un-repaired then people walking by will assume no one cares and no one is in charge.

Graffiti, public disorder and aggressive panhandling are the equivalents of broken windows. They were evidence of the virus that was inviting more serious crimes in New York City.

By fixing windows, cracking down on quality of life crimes and aggressive panhandling, the crime in New York City dropped precipitously. This is because the desired result was clearly understood and a well thought out solution was defined and implemented effectively.

 

Stewardship of Our Planet

This same type of thinking through the problem needs to be done when striving to improve the stewardship of our planet. The natural thing to do to make the planet green would be to throw millions (or billions) of dollars at Environmentally Friendly Products.

But, is this the most efficient use of our tax dollars?

To be sure, monies need to go towards developing these technologies. However, let’s ask the question:

Where do the ideas come from that help create environmentally friendly technologies? The answer is interesting.

One of the primary places is from the American Space Program. The US Space program has frequently been less than 1% of the US Budget and yet it provides countless benefits in space exploration, improvement of life technologies, greening of the planet and changing of lives for better stewardship of the planet.

How can that be? That's a normal question and deserves some digging deeper.

To understand why the Space Program is so important to the greening of the planet we first need to understand how many advanced technologies are developed.

Future Technology Development Steps

1. A need for the technology is determined
2. Concepts are created
3. The concepts are down selected into one or two ideas
4. Prototypes are created and tested
5. Refinements are made, and a final product is created
6. Costs are driven out and the product is put into mass production

 

We must now beg the next question:

What parts do the American Space Program play in the Development of environmentally friendly technologies? The answer is enlightening.

The American Space Program works on Steps 1 through 5.

Space is an extremely hostile environment. Designs must withstand extreme heat, cold, radiation and long life without maintenance. They must also withstand the shock and vibration of launch and much more.

The Environmental Friendly designs that come out of the space program are incredible. And, technology development isn’t cheap—yet the American Space Program is amazingly efficient with our tax dollars.

 

So where does industry come in?

Some of the companies who develop new technologies work on Steps 1 through 6. However, many work only on Step 6. They take many of the environmental friendly designs that come from the American Space Program, make them for mass production by lowering costs and adjusting requirements.

Then they provide them to the general public. Many companies are thrilled with the millions of dollars they save in research and development costs by not having to foot the investment bill needed for Steps 1-5.

So there it is. The American Space Program does much of the hard work for the development of environmentally friendly technologies. Industry then takes these concepts and turns them into great products for the planet--at a profit of course.

Does this mean take all monies for Environmental Friendly Technologies from private companies and give them to the American Space Program?

Absolutely not. There is still a need for technology innovation in industry and the development of technologies that come outside of the space program.

What is being suggested is to invest more in the space program and reap the environmentally friendly designs that come out of those added funds.

It is clear that the monies invested in the US Space Program provide a huge return on investment. More monies invested into the space program could move us even faster into an environmentally friendly world.

If the government were only 20-30% as efficient as the space program is, we would be much further advanced than we are today and dare say have many less problems financially.

Now, let’s ask the the next question:

How is the US Space Program able to create many amazing advancements with relatively little money?

There are several answers to this question:

1. The people who work in the American Space Program are some of the best and brightest on the planet. They have to be. Satellites and rockets can cost millions of dollars and you can’t afford to be wrong very often. Also, human life is precious and these people are passionate about the safe return of their fellow adventurers. They understand at a very deep level that when lives are at stake, the need for doing ones best is raised to another level.

2. The individuals who work in American Space Program are deeply committed to their work. Money is secondary to doing the best job possible. They thrive on critical thinking, problem solving and decision making.

3. Space is an incredibly harsh environment. The designs must be able to handle extreme heat, cold, radiation and long life without maintenance. Designs must also withstand the shock and vibration of launch and much more.

4. Some of the designs are used on other planets. These environments test the ingenuity and resourcefulness of designers. Products must be designed right the first time. You don’t get a second chance.

5. Designing items for the relatively benign environment of earth that were designed in space frequently isn't complex. The toughest challenge is to make them cost effective for the general population. This is not as big a challenge as developing the technology initially.

6. It is very expensive to send objects into space. Striving to achieve the smallest, lightest most efficient designs is the name of the game. Miniaturization with high functionality is a high priority.

 

In summary:
The American Space Program create enormous paybacks for the monies invested for an environmentally friendly planet. It is time to look at all the facts and data and invest our tax dollars more wisely.

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Let’s get the word out and invest our monies in the right places to move us forward towards an environmentally friendly planet!

~ Chuck Clayton

The American Space Program to Problem Solving Techniques

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