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Is nasa a waste of money? – Mark Rober

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5 reasons NASA is da best. Thanks to Bill and Melinda Gates for their support on this video.
My five reasons:
1) Makes Earth a better place
2) Extinction prevention
3) Offshoot technology
4) Economy
5) Exploration and Imagination
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6:17- Bottles- A Shell in the Pit- Check him out on Spotify- https://open.spotify.com/artist/0HIiXblDOFPXxkuI35wOMx
Summary: 1 in 4 Americans thinks NASA's budget should be reduced. I feel this stems from misunderstandings like how much NASA actually gets in the first place. I tried to shed some light on some of the work NASA does from my personal experience to make a case for why NASA is one of the best investments we make with our tax dollars.
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Why should we spend money on nasa when we already have so many problems here on earth? If somebody asks you this question, how would you answer? It's been nearly five years since i left, but i came back to nasa's jet propulsion laboratory today to help answer this. Tough question, but before i even get to the five reasons, i think we should spend money on nasa. I need to clear one thing up: what percentage of the us budget do? You think goes to nasa. According to polls, most americans think it's 20, so it should come as no surprise that one in four americans think that nasa's budget should be reduced.

If you say the total budget represents a dollar or 100 pennies, the truth is nasa gets less than one half of one penny for comparison. 16 goes to the military and 60 goes to social programs like social security, unemployment, medicare and healthcare. Okay. So with that, as our foundation, let me give you five incredible things we get in return for that half a percent or less than nine dollars a year for most americans just like some might ask.

Why should we spend time exploring space when we have so many problems here on earth? Some of our ancestors probably asked. Why should we waste time trying to figure out agriculture when we have so much work to do hunting and gathering, or why should we spend so much time messing around in boats when we have so many issues here on the land? The answer to all three of these questions is the same: reaching for new heights often creates new solutions and opportunities for people back on the ground, and i have some personal experience with this concept. As most of you guys know by now, i spent seven of my nine years here at nasa working on the curiosity rover. In fact, some of my hardware is still working like a champ on the top deck of the rover, i'll be a little dirtier.

Since i touched it last, but for my last two years here, i worked on a much lesser known, project called smap and in some ways i'm more proud of what it represents. Because smap is a super, complex earth, orbiting, satellite, here's how it works once it's in orbit, the antenna boom is deployed, and then this 20 foot gold mesh, reflector origami's out like one of those hoberman sphere, toys and then the whole thing starts freaking, spinning at 15. Rpm and it's using a radiometer that can see through the clouds to measure the soil moisture levels on earth. This is important because soil moisture is one of the key vital signs of the planet by measuring the moisture levels in the soil.

It allows you to predict droughts, monitor floods and even predict crop yields for a given year and because the antenna spins around, like that you're able to measure all the soil on earth every two to three days, so i left before it actually launched in 2015.. So the reason i am here today is to follow up with some smap research scientists to see how things turned out. I've been to many countries in africa, people know about smap, and the national government of those countries are trying to use it, especially for drought, especially for crop monitoring. The nasa have a data access policy of you know, making it free for everybody.

There are three major cereal crop on the earth: wheat, rice and corn. You can forecast these three major crops, so you know 70, 80 percent of you know forecast you can do the crop yield of the whole world. What narenda is saying here is remarkable to me and it sums up my first point: perfectly smap cost 900 million dollars. Africa is the continent with the most extreme poverty.

Today i did the math and for 900 million dollars you could feed all of africa for less than a day, but instead we invested in research and technology which empowers them to better help themselves, increasing the amount of food they can make on their own for decades. As opposed to a one-time, fleeting handout of the 37 missions currently running at jpl, i think it's so cool that about half are studying and helping earth just like smap. This is a fancy way of saying we should be doing everything within our power to make sure that nothing catastrophically bad happens to us. Hollywood got this right when they said that a large asteroid impact would be really bad news.

Now the chances of this happening are small, but the potential consequences are so large. Just ask these guys. It makes sense to take it seriously. Nasa has already put an asteroid early warning detection system in place and in october 2022, for the first time ever, they will test ramming a spacecraft into an asteroid to see if you can deflect it off course, with a mission called dart, but perhaps an even bigger Threat to humans are humans.

One of the goals of all of the rovers that we've sent to mars is to gather data on what it would take for humans to live there. Establishing a permanent human outpost on mars would serve sort of like a backup, hard drive for your computer in case something catastrophically. Bad happened here on earth. America's first satellite was built here at jpl and now satellites make it so we can get gps driving directions on our phone or get tv beamed down to us from space or predict the path of hurricanes with much greater accuracy.

The word pixel in the concept of the first digital camera was also invented at jpl in the 1960s, when an engineer was trying to solve how to get pictures of the planets and send them back to earth. In fact, there are nearly 2 000 nasa technology spin-offs. We don't know what we don't know and so expecting nasa to justify its funding by predicting all the amazing things it will discover would be like expecting christopher columbus when he was lobbying queen isabella for ships to predict the polio vaccine or netflix of the 18 billion. That nasa gets it's not like they're, just putting that money on a rocket and launching it into space.

The majority of that money goes towards the salaries of tens of thousands of some of america's most skilled workers, and one of the counter arguments here is yeah, but why do we need the government to fund these programs? Why not let private companies do the innovating private space? Companies like spacex or blue origin are awesome and they play an important role but they're incentivized to pursue technologies that will give them a return on investment like space, tourism or asteroid mining or launching satellites for other organizations. There's just no incentive for a private company to invest in tracking and deflecting asteroids or investing in earth science missions like smap and then making the data available for free to anyone who needs it. So, to recap: for that less than half a penny from a dollar investment in nasa. Not only do we improve life on earth through projects like smap and protect ourselves against really catastrophic events and discover other incredible technologies to improve our lives along the way.

But the money to make all that happen goes back into growing the economy through the salaries of all the smart people, doing the work, and my fifth and final reason why we should spend money on nasa, even when we still have unsolved problems here on earth is Perhaps the most important, even if less concrete, i think it's captured best by what some call the most important picture ever taken. What you see here is the result of a 10-day exposure image from the hubble deep space telescope. With the exception of these three dots, which are single stars, every speck, smudge and spiral you see in this image is a galaxy with hundreds of billions of stars, just like our own milky way galaxy most remarkably. The field of view captured here is the darkest part of the night sky, the size of roosevelt's eye.

On a dime held at arm's length. We send men to the moon and orbiters to saturn and rovers to mars, not necessarily because there's some financial incentive or some quick payoff we're looking to exploit, but because, as humans, there are fundamental burning questions. We yearn to answer the first person to set foot on mars is alive right now they could be in junior high or high school. He or she could be watching this video right now it could be you.

I feel that her continued exploration of space in all its forms fills me with hope and inspires me to reach higher and makes me a better person.

17 thoughts on “Is nasa a waste of money?”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars J Jacobs says:


  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Riven says:

    guys guys, what if we stop giving all the budget to the military, maybe some problems would be solved if we just, y'know, SPENT MONEY ON THE SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEMS

    then we wouldn't have mouthbreathers saying we need to reduce nasa's budget

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars endyeet says:

    Even bigger threat to humans are humans
    -Mark Rober

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Isaac Park says:

    Lots of people have no idea that Nasa makes tons of $$ by selling and patenting their tech.

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars olemew says:

    If total budget was 100 pennies, NASA 'only' gets 0.5. Wow, less than a penny, so cheap… Turns out, the total budget is not 100 pennies.

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Ryszard Trojnar says:

    Gościu nie śmiej się taki obiekt nie przebije ,,,koni,, Kk arzana ale może ją uszkodzić ! Bo nastąpi wybuch termojądrowy ! Powodzenia!

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars jessicaleechacon says:

    Hey Mark can you please make The most ginormous ginormous so ginormous I said that wrong listen I said that Rob to I said that wrong to did John Normas so ginormous roller coaster in the world

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars IBtrash276 says:

    Thanks for this, it has helped me write an English Essay and you are just such an incredible human being

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Mohd Sifaat says:

    Can we appreciate that every great person that created anything great is from India.

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Roomet Puusepp says:

    “Lets let people starve to send a dog to space and never return him”

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Zen Tecson says:

    I want to hear an arguement to lower funding to soical programs.

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Kelivar Lebon says:

    The silent colony sequently occur because almanac significantly fold pace a cagey graphic. heartbreaking, second-hand screwdriver

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Elias Westlund says:

    How about actually giving 20% of US gdp to NASA. Better use than the insanely high military budget.

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars SvrT says:

    I hove no problems with spending on NASA. I have a huge problem with their inefficiency.

  15. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars fake name says:

    The money spent on NASA is a drop to the ocean compared to what is required to bolster failing, underfunded social programs. Nobody is going to be able to stop climate change, NASA isn't moving fast enough but we need every single advancement we can get toward space-baced sustainability.

  16. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars The dog says:

    I went to NASA ones it was cool so I don’t think it’s 1penny

  17. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Keith Weir says:

    You can see he is committed because he actually cut a penny in half

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