Has NASA reached its peak?
This being my first story, I am going to be brief but I may delve deeper.
July of 1969
This was a big time for NASA as it was when they successfully landed a man on the Moon, as well as beat the Soviets to it. They even fulfilled President Kenndedy’s promise to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. As Neil Armstrong put it, That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. They were on top of the world, or on top of the Moon should I say? But, in this short 11 years, NASA had spent an equivalent of about 253 billion dollars in todays money. (That may seem incredibly high, but keep in mind, the highest percentage of the federal budget NASA has ever been allocated is 4.41% which was during this time period.) But, was this it for them? Sure, we landed on the Moon five more times, but was it really possible to go higher and farther?
What I feel is the reason that NASA will never return to their old self is because they became too mainstream. They forgot who they were, a science/space research agency. They focused more on pleasing the public and drawing support than working to improve their capabilities. In the haste of creating the organization to combat the Soviets, our “great” leaders forgot to think about the future and all the awesome possibilities for it rather than to just defend the United States. So, to use a rocket metaphor, NASA ran out of fuel. No matter the amount of research they began to do, they could never quite capture the interest of the people as they had during the Space Race. Nowadays, most people just don’t care. Why? Not because they think NASA useless (unless they do), but instead because there are so many more urgent issues to attend to than a galaxy set to collide with us in 2.5 million years. We aren’t at a nuclear war anymore. Many, including me, (Although I am a lover of the true Great Outdoors) believe that before we can venture to other planets, we have to care for our own planet and make sure the living beings here don’t die off. Additionally, space is confusing. The quantum mechanics, astrobiology, and physics that goes into research and projects happen not be most people’s forte.
Maybe, NASA’s purpose should become to show our world how small we truly are thus we must be united. Unfortunately, aliens from other galaxies don’t seem to be coming around anytime soon to colonize Earth to give us our much-needed wake-up call.
In short, NASA may have reached their peak of popularity, but they definitely have not reached their peak of doing meaningful work even if the simple-minded can’t understand it :)
Thanks for reading.
What I feel is the real reason that NASA will nevetoo mainstream.