What is the true mission of NASA?

Ted Cruz has drawn both criticism and support in recent weeks for his declaration that NASA should be focused on the tangible goals of space exploration rather than their recent endeavors into earth science and climate change. Some see his arguments as longing for the inspirational spirit of NASA’s classic Apollo missions, but others see them as petty partisan tactics. If he were simply a vocal senator, it would not matter all that much, but given that he leads the Senate subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, his opinion is crucial. Subcommittees have the ability to dictate policy in congress by killing bills before they reach the floor. If NASA is to continue to provide key research on climate change, it will have to do so in spite of Cruz.

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4 thoughts on “What is the true mission of NASA?

  1. Hi! I think Ted Cruz’s viewpoint is really interesting. While I believe that NASA should definitely focus on tangible/realistic goals of space exploration, I think an absolutely necessary part of their operations should be focused on exploring new realms of space. How else would we keep learning about the universe around us?

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  2. Hi, Grader here!
    Interesting post! It has always been a problem to convince the public that we need to learn more about our place in the Universe, and entities such as NASA are the ones that have always been doing these. Hopefully, NASA will continue doing space research instead of focusing all of their resources on tangible/realistic goals.

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  3. This is a very important and relevant topic. Although I’m a little biased (a semester of solar systems will do that to you), it seems that the role of NASA is to explore Earth’s role within the universe. This could include exploring our own solar system, developing travel to other stars, and examining our own Earth so we can understand how life might form on other planets. Furthermore, Cruz’s statements that NASA should not study climate change seem biased based on his erroneous statement that “satellite data demonstrate for the last 17 years, there’s been zero warming. None whatsoever.” (http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevensalzberg/2015/03/30/ted-cruz-uses-the-galileo-gambit-to-deny-global-warming/) NASA’s own research negates this claim. I believe that NASA should continue its holistic examination of our universe so that the US can both pioneer new frontiers and preserve old ones.

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