When we think of space it is always with a tilted head upward. Look toward the stars, they are the future of exploration.To some it is the “Great Beyond.” Undiscovered planets and the potential resources they may provide are the things of imagination and science fiction.
When we think about space and space exploration, certain keywords come to mind. Solar systems. Black holes. Supernovas. Constellations. Stephen Hawking.
And of course, NASA.
NASA is as American as baseball or apple pie. It’s an institution, a symbol for forward thinking, advanced technology with a scope that goes beyond our borders. It is the Promised Land for countless nerds, geeks, and technophiles in search of etching their name in the Annals of History.
The Official NASA insignia. Unofficially, it’s a symbol for forward thinking and progress.
While this post is not an exploration about the agency’s history, there are plenty of NASA Facts out there in cyberspace, including some from Buzzle.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was founded in the late 1950s. One of the primary reasons the agency was established: to beat Communist Russia and win the Space Race. Fortunately, there is no more Cold War. Instead, the only competition between Russia and the U.S. is now viewed for sport during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
But while most recognize NASA and its prolific space program, their research into landing on the moon, Mars, or anywhere else has benefited and continues to benefit us here on Earth.
Through each technological advancement humankind has taken one giant leap into a better tomorrow. NASA’s contributions toward that cause are certainly astronomical.
Don’t believe me? Think about it. In order to build rockets and space shuttles that will withstand immense forces and pressures not normally experienced at ground level, you have a staff of certifiable geniuses constructing the means to defy gravity, shielding precious cargo, and catapulting people outside of an atmosphere that sustains life. And then you have to replicate conditions on Earth in these man-made structures and have people live in zero gravity. Yeah, that’s not impressive (sarcasm).
Sadly, not all those that govern our country consider NASA’s accomplishments as practical or as worthy of the praise that its reputation once garnered when Neil Armstrong uttered those famous words to Mission Control back in 1969.
In recent years, the government has decided to impose cutbacks on NASA’s funding. Apparently space exploration is not as much of a priority as it was in decades past. Trips to Mars will remain, for now, a distant dream that reality cannot support.
Perhaps those in favor of slashing funds would be well advised to search the confines of their immediate surroundings and realize the agency’s influence is not beyond reach. In fact, the by-products of NASA’s interstellar escapades are ironically put to use in our everyday lives. Better tech equates to a better quality of life. That is a fact you can bank on and to which a definitive return on investment cannot be measured.
To demonstrate the value of their efforts, here’s a fragment of products that we can thank NASA for helping to invent:
Cordless Tools(some of which we sell)
According to the Buzzle article from which this partial list is derived, there are over “1300 commercialized NASA inventions that have benefited the world.”
Of course such technological innovations are major players in the aviation industry as well. Modern aircraft operate much better due to “spin-off” technology from NASA’s research and development initiatives.
And while grand stories of public heroics about the agency are as numerous as the stars, personal ones are just important to our national dialogue. I didn’t know much about my grandfather, who passed away when I was 12-years-old. But I recently discovered that my grandfather helped design and test the actual battery used to run the spacecraft used in NASA’s Gemini Project, which ran from 1962-1966. Here is a man that didn’t graduate from MIT—he fought in World War II and didn’t even finish high school— but in his own way contributed to space exploration. He is among those in the Annals of History.
It’s amazing how NASA has inspired and influenced us. ..
There’s a running joke at SkyGeek Headquarters that we need a link from NASA to our site, but when I look around with my plastic, scratch resistant lens glasses at my bottle that contains filtered water, I know that we are in many ways already connected.
The love for making the unknown known is at the heart of NASA’s mission. And exploring and discovering the nature of the universe is something that is incalculable in transforming the lives of us all. Now let me ask you this: Isn’t that worth something beyond budgetary constraints?