By George Landrith
We know NASA scientists do important research at the Langley Research Center in Hampton (“New NASA instrument measures Earth’s energy budget,” Feb. 14th). The question is whether or not their funding will get kneecapped next year by misguided across-the-board budget cuts.
Unless Congress intervenes, “sequestration”—a Sword of Damocles triggered to fall when the Congressional Supercommittee failed to develop a long-term budget plan last year—will devastate a NASA budget that already has fallen from more than 4% of the federal budget in the 1960s to 1% in the 1990s to less than 0.5% this year.
If we give up on space, we’ll embolden space rivals like China, which already plans to send astronauts to the Moon and probes to Mars. We’ll weaken our economy, which space R&D has energized for decades thanks to NASA innovations like the integrated circuit, CAT scans, handheld power tools and athletic shoes. And we’ll jeopardize national security, as America will increasingly depend on satellite-controlled aerial drones and missile-defense systems to defend ourselves against rising threats Iran and North Korea.
Congress can demonstrate the right stuff by reversing sequestration and fully funding NASA.