Somebody on Facebook asked, a while back, why we need the space program. Why, when our society has so many deep and vital needs, should we spend money on something as whimsical as space exploration?
Obviously, the reasons are many, beginnning with all the benefits (electronic, computer, medicine, even agriculture) we’ve gained as side-effects of NASA’s research and development.
But I think it goes deeper than that. We need the space program because we need the opportunity of a communal dream. If we look around us, and even behind us, the world sometimes seems awfully grim. No matter what each of us does, we can’t seem to make a difference.
It’s vital for the human spirit to have something to dream of, something to potentially accomplish if we all want it badly enough. The space program is a small expense, budgetarily, that gives a huge, monumental, return. To cease funding it would be a diminishment of hope. And I’m not sure we can take much more cynicism and lack of hope.