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4.0 Perspectives

Despite the efforts of programs such as NASA's Technology Utilization Program, many people do not recognize the impact nor importance of the space program on their lives. There is a constant battle about funding for space projects. People always are concerned about spending dwindling tax dollars wisely--is the large amount of spending that goes towards the space program really neccessary, or is it just frills? The general concensus is best communicated by a quote from Frederick Ordway about the space race to the moon:

Were a few pounds of lunar rock and soil samples, together with photographs, seismographic readings, and other scientific data and the thrill of seeing men walk on the moon really worth it?

The concern that people have is valid. Most of the concern that people express is in relation to the large amount of dollars that go into the program.

While the amount of money that goes into the space program is indeed large, it is still a relatively small piece of the pie. During the height of the American Space program in the 1960's, only 2.5% of all federal expenditures went towards the space program, amounting to a sum of 40 billion dollars.

While this amount is indeed a large sum of money, consider that at the same time people spent 10 billion dollars on hair styling and cosmetics and another 6.5 billion on alcohol alone [Ordway 4].

One thing to keep in mind is that all of the money that is spent on the space program goes directly back into the economy, financing America's high-technology product sector. Although it may cost $10 billion dollars to send a lander to Mars, the $10 billion dollars isn't being shot out into space--It supports science, research, and development of products--many which will become spinoffs of some sort.

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Last Modifed Wednesday, 11-Feb-1998 10:00:10 PST

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