According to reports, NASA’s budget for 2018 is $19.1 billion—a drop from current funding levels that has space enthusiasts concerned. Currently, the bulk of this money is coming from federal revenue from income, corporate, and other taxes. But the Trump administration intends to change that—focusing instead on public-private partnerships.
To achieve their goals, NASA will collaborate with commercial aerospace companies to create new space exploration technologies. Right now, we have our sights set on more energy-efficient aircrafts, robotic satellite servicing, and solar electric propulsion systems.
NASA also has plans to spend $3.7 billion to further develop the Space Launch System, which could carry astronauts to the moon, Mars, and deep space. Ultimately, this will enable us to transport our own crews to the International Space Station, rather than relying on Russia. Another $1.9 billion will go toward the 2020 Mars rover mission.
Considering that it costs $3.3 billion just to maintain NASA facilities and equipment, is it really a worthwhile investment? According to a report by the Space Foundation, activities related to space actually contributed $180 billion to the economy in 2005. More than 60 percent of that came from commercial goods and services created by companies.
Because the space economy also counts aerospace budgets in private companies, each dollar NASA is spending is actually a catalyst for $10 of economic benefit. And NASA is in a unique position to drive that space economy with technological innovation.
For all of those benefits and more, NASA received just .4 percent of the annual $4.001 trillion 2018 federal budget. In contrast, the Department of Defense gets $574 billion—enough to sustain 30 NASA departments.
NASA is one of the most transparent government programs, and you can examine the NASA budget in detail. In fact, almost every NASA program has a public outreach program designed to let the American people known exactly where their tax dollars are going.
Source: Forbes.com, thebalance.com