No, this is not an article about the new Total Recall movie.
The next generation of NASA rovers will be landing on Mars this Sunday. I have always been a supporter of NASA. One of the reasons I have supported NASA is that it is the only government program that has consistently made more money than had been invested into it. This was accomplished through the licensing of technology developed over the years by NASA scientists. As a consequence of this success it has been perpetually underfunded and the money and ideas derived from NASA projects have been wasted in other areas rather than invested back into the program. Of course the current administration has cut back NASA more than any previous administration and so today America can not even lift an Astronaut into space for the first time in 50 years.
Luckily this rover project was funded and the money spent before the current presidential officeholder came into power or it too would have been mothballed in favor of the new NASA mission…Muslim outreach.
In honor of NASA and their success please take a minute to consider life in this country without the pittance that has been spent on the space program. Here are five everyday items that we owe to NASA.
1. The computer you are reading this on is a direct result of technology developed for the Apollo program.
2. Modern Home insulation. How much money in heating and cooling has NASA saved you over the years? I bet it is more money than you paid in taxes that went to fund NASA.
3. GPS – did you use yours today?
4. Satellite communication- Almost every communication device we use goes through a satellite network. Without NASA the technology to launch and maintain those satellites would never have been developed.
5. Fly by Wire systems- When you see commercial airliners fly over head the intricate flight paths and flight systems are direct descendants of the same systems used in the Apollo program. Think about that the next time you fly.
NASA is one of the few programs where I feel my tax money is used wisely.
If you want to read a more technical report of technology that has been developed as a result of just the Space Shuttle program please read this article. http://spinoff.nasa.gov/pdf/AIAA-2010-8885-305.pdf