“This Administration has never really faced up to where we are going in space… As a result, NASA is both drifting and lobbying for bigger things — without being able to focus realistically on what it should be doing.”
–White House staff assistant Clay Thomas Whitehead, February 1971
What should we be doing with respect to our space program? At its peak — the mid-1960s — the US government spent somewhere around 20% of its non-military discretionary spending on NASA and space science/exploration. Today?
That number is down to 3%, the lowest it’s ever been. As far as our priorities as a nation go, is this right?
In an enraging talk at the annual American Astronomical Society meeting, John M. Logsdon argued that we should be happy, as a community, that we still get as much funding as we do, despite all the we could (and won’t) accomplish if our funding would increase.
Needless to say, I think we need to rethink this defeatist point of view. What’s your opinion?