Financing the Frontier


By Shea Garner

Ever since the Apollo program in the early 1960s, NASA’s budget has experienced a steady decline. As of 2012, the space program is estimated to have received only 0.48% of the federal budget after the Obama administration issued massive financial cuts. Despite a rover on Mars and an international space station in the sky, NASA is expecting more of these cuts in 2013.

All the financial mumbo-jumbo can definitely dull anyone’s capacity to give a shit about it, but considering a meteor hit Russia in February with the impact of over 20 atomic bombs and injured over 1,200 people, there’s reason to be concerned. And unless we want to continue to be bombarded by space rocks without warning for the next ten years, I suggest an alternative space exploration plan.

The need for a federalized space administration is very important, but with the economy in the toilet it seems less plausible. Those with money and significant interest should be financing the space race. Take Red Bull (of all companies) as the shining example of this. The company whose ads feature a pencil-drawn fairy distributing energy drinks to poor caffeine-deprived souls actually sent a man into space via their privately funded Stratos project and broke two Guinness world records while they were at it (highest and fastest freefall).

Now it looks like a privately planned mission to Mars is also a possibility. By January 2018, the Inspiration Mars Foundation hopes to launch two peeps to Mars and back in 501 days. Shit, the people are getting more done without NASA than the feds could do in fifty years! Soon enough Lockheed Martin might be able to launch an entire assault arsenal into space to defend us from an alien invasion or the inevitable “Armageddon situation.” Bruce Willis, we’re looking at you.

What do you think about NASA’s budget cuts? Are privately funded space missions a step in the right direction? Let us know in the comments section below or by tweeting @jerkmagazine.