Into the wild, starry yonder
By Gordon Rupert
There has been a lot of talk about the newly proposed Space Force in the last few months.
Most of it is against the idea of the new military branch, with worries that come with militarizing space, and the conflict of NASA already running peaceful, scientific missions.
However, few talk about the reasons why this is a good idea, and how it will push us to really recognize space as the final frontier.
NASA has pushed for its whole existence toward the peaceful exploration of space for the sake of science. According to the Office of Management and Budget, the annual budget of NASA in FY2017 was $19.5 billion, which is about 0.47 percent of the total US federal budget for the year.
This number has remained under 1 percent of the annual budget for the past 20 years, while the budget for defense spending continued to rise to $590 billion in FY2017, or about 15 percent of the annual budget. In fact, $12.5 billion alone was dedicated to advance military science and research, or 0.31 percent of the annual budget.
Anyone can see the massive disparity here.
A Space Force would be able to take advantage of those hundreds of billions of dollars, as well as the already existing resources, relations, and people in the military, and point it all at learning about how to use space to our advantage.
Beyond the money involved, there is massive public support for the military in the United States. It exists everywhere. People from all over the country know someone who was in the military – however, NASA, unfortunately along with other scientific endeavors, often has a sort of ivory tower elitism, alienating a large group of people, and causing them to question a supposedly “useless” organization.
Starting a Space Force will cause a rebirth of wonder when we look up. The average American will suddenly have a renewed and vested interest in what happens beyond Earth. Further, there won’t be a requirement to have a college degree to be a part of something that wants to And what’s out there.
The option to work with the best, pushing people to Mars and beyond, will potentially become an option for millions of people. They will be trained in operations directly involved with maintaining and improving the capabilities of spacecrafts, much like the Air Force does already to specialized runways and planes.
This massive investment in space will open new commercial avenues for companies such as SpaceX, and give veterans the training and skills necessary to get involved with or even build these kinds of companies that want to push the boundaries of what we look at next.
The creation of the Space Force is just the newest option for what to do next, like getting our ass to Mars. It will not only be built on the traditions and history of NASA, but also on those of the Army and Air Force.
The Space Force will learn from, and take us to, the best of both worlds.