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Common arguments and rationales for space exploration

The following list highlights important essays and opinion pieces arguing for planetary exploration.

Don't Gut NASA Space Missions (Janet Vertesi, Princeton)

"The budget cuts will affect America's most experienced and most promising engineers and researchers. They may have to join the legions of the unemployed. Do we really want to put someone like Bobak Ferdowksi, NASA's famous "Mohawk Guy," out of a job?"

The Path to Second Term Success Goes Through Space (Jim Bell, President of the Planetary Society)

"NASA provides inspiration that inevitably leads to innovation. By showcasing Mr. Ferdowsi, who represents the unrivalled potential of NASA's engineering, science, educational, and motivational contributions to the nation, the administration highlighted the space program as a powerful tool in enabling its domestic agenda. With stable funding and solid Congressional support, NASA's success can be America's success."

Why Explore Space? (Bill Dunford, Riding With Robots)

"Ask many Americans what percentage of the federal budget is taken up by NASA, and they’ll answer with something in the double digits. The actual amount? Less than one percent."

Curiosity Comes Cheap (Casey Dreier, The Planetary Society)

"If you you just divide the total cost of the Curiosity Rover by the number of years NASA has saved for it, you come out with about $312 million per year. This works about to approximately 1.8% of NASA’s yearly budget and approximately diddly-squat of the total federal budget. That’s about $1 per year for every American, aka, nothing. Think of it this way: say you lose one dime every month this year. Whoops! You’ve lost more money than you spent on Curiosity."

A Turning Point for Mars (Jim Bell, President, The Planetary Society)

"And this is precisely why we are at a critical inflection point. Despite the incredible scientific discoveries and enormous public excitement and good will towards NASA that have come from the recent Mars Exploration Program, despite the fact that we are now able to search for and potentially detect the presence of biologic organic molecules (or their remains) in the Martian environment today, and despite the fact that NASA has assembled an incredibly competent and motivated nationwide cadre of thousands of skilled engineers, managers and scientists who know how to land and operate complex robots on and above Mars unlike anyone else in the world -- despite all that -- funding for future Mars missions, including the next step of sample return, is being dramatically cut."

NASA's Planetary Science Program Endangered by Budget Cuts (Scientific American)

"A mere fraction of a cent from every tax dollar seems a small price to pay for the extension of humanity's robotic reach to distant worlds—one of our greatest accomplishments as a nation, not to mention as a technological species."

Bill Nye and people
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