Is there too much funding in space exploration?

Technological advances have helped us to explore space further than we ever had in human history, but is there too much funding space exploration? According to BBC Future, the farthest region we have been able to observe of the universe is 435 sextillion km away from the edge of our solar system. While this may not cover the entire universe, it still covers a fairly massive chunk of it. Since the Soviets launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, into space 57 years ago, we have made revolutionary discoveries about space and what it holds. We have been able to uncover planets similar to ours and galaxies light-years away. While more funding for space exploration brings hope for new discoveries, the amount of funding currently allotted for space exploration should be enough until new technological advances breakthrough.

According to Euroconsult, in 2017, the global government investment for space exploration was a total of $14.6 billion. This was six percent over the amount of 2016, and it is expected to surpass $20 billion by 2027. With this money, we have been able to launch 19 planetary exploration missions. NASA is budgeting $19.5 million for 2019, with an additional $400 million from supplemental funds for space station operations, deep-space explorations and small satellite groups. The Trump administration is also planning to continue increasing funds by encouraging public-private partnerships. The administration’s goal is to “return humans to the moon” and according to Kimberly Amadeo—  in her article NASA Budget, Current Funding, History, and Economic Impact— this acts as the “base for human missions to Mars and deep space.”

While these small steps for man may be giant leaps for mankind, we do not yet have the technological advances to get there. The current annual budget NASA has for 2018 is $20.736 million. This is a good amount of funding for what we can achieve with space exploration for now. While the funding should not be decreased, it should not necessarily be increased either. Unless a new scientific breakthrough presents us with something that can further our space expeditions.

Right now, we can only explore as much as the technology we have allows us to. Therefore, before we entertain the idea of adding more funding, we should think about what this money would be going to and how it can provide us with new findings about the universe. Perhaps one day we will have all the technology and knowledge to uncover everything the universe has to offer.

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