The final mission of the space program, launched in July 8th 2011, left a significant void in the hearts and minds of anybody who was fascinated by the discoveries of the world beyond our own. But Ph.D astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has begged to differ, claiming that America's encouragement and interest in space exploration has been slowly dying off way before the previous manned spaceflight.
After we went to the moon, it all ended. We stopped dreaming.
His request is simple, and the reasoning is eloquent: re-ignite the aforementioned dream that was space exploration. While NASA has some cool projects to work on in the meantime, none of it quite matches up to the thoughts of pure fascination that come with actual space travel. Tyson explains that this is because of the disastrously underfunded state of the organisation, something we caught wind of during their budget call.
But in all of the Government cuts and awareness of the red tape, the point has been well and truly missed. The reason behind undertakings such as exploring space is to bring forth the dreamers, engineers, thinkers, designers and do-ers who contribute much more to the economy than some mere bank bailout or stimulus package does, and improve the economy. The reduction of all funding to just 4/10 of a penny out of every tax dollar removes any chance of these pioneers of the future coming out of the metaphorical woodwork.
Tyson's video plea has even spawned a Twitter Hashtag, #Penny4NASA, raising awareness for the space agency's underfunding, and the often outspoken astrophysicist. Only one question is left: "how much would you pay for the universe?"