NASA's 2010 Budget: ~0.52% National Budget, approx. 17.911 Billion USD
-That's about half a penny of every tax dollar.
Department of Defense's Annual Spending on Airconditioning Uninsulated Tents in Afghanistan and Iraq: About 20 Billion USD
We spend more on cooling uninsulated tents
in the god damned desert
than we do exploring space.
Stay classy, America.http://www.theworld.org/2010/07/28/militar...e-to-the-front/
"The DoD will spend about 20 Billion dollars annually to air condition tents and temporary structures..."http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy201...ts/hist04z1.xlshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_Budget#A...et.2C_1958-2009
Unsurprising. It's hard for people in Congress to see any real benefit to funding space exploration, since it doesn't net any new potential resources like undersea exploitation or a tangible military benefit like our recent adventures in the Middle East.
The space industry has also already taken hold in certain sectors of the US, and aren't easily moved from there, meaning that it can't be used as a vehicle for nationwide job growth outside of its current few strongholds. You can't reasonably move the existing space centers in Texas, Florida, California, and New Mexico, so aside from those Congressional representatives, few others are going to lobby for increased space funding since it just doesn't give any benefit to their districts, whereas military spending ultimately trickles money to corporations across the nation.
Not saying that this current distribution of resources is good, simply that it is unsurprising. Although at the very least, we can at least acknowledge that the money's going toward something, not like the other hundred holes in the USFG's budget.
Besides, why should the GOVERNMENT be funding them? If the government funds them, then they're subject to the whims of whoever's in power. If they were to privatize it and get people to invest into space exploration, they should have a lot more freedom.
It'd be sweet if the private sector could actually get !@#* in orbit, but the House is about to approve a bill that would drastically cut funding for the private sector and instead try to resurrect some of the more bullshitty aspects of Project Constellation.