It is about inspiring people; it is about providing a peaceful and positive demonstration to nations around the world of American technological preeminence; it is about developing cutting edge technologies for human space missions that benefit our citizens and create new jobs.
It also motivates young people to pursue careers in science and engineering and advances knowledge generally.
The list of the fruits of investments in NASA that have become embedded in daily life is practically endless, whether they be as broad in scope as global satellite communications or as specific as smoke detectors, cordless power tools, digital mammography, body imaging, specialized formula for infants, and firefighter breathing systems. The Apollo and shuttle programs alone resulted in over 200 commercialized applications.
I know that some say: “The space race is over, we won it more than 40 years ago, and supporters of human space exploration are just captive to nostalgia.”
I disagree. We are in a new, equally demanding “space race” – a race to inspire young people to acquire the science and engineering skills they will need to compete for the jobs of the future; a race to develop the technologies that will not only help Americans explore space but also strengthen our economy and improve quality of life back here on Earth; and a race to maintain our leadership as a space-faring nation in the face of growing competitive challenges by other nations.