Elon Musk is the name associated with innovation, and seemed like the only person with the means and wherewithal to get humans to Mars. His ambitious vision would place large numbers of humans on the Red Planet at a time where NASA and other space agencies seemed uninterested, underfunded, or unable. Now that has all changed, as NASA has recently outlined their plan to get humans to Mars. They plan on doing it by 2033.
What Lit the Fire in These Rockets?
I am a total space geek and this news has excited me to my core. I found it surprising that President Trump’s administration was the one to have issued a Kennedy Moonshot style mandate to the National Aeronautics and Space Agency, but welcomed the news. Frankly, I was confused by the businessman-turned-president’s plan because it appeared to allocate more tax money to sciences when his main agenda appeared to be keeping fossil fuel jobs and lower taxes. Lowering taxes would work against the $19.51 Billion dollar in some way, I would think, and NASA has conducted damning research which puts human made emissions at the center of global climate change. President Trump has called climate change a hoax in the past. So what is going on here? Why would so much money be allocated to an agency which may be so counterproductive to the administration’s agenda?
The truth is that NASA’s overall budget has not really changed, but rather certain allocations have been increased and decreased. This is fairly typical of government budgets, as inflating and deflating various aspects of tax money that is already spent can better reflect administration agendas and politicians can point to these “achievements” as changes that they have championed. Looking at the ebb and flow of the NASA budget reveals that climate change research allocation has been drastically reduced.
Like this Forever?
Even with the knowledge that any more money put toward getting the technology and methods to land humans on Mars -without securing additional revenue from Congress- will likely put the only place in the known universe that we can live in greater peril, I am still very excited about the Mars mission and plan on following it closely.
This does not distract from the gravity -pardon the space pun- of the situation. The United States is a leading figure in the world of planetary and Earth science research. Our wealth of brilliant minds collaborate with others around the world, even a smaller presence will likely feel as if we are somewhat absent.
What I need to remind myself of when I get concerned over how budgets may be working against Earth Sciences -and I encourage all of you other warriors as well to consider this-, budgets literally change every year and administrations change fairly often as well. Even if President Trump secures a second term, he will be out of office seven years before this mission takes place. Also other governments have NASA counterparts which can maintain their Earth Science research -and the US’s won’t completely disappear either- regardless of how the US budget affects NASA. This may even open the door for more citizen science, business science, and academic endeavors. Call me an optimist, maybe I’m just too excited for our Marshot.
Sometimes the waiting game to hear back from potential employers is the most stressful version of boredom that exists. It lingers and persists in the back of my mind as I research, apply, and write. I’m always on a quest to escape boredom, but without a job I’m unable to fully pursue some of my most desired goals (such as travel, moving to a new city, and working on various projects) because they may be cut short by employment. Another added stress is that now I have no health insurance because I’m 26 and have no job. I’m waiting to hear back from medicaid and/or a job that will offer me health care (or the money with which to purchase healthcare on the open market). So I’ve somewhat held myself up in my home. Who knew walking down a flight of stairs could be so terrifying? Of course, even when I do have health coverage my master plan is that if I have any medical expenses that are more expensive than my deductible, I’ll just fly to the EU and utilize my dual citizenship to get medical attention there.
I’ve been known to do a word of the day in the past, but today I wanted to do a quote. This, oddly enough, is from a video game “Fallout: New Vegas.” The quote is said by a doctor found in the NCR’s headquarters outside of the New Vegas Strip. “Too many people have opinions on things they know nothing about. And the more ignorant they are, the more opinions they have.” This resonates with me, particularly as of late with all of the fake news and opinions on political things. Suddenly everyone’s an expert on the electoral college, healthcare, or foreign policy. And here I am just trying to write a blog. Ha.
I realize I’m cutting it a little close today with writing and posting this blog entry. Honestly, I spent most of the day walking around or taking a nap. I have no regrets. Luckily I was able to donate my bike today to Oxfam (a charity). I sadly can’t take my bike back to Chicago with me, but this one has served me nicely. I tried to sell it for a while but realized it was easier and more satisfying to donate it to a good cause. I’ll post a picture of the bike in question to this blog, it will be my first picture posted! How fun!
I’ll also spend the next couple of days going through my clothing and books, finding which to donate and which to throw away. I always like going through my old things and minimizing my possessions. I’m rather amazed by the sheer amount of junk that I’d end up keeping for any period of time. Though there are other things that I later am sad I chose to give away. Such is life.
Upon my arrival back in the United States, while I apply for PhDs, jobs, and begin investing, I also plan on building another gaming computer. The one I have is woefully outdated and it has been way too long since I’ve properly played a video game. I’m probably most excited for playing Fallout 4 and the remastered Bioshock collections. I’ll post screenshots of those when I do finally play them. It’s also likely I’ll make a small guide on building computers and I’ll show off the rig that I make.