General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

Could we completely shut down NASA for a time, and then start back again later?

Asked by Ltryptophan (10780points) August 15th, 2010

Our economy is completely shot to hell. NASA is great and necessary, but I think it might be a good idea for programs like NASA to go on a sabbatical for a decade. What would we lose? What kind of money would we save?

What are the repercussions of freezing NASA for a decade while the country recovers, down here on earth.

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17 Answers

missingbite's avatar

It would cost more to try and get in up and running again. Not to mention, all the jobs that would be lost if you shut it down creating an even worse economy.

jrpowell's avatar

Proposed budget for NASA in 2011 = 19 billion USD

Budget for 2011 (F-35 Joint Strike Fighter $11.4 billion + Ballistic Missile Defense $9.9 billion) = 21.3 billion USD

I can think of other things to cut. looks at military

Calstatic's avatar

Probably the biggest problem with shutting down a program like NASA would be the loss on the scientific frontier and how far we’d get behind on other big countries like China and Russia which would be detrimental to our world standing. Sure, it is a deficit spending organization, but the benefits outdo the costs

Zaku's avatar

Totally agree with John Powell. NASA is like 0.58% of the Federal budget.
Recall troops from middle east. Abolish Gestapo aka Department of Homeland Security which has more than double NASA’s budget. Stop bailing out banks. Keep NASA.
See article here .

VohuManah's avatar

We have a probe en route to Pluto that won’t arrive until 2015. Should we just abandon it and start over in ten years? What about the Mars rovers that are still functioning?

josie's avatar

None of the money spent on NASA is in outer space. It is all here. And it is one of the few government projects that actually creates wealth through technology advancement. Get rid of HUD. Fund NASA.

ragingloli's avatar

Department of Defence:
Annual budget $719 billion.

josie's avatar

@ragingloli Fabulous. Lets get rid of DOD. See what happens.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Shut down NASA for even one year and you would lose trained engineering talent when they move to other jobs. It would take years to get back to where we were.
What happens if you take a car of the road for a year? You just can’t restart it later. The fuel injectors are gunked up and stuck, the brake lines rotted,. the brake pad seized up and there are mouse nests in the engine compartment. Similar would happen with a NASA shut down.

wundayatta's avatar

We could shut it down, but we wouldn’t be able to start it up again later. All the talent would be gone. Maybe a lot to the private sector.

The US is trying to privatize space, anyway. So maybe there would be support for such a thing. If the private sector could do what the public sector has been doing, why bother?

Pretty big if.

whatthefluther's avatar

I don’t think we should shutdown NASA (for the reasons already expressed) or look solely to the military for cuts. Instead, have all agencies and everyone funded by the federal budget, including the salaries of Congressmen and Senators, adjust to a say 5% cut and let them establish new strategies and priorities to deal with it. And if the President feels someone can deal with a bigger cut, go foir it. And don’t let your elected representatives fund pet projects designed to obtain votes with disregard to the impact on the budget. The times of trying to please everybody should have ended long ago. See ya…..Gary/wtf

Mariah's avatar

The economy is never going to be as good as we want it to be, and space travel will never be a priority. If we shut down NASA, it’s not coming back. No one will ever find a good enough reason to reinstate it. And that would be a tragedy.

jrpowell's avatar

@josie :: What do you think would happen if we got rid of the DOD?

Between the reserves and active military personnel there are a little under 3 million people in the armed services. Keep half a million and continue with research and we will be fine. My dad was born after the last war we needed to fight. I’m not sure why 1 percent of the population is employed by the military when they could be making, teaching, healing.

World War II proved that when we need to fight we can find the warm bodies and manufacture the goods needed to support the troops. We have 50K people sitting in Germany. All of the can’t be there to fix the fodder from Iraq and Afghanistan.

If people actually cared about the deficit you would have been bitching long before Obama tried to help Americans with affordable healthcare.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@johnpowell If we were to get rid of the DOD and then we were attacked, a draft could be needed to get enough people to defend ourselves. Also, people would not be trained as well because they would be thrown right into a war situation. Many people are against having a draft reinstated. With the number of soldiers in the Army right now, the soldiers that are in needed jobs have to deploy for a year or more at a time and only get a year off in between deployments (they are trying to change this). Yes, it is their job and they agreed to do it. Good luck convincing others to do that against their will with a draft though.

As far as NASA is concerned, I agree with everyone else that if we shut it down, it would be very costly to get it started back up (if we could do it at all). I could see other countries trying to get in touch with our scientist to offer them positions when they hear that NASA shut down.

ETpro's avatar

The problem with trying to nickle and dime our way to fiscal responsibility is we will never get there that way. That is because, with our current tax structure, you could shut down the entire US government outside Defense and Entitlements such as social security, and we would still be going in debt. Realistically, we cannot function as a developed nation if we shut down the entire discretionary side of our government.

We either have to go back to a revenue structure that actually works, or we have to eliminate Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and aid to families with children. Even completely eliminating our military wouldn’t, by itself, balance the budget.

If we chose to keep tax cuts for the rich and let the elderly, retirees and the poor fend for themselves, so be it. We can balance the budget that way. But I think we will destroy what remains of America as a land of opportunity. At least for any outside a tiny handful that are the ruling elite.

I really think that once we are out of the recession, we have to raise top tax rates. I think so even though that probably means I have to pay more.

joesteinbock's avatar

It would be difficult or impossible to re-start…..very true. So, what about major cutbacks and downsizing? As well, I’m quite tired of people saying, “job loss equals bad””. Please stop and think for a moment. For the sake of making a point, lets pretend that crime magically stopped: millions of people would lose their jobs (corrections, police, counselors, etc)...would this ultimately be good or bad for humanity? This would be GOOD! As well, what really and truly advances technological development is…...........................technological development…..not space exploration. It’s not as if tech. advancements would completely stop if we stopped exploring space for a while. If most of the highly-paid scientists at NASA are not needed, then having them go to other countries would be a good thing. It’s like our house is on fire and instead of finding a fire extinguisher, calling the fire dept, or getting out of the house, you guys are online researching retirement homes. NASA, and many other dept.s should absolutely be dramatically temporarily downsized!!!! There has been a lot of knee-jerk rhetoric by many posters on this topic.

Mariah's avatar

@joesteinbock Welcome to Fluther.

I’m gonna have to disagree with you on a few points. Spending on NASA constitutes .58% of the federal budget, so it’s not as though it’s eating up enormous amounts of money. Also, anyone who claims that space exploration never resulted in anything useful must not own a cell phone or a GPS or watch weather reports.

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