The Importance of the NASA Space Program and Its Need For More Funding

The Importance of the NASA Space Program

I am quite certain that everyone reading this article has heard about the space agency called NASA. I am not here to tell you about NASA but about their easily displaced value and why they need more funding. However, for the sake of those who may not really know what the NASA Space Program is, here’s a brief: NASA is an acronym that stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. It was established in 1958 by President Dwight Eisenhower and is responsible for civilian space programs and also aeronautics and aerospace research. Ever since, NASA has made and contributed to groundbreaking discoveries and inventions in major areas of everyday living, most of all – medicine, and global-killer events prevention.

Before we delve into the funding needs and importance of the NASA Space Program, it necessary that we look into how they (NASA) have impacted our lives. Have you ever wondered how space exploration and aeronautic research has affected your life? Honestly, there was a time I didn’t think it had any use; I felt they should be more focused on earth-problems rather than spending all that money building huge telescopes and sending men outside earth just to find out what the Martians had for breakfast. I was ignorant, now I know better.

Importance of NASA in Technological Advancements
Many devices would have been totally useless if it weren’t for hundreds of satellites floating silently in space. Mobile phones, laptops,…hell, the internet itself would be severely limited or downright impossible if satellites weren’t lunched into space.

IMPORTANCE OF NASA space program
Data from satellites enable us to forecast weather conditions

In addition, these space-floating man-made objects are equipped to read weather patterns improving accuracy in weather prediction. Thanks to the NASA Space Program, we now have concrete information on the formation, movement, and magnitude of severe weather phenomena like tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, global warming, blizzards, etc.
To really appreciate the impact of NASA in healthcare, one has to have been a patient or have a loved one who has been a patient of a life-threatening condition with only a few months/days left to live only to be saved by a device invented by NASA at the ‘last minute’. Take for instance the LVAD (Left Ventricular Assist Device) developed by Engineers at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston in 1995. They worked with Dr. Michael DeBakey to create this artificial heart pump based on the space shuttle’s fuel pumps, which help keep patients in a stable condition as they await heart transplants – it even sometimes makes a transplant unnecessary.
Another device which NASA didn’t invent but contributed immensely to is the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). However, the digital image processor that enhances pictures taken by the MRI (and even CT or CAT scans) was invented by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

mri pet cat scan nasa
NASA made many contributions to MRI and CAT scans

I could go on and on describing outstanding inventions by NASA and those whose creation they contributed to but I’d rather just list them below. You may have come across; know someone; even used (or are currently using) one of the following devices enumerated below:

  • Programmable pacemakers
  • Digital imaging breast biopsy system, developed from Hubble Space
  • Telescope technology
  • Forceps with fiber optics that let doctors measure the pressure applied to a baby’s head during delivery
  • Tiny transmitters to monitor the fetus inside the womb
  • Cool suit to lower body temperature in treatment of various conditions
  • Laser angioplasty, using fiber-optic catheters
  • Voice-controlled wheelchairs
  • Light-emitting diodes (LED) for help in brain cancer surgery
  • Foam used to insulate space shuttle external tanks for less expensive,
  • better molds for artificial arms and legs
  • Tools for cataract surgery

So, the next time you happen by or use any of these devices, think NASA.
Above the medical breakthroughs is something else more important that should make NASA one of the top priorities for the US government as far as funding is concerned. And when I say ‘above the medical’, some readers may not be able to think of anything more important than medical inventions, which save lives. But, answer this question, ‘What’s the use of a mind-blowing medical invention if Armageddon comes earlier than scheduled?’

Importance of the NASA Space Program in Global Disaster Prevention
This is the most important role of NASA beyond and above everything else, and the role that is the least appreciated, how ironic. Do you know what would happen to this beautiful blue marble if an asteroid the size of New York City were to collide with it? Well, nothing much…just global wide infernos; earthquakes strong enough to break the Richter’s scale; tsunamis the size of Australia and taller than the balge Khalifa; and enough ash cloud to blot out the sun! Ask the dinosaurs, they know all about very big rocks falling from the heavens, with fire. It is only with adequate funding of NASA that we stand the chance of detecting these global killers on course towards the earth and do something about it before we become Milky Way barbecue.

meteor asteroid
Earth has been hit by asteroids it’s whole life.

This year, NASA’s funding increased by $1.3 billion and was $750 million more than what NASA requested, and that’s commendable. However, it’s bat poo when compared to the funding budget for the military. Not to say the military is unimportant. I definitely like to be rest assured that Bin Laden’s cousins won’t be allowed the liberty to amass enough nukes to chargrill my neighborhood. But looking at the big picture, all the nukes in the world will mean nothing if an asteroid of that size is on course to our planet without early detection.

pie chart
Proposed Discretionary Spending 2015

NASA needs adequate funding to continue creating devices that will save and improve countless lives in medicine and healthcare. And also develop better telescopes and other gizmos that will enable them detect meteors, asteroids, and any other rocky stuff heaven hurls at us early enough to do something about. Rather than spending money on senseless wars and violence, and coming up with better ways to kill ourselves……and Bin Laden’s cousins (not that I don’t appreciate that).

Imagining Life on Kepler452b

Imagining Life on Kepler452b

The universe is a vast space that holds many wonders and mysteries for many different people. Some see them as signs of the future, or your past, while others believe that the universe has life on other worlds. For most people however it’s the fascination that there’s another habitable earthlike planet in which mankind could inhabit, and possibly leave our Earth behind.

Everyone that’s ever watched a sci-fi film or television space series and been captivated by the concept of living on another planet, knows what this fascination is like. Fortunately for them astrologists have found the planet named Kepler452b, which is so similar to our planet that it’s been called Earth’s close cousin.

Kepler-452b lies in a distant galaxy over 1,400 light years away, so there’s no way we’re reaching it anytime in the near future. But that won’t stop astronomers from envisioning just what life would be like on Kepler452b. While there are many similarities that would help sustain life on this far away planet, there are definitely some major differences between Kepler and our world.

For starters Kepler-452 is 60 percent wider than Earth, and according to most estimates probably about five times bigger. This difference in size means that the pull of gravity would be at least 2 times what we experience here on Earth.

Kepler-452 has similarities when it comes to the distance from its sun, meaning the day would be roughly as hot as it would be here. However the star that Kepler-452b orbits is roughly 1.4 billion years older than our sun. This means that the sun is further along in its energetic phase, making it up to 20 percent brighter and warmer than ours.

Kepler452b
Artist’s concept of Kepler 452b

While our plants would successfully be able to photosynthesize and thrive on the new planet, there’s a definite possibility that the sun could dry up the oceans on Kepler452, if the planet has any. While these differences wouldn’t be a deal breaker for human inhabitation, there would be some side effects if mankind were ever to reach this distant planet.

For starters we’d become naturally stronger due to the increase in gravitational pull. According to most scientists however it wouldn’t be more weight than the average fireman must tote around. The distant settlers would undoubtedly become stronger due to increased bone density.

Could the day come when we leave our own planet in search of a new home? When would the advances in space travel occur and would it be in time for us to possibly travel to Kepler-452B? These are just some of the questions that astrologers and astrophysicists are asking themselves.

The earthlike planet known as Kepler-452B may be thousands of light years away, but to many fans of astronomy it’s just confirmation that there’s bound to be possibilities out there. If this planet shares so much in common with ours, then surely there are other earthlike planets out there for us to observe and possibly settle in the future.

Multiple Universes: The Multiverse Explained

Multiple Universes: The Multiverse Explained

In the recent years, there have been many claims of the potential existence of multiple universes. The multiverse is a theory that postulates the existence of multiple universes that are parallel to each other. Each of these universes found within the multiverse. The multiverse can also be referred to as parallel universes. The multiverse theory can be referred to as the many worlds theory or many many-worlds interpretation.

This theory is divided into four types highlighted below:

  • Level 1 Parallel Universe

Space is so big and massive that out there, there are other planets like the earth. An infinite universe will comprise of many planets with events that are similar to those occurring on Earth. The events will be slightly different in different parts of space. If you travel far enough in space, you will encounter another copy of earth, with a copy of you on the computer reading this article now with minor differences. Instead of a red shirt, you would be wearing a blue shirt and you started reading this article a minute earlier. Go far enough and you will find major differences. You would be wearing a rainbow color shirt and read this article an hour earlier. The existence of this type of multiverse depends on the assumption that the universe is an infinite flat plane that extends forever with unlimited possibilities depending how far you go. As a result, every possible configuration of particles occurs multiple times, and everything that can happen is happening at the same time.

multiverse 1

  • Level 2 Parallel Universe

In this type of multiverse different regions of space are undergoing a continuing inflationary phase. Thus, the space that exists between us and the other universes keeps expanding exponentially. The eternal inflation and ekpyrotic theory give reasons that support this type of multiverse. The results obtained from eternal inflation reveal that when inflation starts, an infinite number of universes outside our own are produced in the shape of bubbles and each of these universes are undergoing inflation. Once they burst, more bubbles form. Each of these universes can have different properties. Some may have no light while others may have light but no gravity. Thus some of these bubble universes may have stars, planets, and gravity, while others may contain none of these concepts. Also, the ekpyrotic theory presents a high probability that supports the existence of multiple universes in other locations, and they keep expanding.

multiverse 2
Flat disc-shaped universes stacked up on top of each other.

Level 3 Parallel Universe

This type of multiverse is a consequence of the many worlds interpretation obtained from quantum physics. The interpretation reveals that every single quantum found in the quantum wave function emerges to be a real possibility in reality. The difference between Level 3 multiverse and the other types is that one is in regular contact with it while the other forms cannot be assessed. This difference is evident in every moment of one’s life which causes a split of one’s current self into an infinite number of future selves in many different universes. This multiverse has the least to do with string theory.

bubble universes multiverse
Artist’s depiction of bubble universes floating in a multiverse
  • Level 4 Parallel Universe

This multiverse is the strangest place of all because it follows a different set of mathematical laws of nature than what exists in our universe. As a result, it is not in conformity with the mathematical democracy principle that a universe that is mathematically possible can exist. Thus in this multiverse, there could be universes where mermaids, comic book characters, or any reality that can be conceivably imagined exists.

multiple universes Multiverse theory diagram
Diagram of a multiverse containing multiple universes. Some universes contain galaxies and some don’t. Some of these galaxies contain stars, some less, and some none at all.

How plausible is the multiverse?

Many physicists conclude that in the absence of scientific evidence, the idea of a set of all universes is still a mere metaphysical imagination. Currently one third of physicists support the multiverse theory. But most physicists still believe that the observable universe is the highest brane of existence there is. So could the multiverse theory be true? Certainly, but we should give it some time before making any conclusions. A good book to learn more about parallel universes is Parallel Worlds by best selling author and theoretical physicist Michio Kaku who is also one of the founders of the multiverse theory.