Copyright © 2005 by David M Livingston. Published by the Mars Society with permission
Dr. David M. Livingston
The Space Show¨
P.O. Box 95
Tiburon, California 94920
Many people in the United States and around the world regard spending public money (tax dollars) on space programs and exploration as not only a waste, but also inappropriate. Their argument is that the publicŐs money must be spent on solving problems right here on Earth, from ridding our planet of poverty and disease to establishing world peace and prosperity for all. When space advocates, industry and other space-aware people respond to those making these arguments, seldom is an opinion or perception changed, and rarely does the person holding the anti-space view moderate or abandon his or her point of view.
Those of us committed to quality space development by the public-sector need a new and better way to talk to the general public about the importance, value, necessity, and even the urgency of pursuing public space development and exploration programs. For example, we often talk about the benefits of spin-offs and products developed from the space program that benefit the public, but these arguments are not persuasive. To find a better way to respond to people making the no spending argument, this author has investigated what actually happens to the money invested in a public space program as it makes its way through the American economic system to determine if it is a good investment for the nation. As a result of this investigation, this paper will show how money invested in a quality public space program benefits the economy, the nation, and our society. The Apollo program is the model space program used for this analysis. By comparing and contrasting the economic investment in Apollo to other successful government investment programs and projects, one will understand why it is that investing in space becomes a unique wealth building process, benefiting not just those of us in the United States, but people outside the United States as well.
As a result of the research undertaken for this paper, it is also possible to identify the characteristics of a quality public space program. The conclusions drawn from the analysis of this research will lay to rest the argument that we canŐt afford space due to the pressing problems right here on Earth. Just the opposite will be shown, that we cannot not afford to pass up investing in quality public space programming and development which in turn enables us to be far more effective and successful in handling the problems we have on Earth. And this type of public investment best serves our nationŐs future.