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*Somewhere out there, we can find a planet to sustain astronomical exploration*

I have seen so many initiatives out there attempting to raise awareness about the desperate need for funding for NASA and various other scientific research programs. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be high on the priority list for the vast majority of Americans, but more importantly, those that represent us in Congress. I even took part in a nation-wide bake sale last year at La Canada High School, just down the road from +NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where we figured we might as well do what we can to show just how imperative our need for space exploration is. Yes. We held a bake sale.

Sound silly? Of course it's silly! It's a bake sale for crying out loud! However, when we look around us and see countless millions being spent on the most trivial things, it becomes too easy to get exasperated and do silly things like sell cupcakes and beg people to care about understanding our universe. 

My question to you is: What has +NASA done that gets you excited about our future? 

One of the many, many, things that excite me is the successor to the +Hubble Space Telescope: James Webb Space Telescope. Where Hubble is the size of a bus, JWST is the size of a tennis court and will be able to show us parts of the Universe we've never been able to see!

#JWST   #NASA   #Astronomy   #Space   #ScienceEveryday   #Penny4NASA   #Science   #Exploration  
Sagnik Sarkar's profile photoScott Lewis's profile photoDaniel Carosone's profile photo
The Onion is just doing so well lately at being more real than the news it supposedly parodies.
NASA is seriously in need of funding, and many American astronomers themselves now trust China to send the next manned mission to the Moon!
+Sagnik Sarkar Right now, American Astronauts go up with the Russian Federal Space Agency: Roscosmos. I think it's a really good thing that the different nations are looking at finding ways of supporting one another in doing space science. 

I don't know if it's a matter of "trusting" China with a manned mission to the moon, it's with getting our citizenship behind NASA and having them convince our congresspeople to increase the budget for more space missions. :)
As a more serious, and direct, answer to your question.. I'm keenly following New Horizons and JWST.  And, well, the sky crane is hard to beat for excitement value.

I'm also very happy to see nasa's critical role in shifting to using commercial launch capabilities from SpaceX and others. While those companies get and deserve the limelight, they wouldn't be where they are without the contracts and frameworks nasa has put in place to 'launch' them; full credit there.

I'm also very happy to see a much more active and direct outreach approach, with many prominent scientists, mission planners, and astronauts live-tweeting their activities, pics from ISS, and more.

On the cynical side, I can't help wondering how much of the funding struggle for congress stems from the cancellation of shuttle. A large construction and spending program like that is dispersed across facilities in many electorates, and individual representatives see some direct personal benefit in the funds flowing. Science returns are less geographical and less obviously useful for getting themselves re-elected next term.