Science

Was life discovered on new planets or More Money to Spend on NASA?

NASA recently made a big announcement. The scientific world is excited…

But what’s really going on?

Let me give you a hint: follow the money.

Everybody knows the Democrats are big spenders who favor big government. There’s always a need for more government spending to “help” some special group of people or businesses. Every vote for a larger government results in an incremental loss of individual liberty for you and me.

Well, the government bureaucrats take another angle, too, when it comes to raking in money from otherwise hard-nosed conservatives: the promise of expanding NASA’s budget.

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Turns out, Democrats aren’t the only big spenders in government.

Everybody loves NASA, Democrats and Republicans alike. It’s a fact that the biggest 2016 Republican Presidential candidates favored protecting or increasing NASA funding (except Rand Paul, of course, who wanted to cut it by 25%).

Technically minded engineers tend to vote more conservatively, but they still favor spending on NASA. That’s because they’ve had poor training in free market economics.

That’s because most attended public schools. Most have never heard of Mises.org.

Anyway, if your goal is to increase government spending, then simply find programs that conservatives and progressives both appreciate. Then sell them. Hard.

NASA is one such program. That’s why puff pieces like this recent one surface from time to time. NASA represents less than 1% of the total federal budget, but every dollar counts — especially when we’re talking about 19 billion of them.

LIFE OUT THERE SOMEWHERE — WE PROMISE!

Here’s the scoop. NASA announced that it discovered seven planets about the same size as Earth. They are orbiting some star about 40 light-years away from earth.

Travelling at the fastest our manned spaceships have ever gone (25,000 mph), we could get there in about 1 million years.

So, what does NASA actually know about these planets?

Not much, it seems. There are seven of them, and we know how big they are. We have estimates for how massive and dense they are. Beyond that, things become real speculative. Just look at this litany of hopes from NASA’s news release:

“Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.”

“…these seven planets could have liquid water…”

“…chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone…”

“The discovery could be a significant piece in the puzzle of finding habitable environments…”

“…all of the TRAPPIST-1 planets are likely to be rocky…”

“…potentially habitable, Earth-size worlds.”

“…liquid water could survive on planets orbiting very close to it…”

“The planets may also be tidally locked to their star…”

“This could mean they have weather patterns totally unlike those on Earth…”

JUSTIFYING THEIR EXISTENCE

What’s the whole point of this speculation? This right here:

“Spitzer, Hubble, and Kepler will help astronomers plan for follow-up studies using NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, launching in 2018.”

The James Webb Space Telescope is meant to replace the Hubble telescope. Its budget has only ever ballooned since it was first announced. In 2011, NASA estimated the program’s life-cycle cost at $8.7 billion, which was $3.7 billion higher than NASA’s original re-estimate.

It’s original budget in the mid-1990s was $500 million. The telescope was first scheduled to launch in 2007. The final cost is probably going to be over $10 billion. Congress threatened to pull the plug on the whole thing, but decided not to.

This is a boondoggle that keeps on giving — to the engineers and government contractors and sub-contractors who are involved in designing and building the telescope for NASA.

So, discoveries like these are followed by “news” announcements meant to provide purpose for programs like the very late and overbudget James Webb Space Telescope.

To keep taxpayer dollars flowing into NASA’s coffers, and also into the bank accounts of the private firms in partnership with NASA, programs like this must be continually justified. One of the favorite justifications used is the search for extraterristrial life: life on Mars, life on another planet, life in another universe — life out there somewhere.

“This discovery gives us a hint that finding a second earth is not a matter of if but when,” is what the Science Mission Director at NASA is quoted as saying.

If planets have atmospheres and compositions favorable to sustaining liquid water, then the thought is that it might also have produced life. Just like what supposedly happened here.

This is a purely faith-based expectation. The reason that establishment scientists are looking for life in the universe is evolutionary: if humans evolved from non-life in roughly 4 billion years, then surely some other form of life evolved elsewhere in the universe on planets in galaxies which are older (or maybe even younger) than ours.

OTHER PEOPLES’ MONEY

Evolutionary faith is justifying NASA’s budget, not science.

For Bible-believing Christians who hold to a different faith — one of original creation out of nothing by the Triune God of Scripture — this should be a slap in the face. Their theological rivals (Darwinists) are confiscating their hard-earned money and using it to fund their own religious pursuits.

Who doesn’t like to fund their special pet projects using other peoples’ money? Especially when it’s the money of your enemies. What’s not to love about that?

As a result of these shenanigans, we continue to allow the government to misallocate our wealth into poor investments. When people point out inventions like Velcro (which is actually a myth that NASA invented it) as proof of the societal benefits that have trickled down to the fellow in the street, they’re doing it to justify the government’s “investment” in NASA.

BROKEN WINDOWS

But what we don’t see, nor will we ever see, are the great benefits and technologies that would have come out of the free market, had those billions of dollars not been taken from the private sector. Instead of losing that money to government bureaucrats, the people that money was taken from would have spent it on other things more important to them.

That free market mentality is what has led to the development of most of the world-changing inventions in history. It wasn’t government regulation that created the car. It was private citizens and inventors and investors, coming together in hopes of serving the consumers well enough that they would reward them with lots of profits.

Government officials don’t appreciate the fact that you have a perfectly reliable window that works just fine in your house. They only get excited when someone breaks it with a rock, which then forces you to spend your savings to replace it.

The government bean counters don’t appreciate that you had been saving that money for months to buy new clothes. Or to make a down payment on a new rental property that will give some family a dry roof over their head that they couldn’t otherwise afford.

And which you can also leave behind as an inheritance for your children.

Most people aren’t trained to see what’s not visibly set before their eyes. Not in public school, anyway. And especially when talking about economics.

So, NASA continues to shake the can every few months or so to remind us that they’re still here. They keep doing it because it works.

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