This week, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration observes the 50th anniversary of its creation. And make no mistake: There’s a lot to celebrate. NASA’s achievements write a glorious chapter in human history, one that’s nearly impossible to overstate. Is it fair to call NASA the greatest scientific and exploratory agency ever created? It is.
It cost the United States about $40 billion to get to the moon. Even at twice the cost, that’s chump change. The human race has been repaid many times over for that investment, as it has for many other NASA projects. So much of what we take for granted today is either directly or indirectly a byproduct of what used to be called space-age technology. Medicine, the military, communications, miniaturization, computerization — all have benefited because of NASA’s work.