Space, the final frontier.
Except, we don’t have cool spaceships because the US government has a bit of a thing for aircraft carriers, F35’s, and ships bristling with guns.
The United States spends roughly 600 billion dollars per year on the military.
Which is about 54% of the annual discretionary budget.
By comparison, NASA only gets 18.5 billion dollars per year, or less than 0.5% of the national budget.
Now, we are not going to get tied up in debating whether or not the US needs such a massive military.
But, here are some quick facts in case you’re interested.
The next biggest spender is China, at a 190 billion dollars per year.
China has 500 of their type-99 tanks, which are outclassed by the M1 abrams.
Of which, the US has 8700.
The US has 10 aircraft carriers.
The rest of the world combined has 10 smaller ones.
There are 8,400 attack helicopters around the world.
Of these, the united states owns 6,400.
And those are just the vehicles.
One single tomahawk missile costs around 1.5 million dollars.
Then you have paychecks, fuel, ammunition, and all the rest.
All those expenses add up to that whopping figure of 600 Billion dollars per year!
The general public’s interest in space exploration has gradually dwindled since the space race.
And now that there are no pesky communists trying to steal the moon from it’s rightful owners…
We haven’t felt the need to spend significant resources on new missions!
But what if, by some strange events, NASA ended up with the military’s budget?
What could they do with it?
For a little perspective…
The entire cost of the Apollo Program was $136 billion in 2007 dollars.
$136 billion over 13 years, Or just over $10billion dollars per year.
Picture a clock representing $600 billion dollars.
One minute on that clock is $10 billion dollars.
One of the greatest scientific achievements in history fits into that tiny sliver of the US military budget.
We won’t fuss about the little things like bureaucracy and research and development timelines in this video, we’ll just think about the cool stuff.
First, NASA loves telescopes, probes and satellites.
With a massive budget, the 10 or 20 years it would’ve taken to launch all of their projects could be cut down to just one or two years.
We would see telescopes that’ll make Hubble seem like a Happy Meal toy.
Infrastructure upgrades could be implemented to allow faster transmission of data from new missions.
With all those resources in orbit, there would be new discoveries much more frequently, both on earth and in the cosmos.
That could rekindle the public’s thirst for exploration.
Possibly the smartest decision NASA could make would be to fund some smaller privately owned space exploration groups, like SpaceX.
Which has an excellent track record of pushing the envelope.
They could fund new space stations, reuseable space planes, asteroid mining operation and lunar bases Pushing further out into science fiction territory, once a lunar base is established, electromagnetic launchers on the moon could put large ships or space stations in lunar orbit, or a trajectory to Mars and beyond.
That would definitely be the fastest way to colonize Mars, having a sort of halfway house on the moon to stage future missions.
The International Space Station costed about $100 billion spread out over a decade, so think of the enormous, highly advanced stations that could be built with six times that amount per year!
The kind of money and a massive base of operations in orbit could support a core of thousands of active astronauts, With a few hundred at a time exploring the solar system in different simultaneous missions.
Serious planning could begin for manned mission into the Jovian System, Though, it might take several decades to become feasible, even with the massive budget.
Then there’s this beast with NASA had been putting off for years.
A Rotating Wheel Space Station.
This design has been a staple in science fiction and popular speculation since the early 20th century.
The rotation would provide artificial gravity, something prevalent in films like 2001 Space odyssey but not yet achieved in reality.
A giant rotating wheel space station would could be a mobile base of operations near any planet we wanted to colonize and can be used as a safety net if something went wrong and the colony had to be temporarily evacuated.
Or, if multiple stations were built, They could be place strategically around the solar system as rest stops for journeys into deep space.
Speaking of colonizing planets, with a 600 billion dollar annual budget it would be feasible to colonize Mars in as little as 10 years.
If the entire budget were spent on transporting people and supplies to Mars on shared rockets, in 10 years we can potentially see a populations of 40,000 people.
If NASA wanted to test the waters before sending a large population, they could spend the entire budget to send about 14 people per year, in their own individual rockets and provide each person with over an acre of Martian terrain to call their own.
Then there the intriguing celestial bodies, currently out of reach to mankind.
We could send robotic explorers to them all.
Aircraft to Venus and Titan.
Submarines to Europa.
Imagine what discoveries could be made in the vast ocean beneath Europa’s icy surface.
We could be just a few years away from uncovering extra-terrestrial life, if only NASA had the military’s pocket book.
Of course, these are all hypothetical’s, but with that kind of funding to play with, it’s obvious that the scientific world would be absolutely inundated with mountains of new data and off world colonies could become a reality, easily within our lifetime and maybe even interstellar travel.
Who knows, maybe some Russian hackers will decide that it’s time for another space race and switch around some zeros in the national budget.