Mid-Michigan Speaks Out on NASA Spending

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This weekend's planned shuttle launch comes as a poll shows Americans are split when it comes to whether we're spending enough -- or too much on the space program.

(A link to the poll appears below.)

We found a similar split in mid-Michigan.

"To continue to learn more, to continue to advance the frontiers of our nation," Donald Knox of Lansing said Saturday.

Knox sees the issue as roughly 48 percent Americans do: We should continue spending as much as we do on NASA. The result is part of a Gallup Poll released this week.

"Science research is critical to the success of our nation," Knox said.

Mary Nisbet represents the other 48 percent.

"The home front is in crisis. Our home front is here on this planet at this moment. That's where we should be spending our time, money and energy," Nisbet said Saturday in downtown East Lansing.

People like Nisbet see other ways we could be spending the money. And the spending is significant.

The NASA budget working its way through Congress would give the space agency roughly $16.5 billion next year.

Compare that to a planned $32.8 billion for the Department of Homeland Security, or $294 million for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Some say NASA's more than $16 billion could better spent on healthcare or education. Others critical of the spending see it as part of a bigger problem.

"Government's spending too much. [It's] just going a little bit overboard and we need to slow down," Kathy Cruz of Lansing said Saturday.

And while some see bloated budgeting, others see a government responsibility.

"Enrichment, knowledge. All those things that go along with a healthy society," Eric Robins, also of Lansing, said Saturday.

Considering NASA's current budget, those things appear to be a national priority, despite a divided American public.

As of Saturday night, the shuttle launch was rescheduled for Sunday at 3:26 p.m. (EDT)


Gallup Poll: "Public Divided Over Money Spent on Space Shuttle"