The Instigator
Pro (for)
13 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Resolved: NASAs Space Exploration Program should be kept open.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/5/2012 Category: Science
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,428 times Debate No: 22598
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)




Alright, well this is for 16k's tournament. We'll use the first round for acceptance (unless my opponent wishes to begin first, they must give up their last round in that case).

Please don't argue semantics.


I accept. *Looks up* God help us.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting this debate and shall begin.

Contention 1. Space exploration will allow man to eventually set up human civilization in another world.

As most people know all too well, it was natural catastrophe that caused the demise of our predecessors, the dinosaurs. If man stopped exploring outer space it would be irresponsible. The same natural disaster on earth, killing the dinosaurs, could happen once and again, and over billions of years it is highly probable an event like it will happen again. It simply would be irresponsible to stop exploring space now when space exploration could potentially be the only thing saving the human race.
John M. Logsdon, director of the Space Policy Institute and acting director of the Center for International Science and Technology Policy at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, states "eventually some number of people in the future will establish permanent settlements away from Earth, in the extreme case to ensure that the human species will survive a planetary catastrophe, but also because people migrate for both economic opportunities and new experiences." Mankind needs to take a broader approach to this topic. Scientists know that these two events will eventually happen:

a) Magnetic pole shift

Scientists have concluded Earth's magnetic poles "flip" every 300-400 thousand years (the exact number varies). The the rotation of the earth's magma is directly correlated to the rotation of the earth. With a magnetic pole shift, the earth is now spinning the opposite direction, from east-west into west-east. If a magnetic pole shift happens rapidly, the Earth's crust will change directions rapidly meaning a MASSIVE displacement of the oceans, a wall of water will wipe through all western shorelines with the potential to destroy western civilization. How this happens is simple. When the magnetic poles "flip" the earth's rotation will have to change. "Earth currently rotates west to east which means that the ocean is being naturally pulled, by centrifugal forces, towards every east coastline and away from every west coastline. If Earth's crust were simply to stop rotation, the oceans would immediately inundate every western coastal area and would create new coastlines several hundred miles inland from their current positions. And yes, the tsunami from that event alone would be cataclysmic and of biblical proportions." (2) We do not know when this next shift could begin, but, should mankind not prepare?

b) Volcanoes & Nuclear Winter

It is quite obvious that a magnetic pole shift would cause a huge change in the earth's crust. This would cause volcanoes to become super active, not to mention earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters. All around the world there are supervolcanoes, the largest of which resides under the federal park Yellowstone. An eruption would devastate over two thirds of the United States and the resulting "nuclear winter" could cool the earth up to 20 degrees. This is just Yellowstone alone. There are in fact six known supervolcanoes all around the world in Yellowstone, Long Valley, New Mexico, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Japan. "According to some volcanologists, Yellowstone volcano, located in the central US, may be on the verge of a large scale eruption. Some researches even suggest that it's past due for such an eruption. The changes around Yellowstone don't seem to get much media coverage for obvious reasons, but the effects are getting more extreme every year with the water tables becoming highly acidic, deforestation, and increased tremors. The caldera of Yellowstone lies under a lake, and it's rising. It also happens to rest on a bed of Uranium, so when it does erupt, the result will be very radioactive." (2) It would be irresponsible to not prepare for such events.

Contention 2. Space exploration can help improve economies

a) Let's take the United States for instance, in 2009, NASA's budget was 17.78 billion dollars (1), this represents a minute portion of the United State's GDP which is in the trillions. G. Scott Hubbard, a professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University, estimates for every 1 dollar spent on the space program, the United States government makes 8 dollars. An 800% profit. You may ask ?how does that work?" Here is the simple answer: royalties on NASA patents and licenses made directly from the space program go into the US Treasury, not NASA's budget. Joan Vernikos, a member of the Space Studies Board of the National Academy and former director of NASA's Life Sciences Division, believes if NASA was allowed the returns on their own patents, NASA would be self-sustaining. NASAs budget is not large enough to even require it to be cut. "Studying humans living in the microgravity of space has expanded our understanding of osteoporosis and balance disorders, and has led to new treatments. Wealth-generating medical devices and instrumentation such as digital mammography and outpatient breast biopsy procedures and the application of telemedicine to emergency care are but a few of the social and economic benefits of manned exploration that we take for granted." Joan Vernikos knows what she is talking about. When you look at all the good space exploration has done and weigh it against the bad, the good outweighs the bad. The world would NOT be as technologically advanced without space exploration.
Keith Cowing, founder and editor of and a former NASA space biologist, states "tax dollars spent on space projects result in jobs — a large proportion of which are high paying, high tech positions." NASA creates jobs within the United States. "If we Americans do not think so, then why is it that nations such as China and India — nations with far greater social welfare issues to address with their limited budgets — are speeding up their space exploration programs? What is it about human space exploration that they see?" Countries with far worse societal problems than the United States are speeding up their space exploration program. The question is why should the United States end this program when there are obvious benefits? Just look at NASA's patents and invention stemming directly from the Space Exploration Program, many of these inventions revolutionized technology (in the case of the microchip) and without NASA, a company such as Microsoft would never even have existed.

Here are 15 of NASAs inventions used today (3) (there are over 6,300):

1)CAT scanner
2)Computer microchip (important for starting up companies such as Microsoft)
3)Cordless tools
4)Ear Thermometer
5)Freeze-dried food
7)Invisible Braces
9)Memory Phone
10)Satellite TV
11)Scratch Resistant Lenses
12)Shoe Insoles
13)Smoke Detector
14)Swim Suit
15)Water Filter

b) NASA creates jobs. If you take a state such as Florida, you see that ""The end of the shuttle program will potentially eliminate as many as 7,000 – 8,000 jobs"… "According to a state study, in the 2008 fiscal year NASA generated $4.1 billion dollars in revenue and benefits for the state. $2.1 billion of that was in household income, and over 40,000 jobs were created due to NASA-related activities." (4) In 2006, NASA created 25,000 jobs and added 2.8 billion dollars to the national economy (5). Ending the Space Exploration Program HURTS the economy. Directly, NASA put billions of dollars into the economy and created thousands of jobs. NASA revolutionized the computer allowing for corporations such as Microsoft to be founded.




NASA is irresponsible, innefficient, and unsafe

_____ NASA kills Astronauts

Ross 11’ ( Brian Ross, staff writer at ABC news) Did NASA Ignore Damage to Columbia?, published 2/4/11, found 11/28/11,

NASA managers handling the doomed Columbia flight were "professionally irresponsible" in dealing with damage reports early in the mission, a member of the presidential commission that investigated the Challenger disaster 17 years ago told ABCNEWS. John Macidull strongly questions why NASA never ordered a telescopic scan of the underside of the damaged Columbia during its 16-day mission, even after engineers became aware insulation foam from the fuel tank had struck the heat tiles. Damage to the tiles is the leading theory as to what caused the shuttle to break up Saturday over Texas, killing all seven astronauts on board.

___NASA doesn’t take neccesary safety precausions

Ross 11’ ( Brian Ross, staff writer at ABC news) Did NASA Ignore Damage to Columbia?, published 2/4/11, found 11/28/11,

"I just find it hard to believe that they didn't thoroughly check with every means available to see how much damage may have been done," said Macidull. NASA engineers at Mission Control concluded the damage posed no threat and that there was no reason to take special precautions. "Through analysis and our ability to call back on our experience with tile, it was judged that that event did not represent a safety concern," said shuttle project manager Ron Dittemore. Macidull said that was "wishful thinking," and that NASA has not changed the way it deals with safety problems.

__NASA goes overbudget

Watson 10’ ( Traci Watson, Leading correspondant for USA today) Major NASA projects over budget, published 8/24/10, found 11/28/11,

Two-thirds of NASA's major new programs are significantly over budget or behind schedule, according to the agency's latest report to Congress.NASA's nearly stagnant budget requires the agency to cut projects to make up for unexpected expenses, and cost overruns nearly shut down one of the rovers on Mars— until it got a reprieve Tuesday. They also threaten completion of a climate-change satellite called Glory. Under a 2005 law, the space agency must tell Congress when a major project under development will exceed its budget by more than 15% or fall more than six months behind schedule. Four of the 12 new major projects are over budget, and eight are behind schedule to the point where lawmakers needed to be notified.NASA's procedures "are not what they need to be," says Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., chairman of the House space subcommittee. "They have to be accountable. These are … very significant amounts of taxpayer dollars."

___ NASA projects get more expensive as they continue

Watson 10’ ( Traci Watson, Leading correspondant for USA today) Major NASA projects over budget, published 8/24/09 found 11/28/11,

Last week, NASA's planetary science director Jim Green ordered a $12 million cut to the Mars rovers, which roam the Martian surface collecting geological data. The reason: a newly discovered $170 million rise in the development cost of a new project, the Mars Science Laboratory. That was in addition to a $66 million cost overrun in the program that NASA reported to Congress in February.Green rescinded the cut on Tuesday after he learned it would mean that one of the rovers would have to be turned off. Now NASA will have to look elsewhere to find $12 million in savings.

Debate Round No. 2


I really hate that text, it's hard to read. But, nevertheless, I thank my opponent for "their" opening arguments and will begin.

Since my opponent has devoted no time to rebuttals, I will focus all my energy on attacks.

Before I begin my attack, I would like to point out, that my opponent is taking the "lazy way out" and providing absolutely no analysis or original argumentation instead cutting and pasting from various newspaper sources. This is nothing more than plagiarism. I implore my opponent to actually take the time and construct an original argument…

1) NASA kills astronauts and NASA does not take necessary precautions.

My opponent is making the argument that NASA should be shut down because of one tragedy several years ago. They make the argument that because one group of engineers. I also would like to point out that their first argument completely negates their second argument as it explicitly says "Through analysis and our ability to call back on our experience with tile, it was judged that that event did not represent a safety concern." They did check. They are experts. They made a mistake. That mistake, sadly, cost lives. My opponent is advocating the shutdown of a program, which does much good for thousands of people, based off of a single error or miscalculation. Furthermore, much of what is said is just conjecture by the person being interviewed, they state several times that they only "believe" this or that to be true, they have provided no evidence supporting their claims. Even a statement in an article still needs to have evidence surrounding it. All I see is conjecture.

2) Over budget and more expensive

How NASA decides to use the minute amount of money given to them by the Federal Government is there problem. I will reiterate, "in 2009, NASA's budget was 17.78 billion dollars." They can use this money however they please. And, for the record, I would like to state that 17.78 billion dollars is not all that much money in terms of the entire federal budget. The entire Budget of NASA combined from its founding is about as much money the Department of Defense received in 2010. Whether or not their estimates were off by a few million dollars does not mean we should shut down the entire program. I also would like to point out, "G. Scott Hubbard, a professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University, estimates for every 1 dollar spent on the space program, the United States government makes 8 dollars." So for this 17.78 billion dollars spend, the United States government will make around, 142.24 billion dollars. Exactly how can my opponent say this is a bad thing? So for all the money NASA spends, it still makes much more than that.

To sum up, my opponent has not even taken the time to construct a case from his sources, has utilized sources which are nothing more than conjecture without much scientific fact or reasoning (the facts that are in the article completely contradict the conjecture), and has dropped every single one of my arguments.


1. The Challanger is a hudge example here on NASA herts.
2. The government is still punishing NASA for there screw ups and besides that the nation's saftey is better then going to Mars. (sorry I could find my doc. but I found it now.)

----NASA doesn’t work efficiently

McMillan 10 (Graeme, McMillan, Journalist, written Aug. 2010,, accessed Nov. 21, 2011, AL)

How badly is NASA being run? According a US Governmentreport, worse than you may think, with more than 50% of programs over-budget and past-deadline... and some of the others having no deadline at all. According to New Scientist, a new report from the Government Accountability Office looked at 18 separate NASA programs, and found that five of those were operating without any deadline whatsoever, and only three of those with deadlines had managed to meet them and stay within budget. Amongst those ruining NASA's reputation, the Mars Science Laboratory is running 25 months behind schedule and 26% over original cost estimates, and the Glory climate satellite is a staggering 53% over budget.

----NASA satellites are ineffective

Borenstein 11 (Seth Borenstein,reporter for NBC, written March 4, 2011,, accessed Nov. 29, 2011, AL)

For the second time in two years, a rocket glitch sent a NASA global warming satellite to the bottom of the sea Friday, a $424 million debacle that couldn't have come at a worse time for the space agency and its efforts to understand climate change.

---NASA overspends

Hecht 09 (Jeff Hecht, contributor to, written March 3, 2009,, accessed Nov. 21, 2011, AL)

Veteran reporters have come to expect big NASA spacecraft to be delivered behind schedule and over budget. Cost and schedule overruns are standard problems in military and civilian aerospace projects, but NASA - at the insistence of Congress - has been trying to clean up its act. How well is NASA doing? So far, not very well, says the Government Accountability Office in a new report covering 18 NASA programs. Each is big - projected to cost more than $250 million - and collectively, the projects are expected to amount to more than $50 billion

Debate Round No. 3


Aside from my opponent, COMPLETELY IGNORING MY ARGUMENTS AND JUST REHASHING HIS OWN, I thank them for their response. I would like to add since my opponent has not addressed any of my arguments they extend all the way to the conclusion because my opponent cannot rebut my arguments and if he attempts to do so, disregard those statements. I also would like to point out the only new argument here is their second contention. Their first and third are just rephrased, rehashed arguments…

Their first two statements:


I already addressed this. Trained professionals looked over the problem and thought it was not a problem.

2.Nations safety is better than mars

Cross apply my first contention. The world's safety is better than the nation's safety. We need to explore other worlds because it is a scientific fact that one day a disaster will occur threatening humanity. I guarantee Yellowstone erupting without an escape plan is much worse than a single flaw in one rocket….a few years ago.

NASA does not work efficiently

The Government does not work efficiently. Do you want to get rid of that to? The Department of Defense does not operate efficiently. Should that also go? I mean this is a ridiculous argument which I already addressed above. NASA receives their money and can do what they want. Furthermore, if you get rid of NASA, you get rid of 35% of all the scientific research and the largest holder of patents in the United States. (1) Furthermore, they looked at 18 projects out of…hundreds (3). Not bad odds.

Ineffective Satellites

This is the sole new contention. My opponent cites two problems…in 441. That's right, the United States currently has 441 satellites in orbit (2). So basically, the chance of failure is .45%. Not bad odds for something so technical. Accidents occur .45% of the time. If you want to shut down a governmental organization for such a low failure rate then the CIA should be the first to go…

NASA overspends

Once again you dropped my analysis that NASA gets a budget to use however it would like. And that for every dollar NASA spends…8 are made. So, in reality, the US government is making money. Furthermore, the math of that article must be a bit off, NASA only has a budget of around 18 billion dollars for the 2012 fiscal year. (4) Furthermore, your own source says "It is worth noting that cost and schedule estimates improve as launch nears, but that's only to be expected. NASA's job is to push the envelope of technical possibility, so some uncertainty is inevitable." NASA is not overspending; they spend exactly what they need to get the job done. Once again I must say that NASA's total budget since its founding amounts to less than the DOD received in 2010. They honestly do not have a big budget and yet do a lot with it.

To conclude, my opponent has dropped my entire case, thus, I should win based upon that alone. They also, have rehashed their arguments over and over even after I refuted their points. My opponent has not created any original arguments, simply cutting and pasting from outside sources.




Nation safty.
The chance of Yellowstone erupting is 1 to 730,000.
The U.S. country has indeed been changed since 911.

NASA sucks.
35% is a small # we already cancelled the space shuttle program and have to use Russia's and we're doing fine with that.
Actually I don't like what Obama has done in the White house (not because he's african america) because he's boosted unemployment rates and the national debt.

That's the united states' you forget there is hundreds of other countries in the world besides the U.S. These collitions have increased and we would have never known it if it wasn't for Dr. Kessler.

NASA spends a lot more then they are budgeted so if this keeps up. It could cost us quadrillians of dollars to get off this planet.
(I waited to the last round for refute. Save the best for last.)

Get off the Rock

If God wanted us to leave Earth he would have told us or even put some of us on other planet.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by THEBOMB 4 years ago
thanks for the input Zaradi :D

I actually only used all my characters in the first round...the last ones i did not. It was a really quick debate haha
Posted by Zaradi 4 years ago
This becomes really simple for me as a voter because con literally put no effort into refutin arguments until the very last round, where profoundly refute them (conduct violation here). The entire basis of lannan's cards was that, in essence, NASA sucks. But he never really refutes pro's arguments and doesn't defend his own very well. So it makes it a lot easier on the pro.

Here's some things I reccomend for both of you and things you could've done.

Pro: I'm going off the assumption you didn't use all your characters, ad it was highly unlikely, but don't be afraid to just dump responses on him. The more the better.
Also, you could've saved yourself a lot of trouble in refuting his semi-terrible arguments by dismissing them with a single argument. His arguments all talk about how NASA is terrible, but you can still say that we can just fix NASA and be on with it. Just because NASA sucks now, it doesn't follow that NASA will always suck. With that, the entire con position goes away, as he provides no analysis of his own as o why it can't be fixed.

Con: cards are good and all, but youcant just c/p cards and call it a day. You actually gotta argue. Your cards lacked actual impacts, and it made it impossible for me to weigh them without it. Moreover, don't save arguments to the last round to use, especially if you speak last. That's incredibly unfair.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by phantom 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct - Plagiarism S/G - cons format hurt my eyes Arguments - Oh my gosh, pro wins by a mile. Con completely ignores pro's two contentions, while pro shows the large benefits of space exploration such as actually saving money(800% increase I think it was) and furthering the human races existence. Both contentions were well supported, and pro easily refuted cons weak arguments, which were as showed, not really worth much. Con also brought God into it, at the end of the debate.
Vote Placed by Zaradi 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by Travniki 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pros points, while they did clash indirectly with cons points, were not specifically attacked enough for Con to win me over