Warning. This post contains references to math.
Image courtesy of NASA Flickr archives
It’s a question all of us have heard in one form or another. Most of us have heard many variations of it over the years. The other day I heard it once again, sparking a little number checking and this post.
A quick check of official NASA budget numbers reveals they received over 17.7 billion last year. Keep that number in mind.
It is estimated there are over 164 million smart phone in use in the USA today.
Now to some guestimates.
Let us assume that number is overstated by 25%. That leaves 123m SPs.
Let us further assume another 25% are dedicated strictly for business. That leaves 92.25m SPs. Most of which are used primarily for entertainment.
Let us further assume 25% of those only connect to the internet via available WiFi hotspots. That leaves 69.2m SPs.
If the average monthly cost of a data plan is $50 a month or $600 a year, these users are collectively spending $41.5 billion annually.
If only 1/2 of those users acted on the question, Why am I spending so much money on instant gratification when there are people going hungry, it would produce a bigger impact than the total diversion of NASA funds to food programs.
As an aside, let me point out that it is easier for the individual to send money to a trusted charity that for that same individual to sway how a government spends the money they have skimmed off their paycheque.
In addition, of that 17.7b allocated to NASA, only a small fraction is actually shot into space. Most of it stays right here on Earth to cover the salaries of the many fine people employed either directly or within the supply chain NASA sources its material from. Those are real jobs helping to feed real families at a level that makes it possible for them to donate from their excess to the poor and hungry.
All that’s before accounting for the long list of scientific advancements and inventions that have gone on to help society at large.
I would call that something to think about before complaining that some program represents money being wasted.