For those who are claiming NASA accomplishes nothing of value besides being a sort of “extreme-science” for thrillseeking nerds, I suggest you visit Space Research at NASA’s Office of Biological and Physical Research (a huge list of technical articles about research out of NASA with nice summaries) or NASA’s Earth Science page. I commented in a private forum earlier today that even beyond these results, I have no problem if we haven’t seen the fruit of all of this research yet. Arguments against funding pure research when people are suffering are as old as government, as are the arguments for. Personally, I see the quest for knowledge of our world to be one of the admirable and selfless activities our government takes on. For the many criticisms I have of the scientific community, I think it is one of the few truly international communities. I can’t think of anything (including going to war!) that the US feels it can only do with cooperation from other countries – except build and maintain the International Space Station. Putting aside the many scientific advantages, I like that there is one national priority we have that we admit we can’t do on our own.