NASA stimulated the creation of modern communications networks and weather prediction by proving that satellites were capable of these tasks. The satellite industry generates more than $300 billion in revenue, an amount that continues to grow 5% to 15% a year.
Satellite-based weather tracking has an annual economic value of $11 billion.
Of course, these industries stand on their own today. NASA continues to build and manage the satellites used by the National Weather Service, the Weather Channel, and AccuWeather; but surely some private entity might be willing to take this on if Congress decides that’s no longer the govern- ment’s job.
Without NASA, though, what will catalyze the next breakthroughs?