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The Contributions of a NASA Space Center and Its Effects on the Local and National Economy and Culture

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NASA expenditures contribute to competitively important areas: technology, manufacturing, businesses, and universities. NASA invests in economically valuable technologies that help the nation maintain its competitive advantage. NASA spends nearly half its budget on U.S. manufacturing industries; the White House identifies manufacturing as vital to re-invigorating the economy

NASA also spends hundreds of millions of dollars on developing emerging technologies, and billions advancing science and technologies identified as key national priorities. About 80 percent of NASA activities are carried out by U.S. businesses and universities, with 20 percent supported by NASA employees.

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Almost as soon as the International Space Station was habitable, researchers began using it to study the impact of microgravity and other space effects on several aspects of our daily lives. This unique scientific platform continues to enable researchers from all over the world to put their talents to work on innovative experiments that could not be done anywhere else. Although each space station partner has distinct agency goals for station research, each partner shares a unified goal to extend the resulting knowledge for the betterment of humanity. We may not know yet what will be the most important discovery gained from the space station, but we already have some amazing breakthroughs! In the areas of human health, telemedicine, education and observations of Earth from space, there are already demonstrated benefits to human life. Vaccine development research, station-generated images that assist with disaster relief and farming, and education programs that inspire future scientists, engineers and space explorers are just some examples of research benefits. The benefits outlined here serve as examples of the space station’s potential as a groundbreaking scientific research facility

Through advancing the state of scientific knowledge of our planet, looking after our health, and providing a space platform that inspires and educates the science and technology leaders of tomorrow, these benefits will drive the legacy of the space station as its research strengthens economies and enhances the quality of life here on Earth for all people.The International Space Station is a unique laboratory for performing investigations that affect human health both in space and on Earth. Throughout its assembly, the space station has supported research that is providing a better understanding of certain aspects of human health, such as aging, trauma, disease and the environment.

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More than fifty years of human activity in space have produced societal benefits that improve the quality of life on Earth. The first satellites, designed to study the space environment and test initial capabilities in Earth orbit, contributed critical knowledge and capabilities for developing satellite telecommunications, global positioning, and advances in weather forecasting (Severe Space Weather Events). Space exploration initiated the economic development of space that today, year after year, delivers high returns for invested funds in space. The challenges of space exploration have sparked new scientific and technological knowledge of inherent value to humankind, leading to better understanding of our Universe and the solar system in which we live

Knowledge, coupled with ingenuity, provides people around the globe with solutions as well as useful products and services. Knowledge acquired from space exploration has also introduced new perspectives on our individual and collective place in the Universe. Future space exploration goals call for sending humans and robots beyond Low Earth Orbit and establishing sustained access to destinations such as the Moon, asteroids and Mars. Space agencies participating in the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG) are discussing an international approach for achieving these goals, documented in ISECG's Global Exploration Roadmap. That approach begins with the International Space Station (ISS), and leads to human missions to the surface of Mars. Employing the complementary capabilities of both humans and robotic systems will enable humankind to meet this most ambitious space exploration challenge, and to increase benefits for society. These benefits can be categorized into three fundamental areas: innovation; culture and inspiration; and new means to address global challenges.

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In summary, the multispectral imaging methods used for seeing and understanding the Martian surface have been applied to, as the Chicago Tribune noted in 2006, “badly charred Roman manuscripts that were buried during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Examining those carbonized manuscripts under different wavelengths of light suddenly revealed writing that had been invisible to scholars for two centuries.” All of these examples only begin to tell the story. While their existence is a source of pride, we must realize that America did not create the space program with the idea of gaining these collateral benefits

But through its proven record of developing new technologies, it is likely that in the next 50 years NASA will continue to inspire whole new industries, revolutionize existing ones, and create new possibilities for the future, benefiting people everywhere.

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OECD Handbook on Measuring the Space Economy, March 2012. 2 ISECG space agencies include, in alphabetical order: ASI (Italy), CNES (France), CNSA (China), CSA (Canada), CSIRO

(Australia), DLR (Germany), ESA (Europe), ISRO (India), JAXA (Japan), KARI (Republic of Korea), NASA (United States of America), NSAU (Ukraine), Roscosmos (Russia), UKSA (United Kingdom

"Severe Space Weather Events‐‐Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A Workshop Report", National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, 2008 (page 109)

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