Every young boy and girl in the world dreams of being someone great someday. However, with reports of NASA funding cuts in the news, 6-year-old Connor Johnston decided to do something about it. Connor decided to take matters into his own little hands and start a petition to see if he could save NASA’s budget.
Connor learned of the budget cuts to NASA and the space program over the Thanksgiving weekend. When the 6-year-old heard that congress planned on making the cuts he was really disappointed. He was just disappointed enough to do something about it. At first, Connor thought about donating the $10.41 he’d managed to save from his allowance. Then he decided to donate his entire piggy bank. However, after consulting with his family Connor decided to start a petition.
Connor wants to be an astronaut someday, so he could discover new worlds and asteroids. Maybe he’d even get to build stuff out of asteroids. This is not a new dream that Connor has, because he’s had this dream exactly half of his life. According to the 6-year-old, NASA happens to be the only space agency he’s known for a long time.
Connor’s petition started out pretty slow as signatures were solicited from family and friends through email and Facebook. However, as soon as the media got word that a 6-year-old boy was trying to save NASA, the media did what they could to spread the word, so Connor could be an astronaut someday.
Even though the petition’s momentum started to pick up, he’s still a long way from saving NASA. As Connor needs to have at least a 100,000 signatures on the petition before he can make a difference.
Congress announced the “restructuring” of NASA and the planetary scientists have been nervous since. NASA funds over 90 percent of planetary sciences in the United States, which includes scientists that apply for research grants and NASA employees themselves. Grant program funding is currently divided among dozens of groups, which will see a consolidation if Connor is not successful with his petition.
Connor and the planetary scientists aren’t the only ones that feel that congress needs to preserve NASA’s budget. Bill Nye has also posted a video message to President Obama on The Planetary Society’s YouTube channel. “The Science Guy’s” message was in a serious tone and begs Obama to preserve “the best brand the United States has.” Nye goes on to state in his video that, “the entire world respects and admires what NASA does.” Then Nye reminisces about the last mars rover landing and how the entire world “shared the seven minutes of terror” until the lander’s wheels touched the Martian soil. While Nye speaks in the video, past budget cuts are flashed on the screen. Finally Nye recommends to Obama that the importance of planetary sciences deserve a budget of a suggested $1.5 billion.
It is not known if efforts from Bill Nye or Connor have been heard by President Obama to save NASA’s planetary science budget from cuts. However, the 6-year-old boy’s petition could eventually reach the 100,000 signatures he needs to preserve his dreams of someday being an astronaut. Connor’s petition will expire on December 29th.
By Brent Matsalla