As children, many of us dreamed of being astronauts, but a little boy in America has taken a giant leap closer to achieving his goal.
Six-(and-a-half)-year-old Connor Johnson has wanted to be an astronaut ever since he was three, but when he heard that Congress was threatening to cut funding to NASA, and threatening his future career, he decided he would be the one to fight it.
Initially, he wanted to write to the President, but the canny six-year-old understood that if budgeting was the problem, perhaps he could donate some money to help NASA survive.
“I decided to give my whole piggy bank to NASA. I have about $10.41” he explained.
Although the donation showed Connor’s heart was in the right place, his family encouraged him to find a more effective way to reach NASA.
Connor’s family helped him to start a petition; although they wrote the words, Connor picked the idea behind it.
It is titled, “Increase NASA funding. So we can discover new worlds, protect us from danger and to make dreams come true. CJ, Age: 6.5”
The point below it reads, “Increase the funding for NASA so that children can dream of exploring the universe. Science funding is the future of our country.”
Connor has managed to achieve the 150 signatures for the petition to go public on the website, but he needs 90,000 more to get a response from the White House.
Although it is a daunting task, Connor told USA Today that he thinks he can accomplish his mission, because NASA has taught him that any objective can be accomplished in small steps.
Connor is not the only person to be concerned with the cuts to the NASA budget, which currently accounts for 0.5% of the Federal Budget.
Popular space expert Neil DeGrasse Tyson remarked in 2012, “Right now, NASA's annual budget is half a penny on your tax dollar.
“For twice that—a penny on a dollar—we can transform the country from a sullen, dispirited nation, weary of economic struggle, to one where it has reclaimed its 20th century birthright to dream of tomorrow."
The last space-based petition to reach the White House through the We The People website was a call for the White House to construct a Death Star, to which Paul Shawcross, the head of the science and space branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, replied: “Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?"
It can only be hoped that Connor’s petition does not receive quite so glib a response.