WTF lobbyist idea: Fund spaceflight with NASCAR-style rocket ads

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Jul 4, 2015, 5:44 PM EDT

Another year, another round of discussions on how to solve NASA's perpetual budget woes. There are a lot of ideas floating around, but here's one we've never heard before: A lobbyist thinks we can pay for future NASA missions with advertising on the sides of spacecraft, NASCAR-style.

Robert Walker, a former congressman who chaired the House Science Committee in the mid-'90s and now works as a lobbyist for Wexler & Walker Public Policy Associates, offered the solution during testimony to the House Science, Space & Technology Committee back in December.

The idea is simple: NASCAR teams get lots of money by allowing sponsors to plaster ads all over their cars, so why can't NASA get sponsors and let them plaster ads all over rockets, capsules and rovers?

"The sponsorships there pay for operations costing $200-$300 million a year. That's enough for a whole space flight," Walker told the committee. "When the Go Daddy rover is traversing Martian terrain, we will be more solidly on our way to fulfilling our destiny in the stars."

Can't you just picture it? Danica Patrick's face on the surface of Mars? Probes sent to Saturn and Jupiter brought to you by Tide and Goodyear? Papa John's presents the Mars landing? It sounds crazy, but NASA does need money. What do you think? Is this a good idea, or does it cheapen the future of spaceflight?

(Via Huffington Post)