Each time NASA gets a new budget from Congress, a recurring debate takes a spin through a media cycle or two. At its simplest this conflict of opinion is a split between people who think Americans give NASA too much money and those who think it’s not enough. There are the more nuanced arguments too, those that hinge on specific line items and whether or not a specific program or ambition is worth it (or not worth it). But all the noise can largely be distilled into a question that looms ever larger in the current age of austerity: is what we’re getting out of NASA worth what we’re putting in? Is space science a good investment?