On Tuesday, January 15th, the Arizona Arts, Sciences, and Technology Academy (AASTA) released an impact report of astronomy, planetary sciences and space sciences (APSS) on Arizona’s economy.
The report found that research in APSS in 2006 alone pumped over $250 million into Arizona’s economy. By comparison, this is equivalent to the economic impact of the Super Bowl every 2 years. As a traditional resource for Arizona, APSS have long been relied upon as a stable economic contributor to the state; regardless of the economic environment, APSS research has always been lucrative.
The study also found that there are multiple threats to these fields that will diminish the economic contributions if immediate and decisive action is not taken. Recommendations made by the report include creating a plan for the future of research in APSS, increasing federal funding, developing and exploiting technologies within the established infrastructure, such as the state universities, and working with state and local policymakers to protect APSS resources, including setting new measures to control light pollution.
“Arizona has always been a leader in astronomy, planetary sciences, and space sciences and this report illustrates just how much of an impact research in these fields has on Arizona,” says Patrick Burkhart, president of APSS. “It is imperative that the state takes up these recommendations so that we can continue to bring in funding and help our economy grow during this downturn.”