NASA shouldn’t even exist, morally speaking, at least for its most famous purpose of exploration. Although, it would be acceptable if it’s job was merely defense related since national defense is a legitimate govt role. More specifically, I argue that it is morally wrong for NASA to use tax funds to do such exploration and scientific missions as going to the moon or Mars, or sending probes out into deep space to gather information. Taxation is, by definition, stealing. This is simply true by the very definition of stealing, which is the taking of one’s property without the property owner’s consent. You may think that stealing via taxation is sometimes necessary, although morally dubious, in extreme cases to avert some terribly harmful disaster, and some people use this rational to justify taxation to fund national defense, police, etc to maintain basic order. However, NASA does not perform standard govt roles of rights protections. Unless there’s some horrible disaster to be averted (and even this exception may be disputed), stealing is morally wrong.
Going to the moon was mostly about national pride and doing something “cool”. Same with putting rovers on Mars. It is not morally acceptable to steal billions of dollars from people every year just to satisfy pride and then say, “We’re cooler than other countries, and we got here first. Hurray!”. Or, maybe you think NASA’s exploration is important for the scientific understanding of our universe. Well, in that case, NASA is just satisfying our curiosity about nature. It is not morally acceptable to steal billions of dollars from people every year just so you can satisfy your own curiosity about nature. If scientists wish to explore and satisfy their curiosity, they should do so with money that was raised voluntarily. There are people here on Earth who would like to use their own money to support their own goals and families. Partially preventing them from doing so by stealing some of their money in order to satisfy pride and curiosity is indeed horribly evil.
To be clear, I personally think space exploration is awesome. I’m just saying it shouldn’t be funded with stolen money.