|Mars via NASA photo.|
Let's think about this. NASA spent $2.5 billion on a one-ton mobile Curiosity rover that just recently “achieved the most complex, costly and high-risk landing ever attempted on another world,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Woot ... what? When our descendants look back in history, is that something we want them to remember? That our generation “achieved the most complex, costly and high-risk landing?” That goal is not on my bucket list, how about yours?
For $2.5 billion, can it cure cancer? Can it feed billions of starving people worldwide? What I could do with $2.5 billion dollars! Considering the disastrous drought that our farmers experienced this summer, what could that money mean to them to help them recoup some of their losses? What about the 10 percent of U.S. citizens who are unemployed? How about the millions of people who have cancer who can’t afford their medical bills? Not to mention those people who are ill and can’t afford treatment at all! What about our attempts to “go green” and save our planet (to heck with Mars!) How far would that money have gone into green energy research?
Did you know that this isn’t our first landing? We’ve had six other Martian all-inclusive spacecations from the Viking 1 in 1976 to this current Curiosity mission. How much did those other missions cost? I thinking we could have actually made a dent in the $15 trillion national debt with some of that money, although I’m not wild about trusting it to politicians. NASA engineers and scientists celebrated jovially when the touch down was confirmed. Disclaimer: “It remains unknown exactly what shape the $2.5 billion rover is in, but the fact that it survived its seven minutes of terror descent was cheered like the grandest Olympic triumph,” according to the Washington Post. Really? Really?!! What kind of measure of success is that?
The rover is searching for signs of extraterrestrial life and for evidence on how Mars went from being a wet and warm planet to a dry and cold lump of a planet. If what we’re doing to our planet is any indicator, I’m in favor of finding out how to save our planet before we experience the same fate. Also, this mission could “hasten the day when humans fly to Mars.” Wait, checking the bucket list - nope.
“If anybody has been harboring doubts about the status of U.S. leadership in space,” John P. Holdren, the president’s science adviser, said at a news conference following the landing, “well, there’s a one-ton, automobile-size piece of American ingenuity, and it’s sitting on the surface of Mars right now,” from the New York Times. Okay, so we spent $2.5 billion on NASA’s mid-life crisis? I'm so proud!
With real-life concerns such as life and death, illness and famine, terrorism and rampage shootings (let’s talk about a real-life “seven minutes of terror”), I’m just having trouble feeling good about such an accomplishment. Real people are hurting, trying to survive and dying next door to us, down the street from us and in areas around the world. Is trying to find signs of previous life support on other planets worth $2.5 billion?
Note: Wouldn’t it be funny if while we are spending loads of dough sending one-ton, expensive cars to other planets, the Martians have landed on Earth and are searching for intelligent life? I’m just sayin’ … I’m a fan of Falling Skies.