How much is the future worth? Don’t answer that, it is a rhetorical question. I ask it because I recently saw an article pointing out that the entire cost of NASA’s New Horizon’s mission to Pluto was less than the price of a football stadium.
According to NASA, the cost of the New Horizon’s mission is $700 million over the course of fifteen years. Well shit, $700 million is a lot of money. I will never make that kind of money. It is 700 times the amount of money Dr. Evil demanded when he held the world hostage in Austin Powers. Seriously though, that’s actually pretty cheap when you think about it. That’s less than $47 million a year. Basically, it is what Hillary Clinton just raised to run for President. That’s wild!
A few years ago, when NASA’s Mars Rover, Curiosity, landed on the Red Planet, CNN put up a very misleading poll asking if Curiosity was worth the $2.6 billion price tag. I was so outraged by this poll that I wrote an article about it for Huffington Post. Again, NASA was able to explore another planet on a dirt cheap budget. For the cost of Curiosity, the government could keep the lights on at the Department of Defense for 36 hours. Okay, maybe it wasn’t just for their lights, but you get the idea.
Just think about it for a moment. If NASA could send a ship to Pluto for the price of a football stadium and put an advanced mobile research robot on Mars for the amount of money the DOD spends in a day and a half, what do you think they could do with a real budget? I mean, where do you think NASA could take us if we gave them… I don’t know… the amount of taxpayer money politicians give away to subsidize large corporations that don’t need any subsidies?
What if we cut our defense funding by say two percent and put that money toward the future of space exploration. The cost of a single failed F-35 Stealth Fighter Jet was $400 billion. NASA could almost build a moon base for that.
We are here on Earth and on Earth we have a lot of real problems to solve. But we spend a lot of money on things that aren’t that important and complain about relatively small sums of money going toward the future understanding of all humanity. I think it is time we re-evaluate our priorities as a culture and as a species. Maybe I have been watching too much Star Trek or something, but I truly believe that if we apply our resources in the right direction, we could create a much better future for ourselves and our posterity.
What say you interwebs? Should we start demanding that our leaders lead us into the future or waste more money on minutia?
- Dawn Of The Future (skepticink.com)