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Poll: Should we be spending a trillion dollars on a manned mars mission?

Yes! Science at any cost! 20 (20%)
We should be going, but only if it's much cheaper. 12 (12%)
I don't know. I mean, come on, it's Mars. 29 (29%)
What a frigging waste of money. 40 (40%)
   Discussion: Should we be spending a trillion dollars on a manned mars mission?
Josh Woodward · 15 years, 9 months ago
It's a joke. We'd get so much more benefit by spending that money down here on earth.

I'm all for spending lots of money on science, and even spending money on unmanned missions to Mars, but sending people to Mars is an expensive publicity stunt and nothing more.
Alan Mendelsohn Back · 15 years, 9 months ago

I have to agree, although at one time I'd have been all for "science at any cost." There ought to be a "not right now" option. It's just   scary to wonder what the real agenda might be behind this sudden need for Dubya to send people to Mars. 

Starfox Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
I'm all for sending people to another planet. As long as they are politicians and we do it without life support of any kind.
Bel kjfdxcvuyjh8 Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
That'd be worth a couple trillion dollars.
100% dainty! Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
I agree with you Josh. Spending so much money to go to Mars isnt' necessarily a waste in and of itself. But right now, with the economy so lousy and (what was it?) 44 million people without healthcare, we could be using that money to improve people's lives.
Jan Klump · 15 years, 9 months ago
I did vote the science at any cost....but I do agree, not right now.
Josh Woodward Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
Why is later ok, but now is not? If nothing else, this would create jobs, which are needed now. But at any rate, all this does is tacks a huge amount on to our already massive national debt. We're screwing generations to come in a big way.
ellen, formerly evil Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
Later is OK for a few reasons. Right now, in Mars vs. Unmanned missions, we're 20-16. That is NOT an OK ratio for sending anything living to the surface of Mars.

Yet, a day will come when we have technologies that we truly allow us to go to Mars and beyond, and why shouldn't we? Mars would be a perfect laboratory for testing new equipment and techniques, and it has a much higher gravity than our Moon.

Who is to say that it is US Citizens who would bear the cost of a "future" Mars mission... who knows if the US will even exsist when we actually get around to such an endeavour? Or perhaps it could be privately funded, or internationally, or by another country, even...
Josh Woodward Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
The "Mars and beyond" concept is something I hear fairly often in these debates, and I just don't get it. The technology needed to get to Mars vs. the technology needed to leave our solar system and go somewhere interesting aren't even in the same ballpark. Travel at anything less than a decent chunk of the speed of light will never get a human there. The nearest star is about 12 light years away. Mars missions take months to travel a few light *minutes*. Any proposed Mars missions will just be using the same basic propulsion technology we've been using for decades.
ellen, formerly evil Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
Any proposed -current- missions, but I'm thinking centuries into the future, and why wouldn't we need skills to explore planets in other solar systems. :)

(I'm a long-range sorta thinker)
Bruce Rose · 15 years, 9 months ago
Of the options, science at any cost is closest.  I've always wondered why manned space exploration stopped after the moon landings.  I think that the Mars trip should have been done 20-30 years ago.
dave "buh" Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
agreed. besides, more money on science=less money on war.
stealthlori Back · 15 years, 9 months ago

word. 

I don't think "science at any cost" is valid, although that's my choice among the options listed.  I do however think this is the best, most promising way Bush yet has considered spending huge amounts of money, and we ought to encourage any sort of genuine intellectual or scientific inquiry on his part. 

I also think future generations will mind this sort of debt far less than the rest he's built up, because it is forward-looking, and has the potential to enlighten us (and not just our wallets, to the advantage of his pals and the Pentagon).

That said, of course I wish he'd give a hoot about the conditions of the environment and scientific inquiry here on earth.  And keep the Hubble going, for heaven's sake.  That would cost a lot less than $1 trillion. 

But at least he's not trying to throw $1 trillion into research on the science of creationism.  ;)   Or even into trying to disprove global warming.

Josh Woodward Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
> I also think future generations will mind this sort of debt far less
> than the rest he's built up

Future generations will look at the massive chunks coming out of their paychecks every couple weeks and say, "boy, I sure don't mind this part of it because it paid for some guy to play with rocks on Mars"?
Bruce Rose Back · 15 years, 9 months ago

Future generations shouldn't be seeing those massive chunks coming out of their paychecks, because future generations will have elected representation that abolished the income tax system.

Those future generations... always a step or two ahead. :-)

Bel kjfdxcvuyjh8 Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
>>agreed. besides, more money on science=less money on war.

Imagine what kinda nice things the USA could have if they spent money on neither.
nate... Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
*boggles*

Are you suggesting that the USA... no... ANYONE... would be better off if they spent no money or time on scientific development??

Starfox Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
We would be better off if the government did not forcibly take money from people to fund scientific research. If the government did not force development a certain way, we may not have desktop computers per se, but we may have a cure for cancer.
Bel kjfdxcvuyjh8 Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
Are you suggesting that the USA... no... ANYONE... would be better off if they spent no money or time on scientific development??


That's not really waht I meant....I meant like spending a trillion dollars on space is a waste. Finding caures for diseases etc. is not a waste. Sorry about that.
Klausi in Berkeley · 15 years, 9 months ago

I miss an option... Let it start TODAY! And, pleeeeaaaase, take a spaceship that is big enough to carry ALL members of the George W. Bush-Administration plus the "president" himself along. And fill up the tank only half - so theres no opportunity to return.

In fact: the environmental and social damages caused by the Bush-and-Co-policy can't be paid with 1 trillion bucks. Otherwise: If there's a cheaper way to get rid of them (I guess there is), spend the money somewhere it is needed: development of renewable resources, poor people and countries, weapons wrecking, ... there is a lot of things to do!

Josh Woodward Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
Exactly, can you imagine how much ground $1T would cover in the race to find a good renewable power source? And this is something we're absolutely going to need in our lifetimes. Hell, we're still blowing up middle-east countries to secure more oil. Can you imagine a world where we don't have to fight over a bunch of slimy black liquid?
Starfox Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
Um, perhaps, but petroleum is used in far more things than just gasoline. True, gas is one of the biggest uses, but even if they came out with a fuel cell powered car, it would not eliminate the demand for oil.
ellen, formerly evil Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
He never said "gasoline," he never said car, he said Renewable Enery Source, which I believe applies to everything that petroleum is used for.

On the other hand, what would the world do without Vaseline! Wah! ;)

( or plastic or ... )
Klausi in Berkeley Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
Petroleum is replaceable in the biggest part of the industrial puposes it is used for. OK, driving your car is one thing - replace it by a fuel cell. Most of the processes in organic chemistry producing goods (pharmacy, plastics, many other consumer goods) are based on petroleum. But the thing is: petroleum CAN be replaced. The technologies are developed, but no one wants to use them - the old way is cheaper, and - more polluting. If there's no demand for oil any more - there is no reason for conflicts any more. Worldwide.
ellen, formerly evil Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
Are you saying that conflicts only happen because of oil???
nate... Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
Well, duh.

I mean, the only time I've ever argued with anyone, it's been over oil.
Like, they try to claim it's about other things.... I didn't clean my dishes... etc... but *I* know it's about oil.

Mamalissa! Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
not cleaning your dishes is more of a grease issue, but I see your point.
stealthlori Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
> In fact: the environmental and social damages caused by the > Bush-and-Co-policy can't be paid with 1 trillion bucks.
> Otherwise: If there's a cheaper way to get rid of them (I guess > there is), spend the money somewhere it is needed: development
> of renewable resources, poor people and countries, weapons
> wrecking, ... there is a lot of things to do!

Yeah ... but the catch is, Bush doesn't want to do any of those things. In fact, to most such proposals he's in intractable opposition.

So yeah, the US should do all that stuff. And under more enlightened and responsible leadership I hope we do, very soon. But under this US administration, if the choice is to spend a load of money we don't have on something undestructive vs. a load of money we don't have on something wildly destructive, a mission to Mars might be our best shot. ;)
Joe Navratil Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
Unfortunately, it appears that the current administration is choosing C, "spend a load of money we don't have. And then spend it again." This, of course, coming from the "small government and less taxes" party.

And don't get me started on the Halliburton space defense angle.
Gordondon son of Ethelred · 15 years, 9 months ago
I voted I don't. Personally I want it. That doesn't mean the country should do it. I would need to know how it was going to be financed. It is like asking someone if they want to send their newborn kid to a top University. Of course you do but you have to see if you can afford it. Right now the Bush has proposed only a billion in new funds the rest would be figured out later. There is really no committmant now or a real plan. I am in favor of doing research to figure out how to do it and how much it would cost. We could then make a rational decision on whether or not it is worth it.

I am not that afraid of the money coming out of social programs, they have too large a constituancy. More likely the money would come out of other science programs and increasing the deficit. There aren't enough people who would mobilize to fight that.
Phoenix · 15 years, 9 months ago

There are so many projects worth investing into here on earth that I just can imagine that it would make sense spending such a horrendous sum just moving some rocks at a distant and forbidding planet.

Ew. The exploration of outer space isn't the only way of squandering money though:
The Current Federal Debt & Military Spending

And btw - a mission of that proportions should be an international project to begin with.

stealthlori Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
> And btw - a mission of that proportions should be an
> international project to begin with.

Good point.
Bruce Rose · 15 years, 9 months ago

I'm usually painfully far behind on pop culture, so I'll chip this is for nostalgia's sake.

Does anyone remember the Mr. Show sketch where NASA announced a mission to blow up the moon.  "We have the technology, it's the right thing to do."

Parts of the replies here are reminding me of the protesters. "There are so many things here on Earth to blow up... Mt. Rushmore, Everest... We're earthlings... let's blow up Earth things!"

goovie is married! Back · 15 years, 9 months ago
*raises hand* heeheehee. i *heart* mr. show.
Nathan · 15 years, 9 months ago
I'd be lying if I said I didn't think space exploration and putting people on Mars were kind of cool ideas, but I don't think it's really worth the money at this point.  What's the advantage to going there?

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