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Money Well Spent
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On C-Span this morning they asked the question:

Is the new $800 million Mars probe mission money well spent?

Gosh, you can guess the array of answers they got with the phrasing that way. These people want to feed all the homeless, put shoes on the feet of every child, and "take care of our own"...but usually only when they hear about an expensive space program. Something tells me most of the rest of the time they don't really give much of a damn about their fellow human being.

It's the sort of attitude NASA has had to dealt with since its inception, and will always have to deal with.

But to answer the question myself, yeah, I think it's money well-spent. Yes, the funding is inefficiently being funneled to a massive spending behemoth, and the return will be about 10 cents on every dollar in terms of actual output.

But what a society invests in says a great deal about them, and I'm proud to be part of a country that's not just concerned about providing creature comforts to every man, woman, and child. By exploring space, we're saying that we're curious, outward-looking, and adventurous. It says we're not just defined by McDonald's and Enron and American Idol. We're actually interested in both asking and trying to answer questions about the world around us.

And yeah, that's money well spent.

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