For the Space Exploration Haters

Lots of people are critical of the money spent on space exploration, especially the Curiosity’s mission to Mars. Just to put it in perspective:

Of course, one could argue that the Olympics is worth spending money on because its philosophy is about uniting the world through sport instead of war, to foster peace and international relations.

It’s just funny how that argument can hardly hold up when someone smashes a record and wins an Olympic gold only to have the sore losers accuse them of doping. Or for an article to come out in the news entitled “The Shame of the Silver Medal”.

I would think that the International Space Station has resulted in more positive cooperation than this year’s Olympics, but that is just my opinion. After all, I wanted to be an Astrophysicist at some point in my life, so it might be just a little biased.

What’s the geek community’s opinion? Space exploration is worth the money or is it a waste of the taxpayer’s dollar?

[Via I f* love science]

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23 Responses to For the Space Exploration Haters

  1. Out of every $100 in the U.S. Federal budget, approximately $0.50 goes to NASA. That seems like a pretty cheap investment, especially considering the military takes about $40 out of the $100, and Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid combine for about $30.

  2. I think what we really need to ask ourselves is; Is the invention of personal computers, the internet, water filters, cordless power tools, and velcro worth the investment? These are all innovations directly produced to aid space flight and then translated into the consumer market by the private companies hired to develop them. A host of materials and components have been invented and developed for use by NASA, eventually becoming everything from clear dental braces to shoe insoles. In the process thousands of private sector jobs were created to to produce these new products as consumer goods.

    Of course this means that NASA is indirectly responsible for Dubstep and Farmville… and I'm not sure how I feel about that.

  3. Climatization for troops costs more than NASA budget … thats all what I have to say, please come back the 60`s !!

  4. Space exploration haters work on the assumption that the world's wars, poverty and over population problems can be solved by throwing money at it.

    The only things that stop humanity from colonizing the stars is a lack of money and political will. But with the growing privatization of the space industry, the latter will soon become irrelevant.

  5. They just need to tell people we are *invading* other planets rather than *exploring* other planets. That way they can get some of that juicy military budget.

  6. Well, this Olympics is tax payer POUND, not dollar (although I don't pay tax, so yay).

    I don't care paying a certain amount, so long as it is worth it.

  7. Considering what f*cked up sh!t we're doing to this planet, I saw we figure out how to move to another one as soon as possible.

  8. As a business intelligence professional, that graph pains me. You do *NOT* use a pie chart to compare two independent values. You use a pie chart to compare parts of a whole. What is the whole here?

    This is what happens when you try to force graphic designers to do math.

  9. Sports does bring people together without much warring involved, however, it is still a competition – still with the general idea of playing against each other.
    Curiosity, Space Travel, scientific endeavour in general (CERN comes to mind) are capable of truly uniting people in peace, people who have the same goal and working TOGETHER to achieve it. There's the core difference.

    Mr Tyson was quite right in his statement about the NASA budget.

  10. I loves my big budget movies, but be would be interested to see the amount spent on producing blockbusters per year vs the NASA budget, or even the amount moviegoers spend vs Nasa.

  11. Space exploration is vital for establishing an objective perspective on ourselves and the universe, but the transhumanist in me remains unconvinced that manned spaceflight is anything but a dead end.

    Our machines are getting better at indulging this field all the time; we're not. The cost of a space mission is ramped up by as much as two orders of magnitude as soon as you try to crowbar us talking plains-monkeys into the equation. Numerous promising science missions that could have genuinely expanded our horizons were canned in the name of feeding the monstrous budget of the ISS, a project that has so far only demonstrated that simply getting humans to survive in space is unlikely to be cost effective before we become capable of birthing whole new kinds of intelligent entities that are as suited to life in the void as our current robotic probes are.

    The following essay contains a more detailed analysis of the manned space program's misguidedness from – of all people – sci-fi author Charles Stross: http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2007/

    In summary, I'm fairly confident that, by the end of the next century at the latest, the concept of pushing the stellar frontier with pressurised containers full of baseline humans will look as quaint as the concept of achieving flight by fitting rows of giant rotor blades to the decks of sailing ships.

  12. What everyone here is forgetting, is that back during the inception of the olympics, if you were currently a country at war, and refused to stop, you were not invited to the olympics. America, most of East Asia, Israel, and every other country currently involved in armed conflict should all be BARRED from the olympics until those countries cease hostile actions during the time of the olympics. And i say this as a Former Marine, and a patriot of my country.

  13. One can also assert that they are both luxuries that my not be the wisest use of funds in tough economic times. If we want technology and that is our reason for funding NASA, we'd be better off funding basic science, not space exploration (or, even better, government grants to kickstarter projects).