Cost of next-generation Mars rover soars to $2.5B

Feb 01, 2011
"Siblings." This artist's concept compares Curiosity (left) to Spirit (right).

NASA's next-generation rover mission to the surface of Mars needs more money - again.

Nine months before the scheduled launch, the space agency says the mission has burned through its reserves and needs another $82 million to complete testing before .

It's the latest cost overrun to plague the Mars Science Laboratory, a nuclear-powered rover the size of a small SUV that will study whether the planet was or is habitable.

Previous financial and development problems forced a two-year launch delay. Curiosity, as the rover is known, is now slated to lift off in November from , Fla.

The latest price tag is $2.5 billion, making it the most expensive mission yet to Mars. reported the need for the extra funds to its advisory council last week.

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User comments : 13

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Vendicar_Decarian
1.4 / 5 (11) Feb 01, 2011
Defund NASA
Defund the EPA
Defund everything but Defense spending.

diego
1 / 5 (1) Feb 01, 2011
ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME!!! W
diego
1 / 5 (1) Feb 01, 2011
We have more defense spending than like the next 12 countries combined. The military is spending 9 billion dollors for a fancy amphibious boat to bring marines to shore when the last time this was done was on d day in ww2, before the advent of the helicopter and a vulcan machine gatling gun that can shoot 3000 rounds a minutee.
soulman
5 / 5 (2) Feb 01, 2011
Defund NASA
Defund the EPA
Defund everything but Defense spending.

It's a joke!
geokstr
1.7 / 5 (11) Feb 01, 2011
Nine months before the scheduled launch, the space agency says the mission has burned through its reserves and needs another $82 million to complete testing before liftoff.

Sorry, NASA, but all excess funds in your budget, according to the director himself, on the direct order of Obama, are to be spent on outreach to Muslims, to improve their self-esteem.
Glyndwr
4.3 / 5 (6) Feb 01, 2011
Who wheeled in the crazies to comment tonight ;)
Walfy
3.3 / 5 (3) Feb 02, 2011
The return for the money for the Mars mission is way, way more than an equal amount going to the military. (In fact, most money going to the military ends up costing us more in the end run. We even have to fight our own weapons at times, for crying out loud, after giving heat-seeking missiles to the Taliban years ago, for example)

On another note, too bad they're not sending to Mars two identical rovers, as they did previously, both for only around $800 million, I believe it was. But this new rover is faster, with a larger suite of instruments. Just not sure if it's worth $3 billion, as I'm sure it will quickly reach.
antialias
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 02, 2011
We even have to fight our own weapons at times,

That's the point. Weapons aren't supposed to make the US (or its people) rich. They are supposed to make the industrials who make them (and who own the politicians) rich.

National policy (and spending) is never in the interest of the people (other than to placate them every now and again so that they don't get uppity like in Tunisia or Egypt). National policy (and spending) is only ever in the interest of 'interest groups'.
RichTheEngineer
1 / 5 (1) Feb 02, 2011
Damn government bureaucrats can't do anything right; they are always whining for more money.

Abolish NASA, it has FAR outlived its usefulness. DOD can subsume whatever parts it needs, rest of 'em can go screw themselves for all I care.
CreepyD
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 02, 2011
Ok it could be a bit wrong, as wiki is not always 100%, but I think it still says it all.
Stick 'military spending wiki' into google and go to the top link.
2.5 billion is nothing for something of great scientific importance.
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (1) Feb 02, 2011
On another note, too bad they're not sending to Mars two identical rovers, as they did previously, both for only around $800 million, I believe it was. But this new rover is faster, with a larger suite of instruments. Just not sure if it's worth $3 billion, as I'm sure it will quickly reach.
It's not a little faster, it's 4x the speed of the prior rovers. In a 100 meter race, a turtle would beat the rovers, by about 20 minutes. Increasing the speed drastically changes the type and scope of the mission. The cost increase is well justified.

Beyond that, you really want to save some money? Abolish the US nuclear weapon arsenal. We don't need them any longer and building a nuclear missle is quite simple for us if the need ever arose again.
antialias
5 / 5 (1) Feb 02, 2011
You really DON'T want these rovers to go fast. With a timelag between 3 and 18 minutes for signals between Earth and Mars you want them to go sloooooow so that you can see any problems coming hours before you get there.

Having them autonomously drive around would be neat, but one glitch in the software or one thing the programmer didn't foresee (or the sensor didnt pick up) and you've just trashed 3bn dollars worth of effort.

Rovers are therefore carefully supervised, driven by human operators relying on camera pictures and telemanipulation who meticulously preplot the paths the rover will take.
treadmarks
3 / 5 (2) Feb 06, 2011
Defund NASA
Defund the EPA
Defund everything but Defense spending.


Yes, let's invest all our money into making things that blow up! Let's essentially just make all our money blow up rather than spending it on something that might help somebody or advance human knowledge. What a great plan!