Is exploring Mars worth the investment?

Jul 31, 2012 By Eryn Brown
Mars

Saturn has its famous rings and Jupiter is the granddaddy of the solar system, but no planet has entranced earthlings quite like Mars.

Humans have launched 40 spacecraft to the Red Planet, lured by the prospect that life might once have existed in what is now dry rocks and sand. The latest machine to make the journey is NASA's Mars Science Laboratory, a hulking, souped-up lab-on-wheels that will plunge toward the next week.

But even as excitement builds, some wonder: Is a good investment?

It certainly doesn't come cheap. It's hard to calculate a total price tag, but over the 48 years that NASA has been launching missions to Mars, Americans have spent a significant sum. The Viking missions alone cost nearly $1 billion - in 1970s dollars. The twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity cost a total of about $1 billion to build and operate as well.

Curiosity, as the Mars rover is known, is over budget at $2.5 billion.

Some in the federal government have suggested it's time to roll back the spending. President 's fiscal plan for 2013 would cut NASA's funds for Mars exploration from $587 million to $360 million.

Proponents insist Mars science is vital for the U.S. More visits to our next-door neighbor could answer lingering questions about Earth's history, reinforce U.S. prestige and get more children interested in science.

It also could bring humanity closer to answering the ultimate question: Are we alone in the universe?

"It's the search for the meaning of life," said Alden Munson, a senior fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, a science and technology think tank based in Arlington, Va.

America's love affair with Mars can be traced to astronomer Percival Lowell, who turned his telescope to the Red Planet in the 1890s and thought he saw an intricate system of canals that must have been built by intelligent beings. He never found them, of course, but Martians became a science fiction mainstay.

Earthlings got their first up-close view of Mars' rocky surface in 1965, when Mariner 4 flew by and photographed a surface that appeared as dead as the moon's - lacking water or active geology, two prerequisites for life.

But later missions, from the Mariner 9 orbiter to Spirit and Opportunity, helped establish Mars as a useful comparative laboratory for studying climate and geophysics on Earth. They demonstrated that the planet was once warmer and wetter than it is now. Long ago, it may have been a hospitable cradle for life.

When planetary scientists assembled recently at the behest of the National Academies to set research priorities for the next decade, the search for conditions that would allow life to emerge on Mars topped the list.

"If there's life or past life on Mars, it means the chances that life exists somewhere else are much higher," said David Paige, who studies the moon and terrestrial planets at UCLA. If Mars is barren, "it might make Earth more unique than we thought."

Some experts question the wisdom of focusing so intently on a single planet. Jupiter's moon Europa, which is covered with an ice-encrusted ocean, could have the potential to harbor life; Saturn's moon Titan, rich in organic chemistry, might as well.

"It's like the person who loses their keys and only looks for them below the streetlight," said David Jewitt, a planetary scientist at UCLA who studies comets.

But funds for planetary science are limited - and even those who favor a broader search admit that Mars remains the most practical site to explore.

A mission to Europa, for example, would take about six years to reach its destination. Curiosity's trip to Mars takes about eight months.

Europa has other drawbacks too: For one, particles flung into space by Jupiter's magnetic field would likely fry a spacecraft's electronics in a matter of weeks, said Richard Greenberg, who studies the frozen moon at the University of Arizona.

"Personally, I love Europa," he said. "But objectively, both it and Mars are great places to look for life."

Regardless of whether life can be found beyond Earth, Mars exploration boosts U.S. prestige.

"A lot of the warmest feelings people have had around the world have had to do with the space program," Munson said. "It's hard to put a value on that."

Space exploration is the ultimate status symbol. China and India have signaled their technological aspirations by establishing space programs. So have Iran, Pakistan, Venezuela, Israel, Mexico and dozens of other countries.

"I'm afraid if we step back, it will be decades before we get back to Mars," said Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., whose district includes NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, where Mars missions are based. "We have the expertise now. No other countries have been able to do this."

NASA has outperformed other space agencies by a wide margin, completing 13 successful missions (against five failures) since 1964. The Russians have had particularly bad luck, with 15 failed missions and only four partial successes.

The amount of money Americans devote to Mars is tiny compared to annual expenditures on other NASA projects, said Munson, who noted that in 2011 alone, the agency spent more than $4 billion on the International Space Station and the fleet of space shuttles.

The James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope that is designed to help scientists study the very early universe, is costing NASA $8.8 billion.

Even that price tag is dwarfed by the more than $600 billion the Defense Department will spend in 2012.

Jewitt put it like this: Americans spend more than $7 billion a year on potato chips.

"We're talking about a small amount of money in the grand scheme of things," Paige said.

Still, in the heat of an election season, some find it hard to justify Mars spending as long as the deficit remains high and the basic needs of many citizens aren't met.

This time around, in the run-up to Curiosity's high-profile landing, it's hard to find people willing to criticize Mars science in public. But back in 2004, when President George W. Bush was pushing an ambitious plan that included manned missions to the , Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut (then a Democrat) said the billions of dollars NASA would require would be better spent "right here on Earth" on health care, education and domestic security.

Even those who've caught the Mars bug and are excited about Curiosity worry that with the new rover, NASA has "put all the eggs in one basket," said Robert Zubrin, an aerospace engineer and founder of the Mars Society, which advocates for manned missions to the planet.

When NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter and Polar Lander both failed in 1999, work was already under way on several other missions that turned out to be successful, Zubrin said. But there's not much waiting in the wings this time around.

Plans to send a lander to scoop up Martian soil and return it to Earth, as well as to visit Europa, have been postponed to save money.

After Curiosity, NASA's planetary scientists have only one major mission lined up: an orbiter called MAVEN, which will explore the Martian atmosphere and climate. It is scheduled for launch in 2013.

Explore further: What is life? It's a tricky, often confusing question

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Telekinetic
3.4 / 5 (26) Jul 31, 2012
Without invoking any mysticism, exploration is mankind's destiny. From the earliest travels of Polynesians, Greeks, and Vikings up to today's ventures into space, it is almost "written in the stars" that we follow our instincts into the unknown. If we could entice both our allies and enemies alike to share in the spoils that can be had from space, we could save the money squandered in wars that would then make the tab compare to the cost of a cab ride. The real question is "what is the cost if we don't continue space exploration?"
Nydoc
3.8 / 5 (10) Jul 31, 2012
NASA get's less than half a penny out of every tax dollar. 0.46% of the total annual US budget goes to NASA. If you think that's not enough then check out the penny4nasa petition to double NASA's funding.
Rhada
1 / 5 (15) Jul 31, 2012
I would say exploration should keep up, because in that way we'll be able to answer all the mysteries the red planet enclose, specially regarding to Pyramids and other structures found in the planet and also to clarify what Government is hidding....
Bewia
1 / 5 (8) Jul 31, 2012
Robotic exploration of Mars indeed has some meaning - if nothing else, than just for the finding, that this planet is not worth of exploration with humans.
Without invoking any mysticism, exploration is mankind's destiny.
Of course, but we shouldn't be sure during this, there is nothing to explore. Without it it's just a waste of resources, which could be otherwise used for some other real exploration.
nuge
2.7 / 5 (7) Jul 31, 2012
I'm not so interested in whether there is life on Mars. I'm more interested in whether we could live on Mars.
Bewia
1.4 / 5 (11) Jul 31, 2012
whether we could live on Mars
The answer of such question actually depends on our way of life here at the Earth. The sufficiently rich human society would be able to prepare its living condition at whatever planet of solar system. If we would fight for the rest of oil instead of exploitation of cold fusion, we wouldn't soon be able to live even at the Earth.
Vendicar_Decarian
3.1 / 5 (15) Jul 31, 2012
It is good to see a Democrat defending NASA against Republican budget cutters.

Unfortunately 40 years of Borrow and Spend Republicanism has bankrupted America and NASA will be high on the Republican list of successful American projects to destroy.
Bewia
1.8 / 5 (10) Jul 31, 2012
I'm not Republican in my very nature, but IMO we should judge the things in their historical context. The Republicans established their politics in times of poor Arabs, devastated Russia and cheap oil and natural resources, which required a somewhat different approach, then the contemporary situation. Now the Republicans appear bad guys because this situation changed, but we shouldn't forget, that the politics of Democrats was way more republican during Reagan era than the politics of Republicans right now.
a Democrat defending NASA against Republican budget cutters
It's the Democratic party government, which cuts the budget of NASA by now. Yes, these cuts are result of fiscal crisis, which started during Republican government. But NASA projects profited well during Republican era.
Telekinetic
1.3 / 5 (13) Jul 31, 2012
"It's the Democratic party government, which cuts the budget of NASA by now. Yes, these cuts are result of fiscal crisis, which started during Republican government. But NASA projects profited well during Republican era."-Bewia

In keeping with historical context, the Reagan administration saw space as the ultimate battleground with the introduction of the "Star Wars" missile defense system, which was perceived by the Soviet Union as an offensive threat. If you thought George W. Bush wanted to usher in Armageddon to fulfill the biblical prophecy, Reagan wanted to end Communism with the push of a button, a lifelong dream of all Republicans.
Bewia
1.9 / 5 (9) Jul 31, 2012
Reagan wanted to end Communism with the push of a button
Umm, Reagan didn't want to "eradicate the Commies" - after all, he was first who started the dialogue with them (Reagan - Gorbatchew) after long line of democratic presidents. What Reagan actually did was he replaced the former Mutual Assured Destruction doctrine with Strategic Defense Initiative, the main purpose of which was to prohibit the destruction of USA with Russian nuclear missiles instead of destruction of Russia with single "red button" - in this sense his politics was exactly the opposite.
ACW
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 01, 2012
I believe that Mars is worth the investment and Dr. Zubrin's plan seems to be quite viable.

http://www.nss.or...ise.html
ubavontuba
1.4 / 5 (15) Aug 01, 2012
Is exploring Mars worth the investment?
Yes, so long as it's viewed as a precursor to human habitation.

Curiosity, as the Mars Science Laboratory rover is known, is over budget at $2.5 billion.
And yet they couldn't bother with putting a microscope on it.
Vendicar_Decarian
2.7 / 5 (6) Aug 01, 2012
A microscope is pointless since other devices on the craft are more sensitive to biological material.

UbVonTard thinks he knows what Martians will look like and will be able to immediately identify a microscopic one.

Foolish.

ubavontuba
2.2 / 5 (13) Aug 01, 2012
A microscope is pointless since other devices on the craft are more sensitive to biological material.
Who's to say Martian biology (if it exists) fits our models? And microscopes have utility, beyond the search for organic compounds.
Gigel
3.3 / 5 (3) Aug 01, 2012
Our survival as a species depends on space colonization. In fact, it is vital we establish permanent colonies on the Moon and Mars before any big war started. Today the New World English colonies are the strongest state on Earth, tomorrow it will be the Lunar United States or the Martian Confederation. In comparison countries from Earth will be second- or third-world countries. It's the way of the progress.
Sanescience
2.8 / 5 (11) Aug 01, 2012
Time and again I let myself get sucked into these discussions where it isn't really a discussion, just people getting their cathartic dose by disagreeing.

So this time I'll just say that most people think the future of man is in space. And that the culture that most successfully extends into space will be a dominant force in the human history for a very long time.

But there is a "catch". Make a bid with the wrong, or insufficient, technology and you will waste all the resources involved. That is pretty much what the first space race was about and both forays ultimately fizzled.

The next go around is probably going to start in the next couple of decades and involve US, China, and the EU (maybe) and probably not Russia. Between now and then we better keep our funding at a level to maintain a substantial level of expertise in space access sciences.

And whatever anybody tells you, the Moon is going to be "high strategic ground" in matters of Earth security.
sirchick
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 01, 2012
By my understanding living on mars is only possible inside a dome or suits if you are not in a dome, you couldnt terraform it to be like earth. I think it was because the core has solidified and thus the mangetic protection from solar winds has gone, and subsequently stripped away the surface and atmosphere....we would have to be pretty desperate to have to live on mars.

Unless we go there for periods of time for scientific experiments, thats proabably more achieveable.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (7) Aug 01, 2012
Is Mars exploration a good investment?

Who cares? You never know if something totally unknown will be worthwhile until you do it.

Let's just say that for the price of a single stealth bomber (2.1 billion - which has a VERY dubious return on investment) one could afford two missions to Mars. And somehow no one has any problemy in buying these bombers by the dozen.

Perspective, people, perspective.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
3 / 5 (1) Aug 01, 2012
It is the economical starvation that has put all eggs in one basket. If MSL can show preserved organics, there will be incentive for sample return. But even so, to find fossils on Earth you have to let paleontologists sample many formations before you find the fossil bearing ones. At the current rate it means it will take decades or centuries before we know of Mars was inhabited.

@ Telekinetic: Half the time of Moderns (~ 200 000 years) we were africans (~100 000 years). But it turns out we were utilizing finite resources even then, the cultures were born and went dead. Better to say we are exploiters.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
5 / 5 (2) Aug 01, 2012
@ nuge:

I am interested in Moon and Mars because what they can tell us about Earth and the old question whether we are alone. Moon keeps a rock record by ejecta from periods we have lost ours. Mars helps constrain the process from chemical to biological evolution.

But of course it is also interesting as a habitat as we start exploiting the system.

@ ubavontuba:

MSL has two microscopes for the same reason as the MERs: for mineralogical characterization. The ChemCam RMI (Remote Micro-Imager) resolves submillimeter on extant rocks, the MAHLI (Mars Hand Lens Imager) resolves 10s of micrometers.
ryggesogn2
1.5 / 5 (15) Aug 01, 2012
Is it worth who's 'investment'?
So far there has been NO investment. Only plundered taxpayer's money being used to explore Mars.
What do the taxpayers expect for their 'investments'?
Is this equivalent to Spain's funding of Columbus? If so, most here I suspect are very critical of Columbus and the 'invasion' of America.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
3 / 5 (1) Aug 01, 2012
[cont]

But I assume you are asking why they look for extant or extinct habitability instead of life. (By organics and their preservation, as we have found energy (UV, geothermal) and water (ice, brines).)

This is because Viking showed that you most likely will have to do it like microbiologists do on Earth, first learn how to grow stuff or today how to mass sequence environmental samples for genomes, then study what you can grow or sequence en masse.

I do think they should do one possible shortcut before an extensive sample return program. There are reasons to believe RNA can be chemically selected for on terrestrials, in principle (since we use it) and in practice (since it is more catalytically active in anoxic conditions with iron - fresh work, but it looks promising). So if they find organics they could look for it. Unfortunately it doesn't preserve well, so it would be a Hail Mary for looking at extant life.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Aug 01, 2012
Is this equivalent to Spain's funding of Columbus? If so, most here I suspect are very critical of Columbus and the 'invasion' of America.

But the return on investment was HUGE in terms of gold, silver, etc.

While one may argue that the invested money was taxpayer money and the return on investment only benefitted the rich.
But that's exactly how the present system works: invest taxpayer money (in science, infrastructure, initial funding and whatnot) and let the companies reap the benefit.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
5 / 5 (2) Aug 01, 2012
@ ryggesogn2:

To arrive at such a question one must entertain an implicit conspiracy theory, that all governments subsidizing research can't be responsible against their voters.

Governments subsidize research because it has good ROI. According to NASA statistics space research has among the best ROI you can find for any investment. (You can google that.)

But as in many investments you can't tell which will pay off. Is study of gravity going to pay off? Yes, GPS would be impossible without GR corrections. Is study of semiconductors going to pay off? Yes, computers would be impossible without them. Is study of space going to pay off? Yes, methods and materials have payed off splendidly (see NASA), from weather simulations to lightweight alloys.
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (11) Aug 01, 2012
But the return on investment was HUGE in terms of gold, silver,

In the long run it did not really help Spain. The sudden influx of gold into the world decreased the value of gold, motivated the Brits and made the Spanish 'cocky'.
The real wealth was in development of the Americas, especially Anglo North America.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
not rated yet Aug 01, 2012
[cont]

The most exciting now is the ISS work showing how space lower the immune system. You can develop more efficient and less side effect drugs faster by utilizing that.

The world drug market is ~ 800 billion $ (~ 700 billion $ 2007) with ~ 10 % increase. If ISS cuts into that market with 1-2 percent, the 150 billion $ ISS would be repaid in 10-20 years only on that single item.

And it would have done a world of good in helping do a good world.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Aug 01, 2012
In the long run it did not really help Spain.

That source of wealth made Spain a world power (THE dominat power in the west) for almost 2 centuries. That's not to be sneered at.

The real wealth was in development of the Americas, especially Anglo North America.

But that's not value to the investors.

But anyhow you just made my point: without Columbus -or someone like him- none of your so called "real wealth" would have happened at all. So the investment of three ships has paid off handsomly whichever way you look at it - even though the first investors didn't know whether they'd simply send three ships "over the edge" (attrition in exploratory vessels was quite high back then. One reason why they sent three ships instead of one)
Telekinetic
1 / 5 (9) Aug 01, 2012
Umm, Reagan didn't want to "eradicate the Commies" - after all, he was first who started the dialogue with them (Reagan - Gorbatchew) after long line of democratic presidents. What Reagan actually did was he replaced the former Mutual Assured Destruction doctrine with Strategic Defense Initiative, the main purpose of which was to prohibit the destruction of USA with Russian nuclear missiles instead of destruction of Russia with single "red button" - in this sense his politics was exactly the opposite.
-Bewia

Surprising how you've fallen for the propaganda of the media during Reagan's presidency. I thought you could see through it. Reagan used everything in his power to sink the Soviet Union short of nuclear attack. Since the McCarthy era, Reagan was a virulent anti-communist, and film industry people suffered needlessly from this witchhunt. His economic destruction of the U.S.S.R. is documented:
http://www.freere...41/posts
Telekinetic
1.4 / 5 (11) Aug 01, 2012
" But if I were to say, my fellow citizens, that we shall send to the moon, 240,000 miles away from the control station in Houston, a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall, the length of this football field, made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented, capable of standing heat and stresses several times more than have ever been experienced, fitted together with a precision better than the finest watch, carrying all the equipment needed for propulsion, guidance, control, communications, food and survival, on an untried mission, to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to earth, re-entering the atmosphere at speeds of over 25,000 miles per hour, causing heat about half that of the temperature of the sun--almost as hot as it is here today--and do all this, and do it right, and do it first before this decade is out--then we must be bold."-John Kennedy,1962(Democrat)
Satene
1 / 5 (8) Aug 01, 2012
His economic destruction of the U.S.S.R. is documented
Actually my propagation of cold fusion is partially motivated with the same strategy. I can't understand, that the average Americans cannot understand it - each day, during which they're delaying the implementation of cold fusion they're not only contributing to global warming and depletion of natural resources, but they're sponsoring the development of weapons to their native enemies through oil consumed. The best way, how to show the Russians and Arabians where their actual place is is not to buy their gas and oil. But we have a problem with this strategy by now: it's the richest Americans itself, i.e. fossil fuel oligarchy who are motivated into continuation of fossil fuel business.
Peteri
5 / 5 (4) Aug 01, 2012
Compared to what was recently spent globally on bailing out the blood-sucking banking system, the cost of space exploration pales into insignificance!
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (12) Aug 01, 2012
"However, the large volumes of precious metals from America led to inflation, which had a negative effect on the poorer part of the population, as goods became overpriced. This also hampered exports, as expensive goods could not compete in international markets"
http://en.wikiped...of_Spain
TheDoctor
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 01, 2012
With the steady increase of human populations globally along with the increasing demand for the finite resources this planet has to offer. It is my belief that it is essential that humankind to branch out into the solar system in the short term and on to interstellar space in the long term. There is much work to be done; it is my hope that passionate, dedicated, and visionary people join together worldwide for this great human endeavor.
CapitalismPrevails
1 / 5 (9) Aug 01, 2012
"We're talking about a small amount of money in the grand scheme of things," Paige said.

This is always the rational. It's just pennies but more and more pennies keep getting added onto the budget incrementally. And those pennies add up. It's like the boiling frog analogy in regards to incrementally higher and higher IRS taxes or inflation taxes taken from the private sector.

"Even that price tag is dwarfed by the more than $600 billion the Defense Department will spend in 2012."

And i'm certain that most countries have a dwarfed space exploration budget compared to their military budget. Space budgets don't create political clout for use in international trade. A government's primary mission is to protect it's citizens, no a space budget.

ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (12) Aug 01, 2012
If the UN grants full property rights to the first ones to land on Mars, maybe it would be worth the investment.
But if the govts of the Earth treat Mars as they do Antarctica, why should anyone invest their own wealth?
rwinners
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 01, 2012
The question of this article is why I believe that humans need to learn to create their own moveable habitat in space now so as to move easily, if slowly, between destinations.
What would this cost?
rubberman
1.4 / 5 (9) Aug 02, 2012
The question of this article is why I believe that humans need to learn to create their own moveable habitat in space now so as to move easily, if slowly, between destinations.
What would this cost?


600 billion dollars....
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (4) Aug 02, 2012
Very true. After 40 years of Republican Tax cutting, America is now in deep, deep debt.

A debt that it will never escape.

"This is always the rational. It's just pennies but more and more pennies keep getting added onto the budget incrementally. And those pennies add up." - CapitalismHasFailed
TheGhostofOtto_Loves_RitchieGuy
1.8 / 5 (10) Aug 03, 2012
Vendicar is correct. And for the next 40 years and more, there needs to be higher and higher taxes to fund all the good things that the Dem Socialists will want to do, including all their earmarks. Repub tax cuts were so wrong. All that money that never went to the treasury out of the pockets of those greedy tea partiers and their grannies.
With that higher tax money it could've gone to hire more government workers, maybe a million USPS workers instead of only 614,000 just sitting around waiting for more mail to come in.
There's a lot of other things that tax money could have been spent on, like improving all of the union buildings, new furniture, etc. Instead, American workers got to keep more of their money instead of handing it over to Uncle Sam's lockbox.
Those Repubs must be crazy. Americans don't know what do with their own money and they'll only spend it on new Reeboks. or a new car.
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (4) Aug 03, 2012
Otto conveniently forgets the 15 trillion America spent on killing civilians over the last 30 years in wars of aggression. The trillion or so that America it has given Israel to murder it's neighbors over the last 30 years.

And then there is the 10 trillion Americans have paid in intrest in their debt over the last 30 years, and the trillion Americans paid to resolve the first Republican banking disaster - the Savings and Loan crisis, and now the one to two trillion to resolve the new banking crisis created by failed Libertarian/Randite economic theory.

But of course, all of this has been part of the Republican/Libertarian plan to bankrupt the American Government. To "Starve the beast" of government to impoverish the American people and increase their slavery to America's Corporate elites.

If Americans are still so stupid that they don't know what the Republican plan of treason that they call "starve the beast", then all they need to do is enter the phrase into Google, and read.
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (4) Aug 03, 2012
Here are a couple of links to get stupid Americans started.

http://www.forbes...ett.html

Paul Krugman / Starve the beast: Fiscal calamity is the GOP's plan to shrink government

http://www.post-g...2SYblkC2

Norquist: No-Tax Pledge at New Peak

http://blogs.wsj....ew-peak/
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (7) Aug 03, 2012
@Torbjorn_Larsson_OM:
MSL has two microscopes for the same reason as the MERs: for mineralogical characterization. The ChemCam RMI (Remote Micro-Imager) resolves submillimeter on extant rocks, the MAHLI (Mars Hand Lens Imager) resolves 10s of micrometers.
It only has a resolution of 13.9 micrometers per pixel (just the right size to completely obscure anything on the microcellular scale).

If the purpose of the mission is to find organics (or microfossils), this resolution is much too course to be very useful.

It's also too course to view very fine mineral structure.

TheGhostofOtto_Loves_RitchieGuy
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 04, 2012
uh sorry Vendi, thanks for reminding me, I had forgotten all about that. I don't know where my mind is sometimes.
-I think it's all because of those damn religionists messing up my mind all the time. I can't stop thinking about them.
TheGhostofOtto_Loves_RitchieGuy
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 04, 2012
A microscope is pointless since other devices on the craft are more sensitive to biological material.

UbVonTard thinks he knows what Martians will look like and will be able to immediately identify a microscopic one.

Foolish.

-Vendi
And don't forget all those900 ft. glassy headed Martians that pussy always sees in Mars pictures..
Shotgunfred
2.7 / 5 (3) Aug 04, 2012
Why had nobody complained about or even noticed the 600 Billion spent on Defense Department each year? Doesn't anyone else think that is an absurd amount to be spending each year? 600 Billion per year spent defending a country where one in four children is living without consistent access to food! Protection from poorer countries that most likely owe America a debt for liberating their populous so they can work in their sweat shops and factories for pittance!

I had to point that out first as it's key, way more money should be going into space exploration/missions, our whole species benefits from the knowledge! What is needed is dramatic changes but this will not happen quickly because too many generations have got used to the current system! We need a constant stream of growth for the economy to run but look at all the waste that is produced to maintain this illusion of growth. We design things to fail, this has to stop, we need to set aside our differences and work together!
Jeddy_Mctedder
1 / 5 (8) Aug 04, 2012
for decades we've been spending money we don't have. since the u.s. went off the gold standard in the 1970's the dollars value gas gone down drammatically. now 40 years later, the net effect of the economy made possible by fiat is that the u.s. government and the public households and private businesses of the u.s. are literally drowning in debt.

nasa and other govenrment agencies will long for the day they reffered to 8 billion as peanuts.

pianoman
1 / 5 (7) Aug 05, 2012
Why is it that nobody has acknowledged the Hale Crater phenomena on Mars? You can look up the Hale Crater video through the European Space Agency. Like to see some comments on that!
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (1) Aug 05, 2012
The result of excessive contrast and or edge enhancement.

"Hale Crater phenomena on Mars?' - PianoTard

Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (2) Aug 05, 2012
Two people live on and island. One produces fish, the other coconuts.

They exchange fish and coconuts using the single penny coin they found on the island.

Two more people wash ashore. They wish to begin trade, but how can they do so with only one penny in circulation?

"since the u.s. went off the gold standard in the 1970's the dollars value gas gone down drammatically." - JeddyTard

It is called a "money supply" for a reason.

One day you might figure out what that reason is.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (1) Aug 05, 2012
Who could forget those horny Martian beasts.

"And don't forget all those900 ft. glassy headed Martians" - Otto
kochevnik
1 / 5 (4) Aug 05, 2012
@ryggesogn2 "The amount the U.S. military spends annually on air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan: $20.2 billion, according to a former Pentagon official. That's more than NASA's budget."