why is nasa misappropriating its limited funds on boondoggles like the mars rover?
2012-08-25 18:32:15 UTC
this latest rover is nasa's most expensive unmanned mission yet, $2.5 billion dollars. what's worse it's already been done twice before and accomplishes nothing new. just more pictures of rocks and dirt.

nasa's is supposed to spend its funding to advance aviation technology and utilize space technology to improve our lives on earth. planetary exploration does none of that. but it is enormously expensive and siphons away all the funds from worthwhile projects.

they could have spent that $2.5 billion launching dozens of satellites to monitor the weather, hurricanes, global warming, to detect pollution, to improve communications, search for natural resources or provide gps positioning, saving hundreds or maybe thousands of lives. they could have built wind tunnels, tested hundreds of experimental aircraft designs, funded hundreds of projects to build safer and more fuel efficient airplanes saving hundreds more lives each year and thousands of gallons of jet fuel each year. how can they justify such waste?
Twelve answers:
2012-09-01 20:09:04 UTC
I agree. Medicare and social security are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy but our government is throwing away trillions of dollars on bank bailouts, bridges to nowhere and stupid space shots. It's about time to end the waste and stupidity.
2012-08-30 06:01:04 UTC
Fluoride, your question just shows profound ignorance of the NASA mission, as well as of the costs of other programs. Since February 2006, NASA's mission statement has been to "pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research. The vision statement is "To reach for new heights and reveal the unknown so that what we do and learn will benefit all humankind". You will note that space exploration is part of that mission. That means they have to do science, not just develop systems for practical applications. As far as costs, the Cassini mission cost 3.3 billion through 2008, I don't have the costs for mission extensions since then. The total cost of the Hubble Space Telescope over the life of the program was estimated to be ten billion dollars. Remember that this includes all development going back thirty years, as well as the five shuttle service missions. The current cost of the James Webb Space Telescope is estimated at 8.7 billion dollars. As you can see, Curiosity is nowhere near being the most expensive unmanned science mission. I have not even tried to include manned programs like Apollo, Shuttle, or ISS.

Curiosity does much more than just take more pictures of rocks and dirt, as you so stupidly put it. In addition to the seventeen cameras, there are a total of ten science experiments, but you clearly know nothing about that.

The terms misappropriating and boondoggles are really loaded terms, and again merely show more of your own ignorance of the purpose of NASA. We are so lucky that you are not in charge of NASA funding or project planning!

I assume that you believe that any kind of scientific research is of no value unless it directly affects life on earth. Fortunately, there are still a few people around with a bit of curiosity and desire to explore that you seem to lack. You probably would have told Columbus not to waste the time or money sailing west, after all everyone knows he would sail off the edge of the earth.
green meklar
2012-08-26 17:07:56 UTC
>what's worse it's already been done twice before and accomplishes nothing new. just more pictures of rocks and dirt.

Thanks for demonstrating that you have absolutely no idea how exploration, geology and planetary science work. What you just said makes no more sense than saying that the voyages of John Cabot were pointless and a waste of money because Columbus had already been to the New World. Think about that.

>nasa's is supposed to spend its funding to advance aviation technology and utilize space technology to improve our lives on earth. planetary exploration does none of that.

On the contrary, it gives us a better understanding of what we can expect from this planet and its geology and ecosystem, and prepares us better for colonizing Mars if we need to do that (keeping all our eggs in one basket is not a good long-term plan).

If you look at the past, just about every endeavor considered to be 'pure science' at the time ended up having important practical values. Many of the greatest thinkers in history discovered or invented things that seemed pointless to their contemporaries, but which we make use of every day. If science were not at least a few steps ahead of practicality, then practicality would start to slow down. We need science to blaze the trail.
2012-08-26 01:41:59 UTC
Have you ever checked out the HUGE list of things we have and use that were made possible because of the efforts we put forward to explore space?

Go to, and search for spinoffs ( is close).

Other countries' space efforts and agencies have made more.

Do you not think we already have a very significant investment in weather and pollution monitoring, GPS, emergency position reporting beacons (EPIRBs), land and water resource monitoring, and even more --- and yes, there are wind tunnels for subsonic, transsonic, and supersonic aircraft, that do allow people like Boeing and Airbus to build more efficient aircraft.

Maybe the right thing is to extract the money from the education system that is wasted in not teaching you about these things and use it to help the space programs. How is it possible to justify what we have wasted on education, given the large number of questions like this that are repeatedly asked without anyone searching the archives and finding the same answers over and over?
Jason T
2012-08-26 06:53:25 UTC
They already spend huge sections of their budget on the things you list as better uses of their funding. Why do you argue in one paragraph that they wasted money doing something that had been done before, then in another argue that they should spend their money on other things that have been done before?

NASA's budget and how they plan to use it is the subject of detailed reviews and proposals to the US congress. They are not given a pile of money and told: 'here, go spend this on whatever you like'. So it would seem that, fortunately, some people are less short-sighted than you and can see that there is more to Mars exploration than 'pictures of rocks and dirt'. It's called sceince, and some people realise that there doesn't have to be an obvious immediate practical benefit in order to justify doing pure research.
Stan Dalone
2012-08-26 02:55:09 UTC
Shows how much attention you've been paying. Curiosity isn't a boondoggle, and it's capable of doing a whole bunch more things than Spirit and Opportunity can/could. That's why they couldn't land it with airbags like the other two--it's much too big and heavy, because it's basically a roving laboratory on the surface of another planet (and how cool is that?). Curiosity can look for actual fossils of ancient life on Mars, if there are any, and other signs of actual life, living or (most likely) dead. Spirit and Opportunity basically just looked for signs of water on the planet.

There's a ton of good science to be done on Mars, questions to be answered, and the only way to get those answers is to go there in person or send a probe. If there is a boondoggle at NASA, it's in its manned program. Manned spaceflight is much more expensive than unmanned, even for big projects like Curiosity.
2012-08-26 01:40:47 UTC
Your opinion and twenty five cents will get you a Senior coffee at McDonald's.

The Curiosity mission is going well, on schedule, mostly on budget and we already have many new amazing results from the new tech being tried out. How you see this as a "boondoggle" is beyond me, unless you just learned that word, I suppose, and thought it was fun to try it out.

Two and a half billion is less than the cost of sewage disposal aboard an aircraft carrier for a year. If you want to look at a genuine boondoggle, look no farther than the US military budget. If you want to see misappropriation, check out the new (useless) fighter plane. Costs could push that to one TRILLION dollars. Hope you are wealthy!
2012-08-26 03:07:38 UTC
Misappropriation is another word for stealing, and NASA is not stealing money.

NASA has limited authority to direct money to specific projects (congress has more), and to the extent that they do so, they are doing what they are supposed to do. It is not a crime for them to pick projects you do not prefer.

NASA no longer launches or operates weather satellites, NOAA does.

NASA already has wind tunnels and does aeronautical research. It just doesn't make the news.
2012-08-26 01:51:03 UTC
What kind of boondoggle would you prefer they spend the money on?

I'm pretty sure you'd be whining about whatever project they have in the news. If NASA launched a satellite that could cure cancer you'd probably be upset they they weren't using it to paint your garage.
2012-08-26 02:20:43 UTC
what is that? about a week of war in Iraq?

you are wrong about accomplishing nothing new. It's a whole new set of experiments about life detection amongst many other things.

you want to go after waste, go after the military that gobbles 40% of the nations taxes.
Lodar of the Hill People
2012-08-26 01:47:26 UTC
This rover will do a little bit more than just take pictures.
2012-08-26 02:20:17 UTC
You have just publicly demonstrated what a raving moron you are. Congratulations.

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