Stuck in the dark

The CBC published the article “Stuck Mars rover has uncertain future.” It describes how the Martian rover Spirit is stuck in sand. This is of particular concern because winter is coming and if it can’t move to orient its solar panels toward the sun, it may not survive until spring.

It’s an interesting story because we’re exploring another planet. Yes, another planet! I’m also blown away by the Mars Exploration Rover Mission because the rovers themselves, Spirit and Opportunity, each had a projected three-month mission. Here we are six years later and they’re both still working. How’s that for some engineering?

What really annoys me is the people who can’t seem to see the obvious.

If you’re not interested an any sort of space science, that’s certainly okay by me. You’re missing out, but that’s your choice and I respect it. You rapidly move into the ‘pissing me off’ territory if you talk about how it’s all a waste of money.

Reading the article comments, I was disappointed to see how many people seem to believe this. Some genius who calls himself/herself “The Har” wrote:

I am all for scientific progress. But to put it into perspective, if the US government put the money from this program alone into medical research, they would probably cure cancer. Ummm, cure cancer or figure out if Mars ever had water on it? Are you kidding me?

How about you use your little brain to realize your idea is nonsense before you post it in public?

Five minutes with Google gave me a few numbers:

  • The total cost of the Mars Exploration Rover Mission was $944 million. This includes both mission extensions.
  • The United States Federal Government spent $4.9 billion on cancer research in 2002. That’s only the US Federal Government in one year.
  • In 1971, President Nixon declared war on cancer. Since that time, the public and private sectors have spent $200 billion dollars on research.

So we’re to believe that an extra billion is all we need to find a cure after 30 years and $200 billion have failed to do the trick? Give me a fucking break, okay? Use your head and think before you make a fool of yourself.

Following a similar theme, a user named FIND/EM/GUILTY wrote:

And to think. With all the money they have blown sending robots to another planet for no reason what so ever. They could of [sic] wiped out half the world poverty.

And to think … you didn’t bother thinking.

In 1997, the United Nations looked into the efforts required to eradicating poverty. Citing the United Nation’s World Economic and Social Survey, 1997, the UN claims,

The … costs of providing basic social services for all in developing countries is estimated at about US $40 billion a year over the next 10 years.

The sum needed to close the gap between the annual income of poor people and the minimum income at which they would no longer be poor is estimated at another US$ 40 billion a year. Thus, to provide universal access to basic social services and transfers to alleviate income poverty would cost roughly US$ 80 billion

So now we’re to believe that one billion will take care of half the poverty in the world while the UN says it’ll take $800 billion to eradicate it all? Idiot.

A billion isn’t what it used to be … and doesn’t even touch the trickle-down advances space science has brought us. Here we are in the most technologically advanced civilization humans have ever built, and too many of us are blind to where it all came from and exactly what it means to our day-to-day lives.

Lord, deliver us from the clueless.

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3 Comments

  1. Des
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 07:26 | Permalink

    How do you really feel Rick? You shouldn’t keep things bottle up it’s not healthy you know 🙂

    • Rick
      Posted January 6, 2010 at 08:48 | Permalink

      You’re right. I’ll try not to internalize my feelings in the future!

  2. Kathleen Masse
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 13:57 | Permalink

    Like, dude… like.. awesome and like… smart post. That thing you said about, like, how Mars is gonna help us cure cancer? Duuuude! – Dudette

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