November 10th, 2011
05:19 PM ET

NASA preps rover flight to Mars

NASA scientists said Thursday the launch of its Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft in about two weeks could yield a potential “home run” in space exploration.

The new rover Curiosity, bigger and better than its predecessors, is at the forefront of NASA’s effort to investigate Mars for the possibility of habitable life.

Speaking to reporters, Doug McCuistion, director of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, wouldn’t take the bait when asked how likely it was that Mars once had life.

“That’s kind of a request for speculation and I really hate to do that,” he said, adding that the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, a spacecraft the agency uses to study the planet from afar, has found evidence of “briny waters that could actually be liquidly waters on the surface.”

The $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft is scheduled for liftoff at 10:25 a.m.  on November 25 from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Once the sedan-sized Curiosity launches, it will travel about nine months to the surface of the Mars, landing around August 2012.

As an ideal landing spot, scientists have selected the Gale Crater, a 96-mile expanse with a mountain in its core.

Ashwin Vasavada, deputy project scientist for the Mars Science Laboratory, said Curiosity will give the space agency a treasure trove of data on the soil and rock content of the planet.

Of particular interest, Vasavada said, are clay minerals visible from orbit. “We will have a definitive knowledge of the minerals with this rover,” he said.

Curiosity will carry about 10 science instruments, including “the workhorse laboratory” the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM), Vasavada said. The mobile lab will be able to examine soil and rock formations in several different environments. “If any of those really scream out as being a habitable environment, we’ll tell you,” Vasavada said.

“If we find something it’s a home run,” he said.

Peter Theisinger, director of the Engineering and Science Directorate at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said once the mission reaches the Martian atmosphere there are several unknowns that could be problematic.

“I think the thing at the top of my concern list is what I don’t know,” he said. As much planning as went into building the rover, a number of variables can spell disaster and, “You can’t test for them,” he said. “There’s always going to be surprises. What you worry about is if there’s something there that’s really serious,” like software issues or long duration of exposure, he said.

If weather does not permit liftoff on the scheduled day, NASA has made preparations to launch up until December 18, the agency said.

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Filed under: In Space • News
soundoff (319 Responses)
  1. Earth2u

    Earth is a cess pool with 7 billion souls screaming for survival. Having a space program puts you into the elite status among those 7 billion souls. Why would you want to throw that away? With that said, Mars is being explored to answer questions such as, Can we as human beings live on mars? Is there water on Mars or has there ever been water and life on the planet? Great amount of evidence has been collected and some questions partially answered. Next step is to send supplies to Mars, and then send a small group of people to solve another question – Can humans live on Mars?

    I personally think Mars has as much appeal as a desert in Antarctica. But, then again, I never really been a fan of permafrost and rocks. The only thing that Mars has to offer is just by being an object of desire for space fanatics, it causes us to create technology to deal with the challanges of going to mars and staying there. So Mars' use is that it indirectly causes humans to become more technologicaly advance.

    November 12, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
  2. helenecha

    Well, Curiosity will travel about nine months to the surface of the Mars, landing around August 2012. Godspeed to NASA mission!

    November 12, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • Steve

      Here's hoping this 'waste of money' blows up on lift-off!

      November 13, 2011 at 1:44 am |
      • paverset

        Here's hoping idiots like you don't procreate.

        November 13, 2011 at 9:50 am |
      • Pat

        Your own logic defeats you. If it's truly a waste of money, wouldn't you rather see it revealed as such by not finding anything of significance rather than being lost in launch? The cost of doing it all again would surely also be seen as a waste in your view.

        Fact is, as science-fictiony as it sounds - if we never branch off this planet, humans are doomed to extinction (but not in our lifetimes, so let's just not worry about it, right Steve?).

        November 14, 2011 at 7:20 am |
  3. tyronne

    Mars is essential. Failure, in terms of expansion of human civilization into space, will result in extinction of the human race. Mars is the most logical first choice in any effort to colonize the Solar System.

    November 12, 2011 at 11:26 am |
  4. Brian

    I wish NASA had a bigger budget. I dont think most people understand that majority of the tech we have today all came about because of the space race we had with the ruskies.

    Those who bitch about money needs to be spent better and waste of there tax dollars. Fun fact only a fraction of a penny from your taxes goes to NASA again this makes me sad I would rather put more money into NASA.

    Also I find my self a bit bored with Earth. I my self would love to see a way to conlonize Mars. Nothing left to explore here(except the ocean) I think it would be pretty awesome to live on a new rock.

    November 12, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • Canuck

      Agreed. And NASA is the world leader. In these hard times, the Canadian Government should join in as a partner to keep this type of exploration going.

      November 12, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
      • Reid

        The Canadian Space Agency is a partner in this mission.....see link:
        http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/media/advisories/2011/1108.asp

        November 12, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
  5. dudley0415

    Grew up in the shadow of the Cape. Love NASA. Love what they do. But a $2.5bn space lab when the previous rover mission were about $250mn/per seems extravagant in this environment of $17 TRILLION debt – I realize they plan these a decade ahead – .

    Not sure how much of even the discovery of ancient life on Mars will do to improve my nation other than to entertain us. We don't even have a heavy lift capability anymore. Since we have lost interest in the Space Program why are we spending 2.5bn on a single spacecraft?

    November 12, 2011 at 1:21 am |
  6. xavier

    Every single dream, hope, aspirasions for the future is in the hands of those who dare to explore around and find things .. NASA has my due respects in the way I view my world and cosmos today .. Hats off to you guys .. If no one dared to explore I would not have had my beloved country today .. Knowledge dispels darkness .. Even the Islamic world today realises it.. better late than never .. Every dollar , I have payed as taxes used for reserch is a dollar well spend .. Xavier..

    November 11, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
    • CrazyOwlLady

      Hear, hear. Well said, Xavier.

      November 12, 2011 at 11:35 am |
  7. ORDINARY GIRL

    HAVE MIND WILL TRAVEL? WITH SO MANY PEOPLE STARVING, WHO'S FOOTING THE BILL?

    November 11, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • Jason

      You never know, there could be some new kind of fuel under the surface of Mars, if we never go, we will never know. There are so many possibilities, it is totally worth it.

      November 12, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • stug

      "WITH SO MANY PEOPLE STARVING, WHO'S FOOTING THE BILL?"

      The american taxpayers are footing the bill to a tune of 1/10th of a penny for every dollar spent in taxes. And THAT is the ENTIRE NASA Budget, of which only a fraction payed for this rover.

      In fact the NASA budget pays MY SALARY so it is paying to put food in my children's mouths & funding their healthcare & college tuition.

      If you took ALL of NASA's budget away, it would make an insignificant dent in the problems "here on earth".

      Just look up what the U.S. Defense budget is.
      Over the last few years we have given Pakistan MORE than the NASA yearly budget, and what do we have to show for that investment? A stab in the back?

      November 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  8. anon

    Umm, CNN? Pete Theisinger is not the Director if the Engineering and Science Directorate, though I'm sure he likes to think he is, he's the MSL project manager. Might want to get your facts straight.

    November 11, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
  9. larry5

    Did this project sneak past Obama's veto powers? If this project is successful might it re-affirm our leadership and thus make it a target for Obama to cancel? This man could very well praise the project in his speeches and behind the scenes cancel it.

    November 11, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
  10. p3p

    "...effort to investigate Mars for the possibility of habitable life." What is "habitable life", and how does it differ from other forms of life?

    November 11, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Jason

      Somebody slept through science/biology class in highschool...

      November 12, 2011 at 10:28 am |
  11. Morgan

    As someone who works at educating the public about science topics, I'm thrilled! We're really amping up the excitement leading up to the launch. The findings of Spirit and Opportunity have been above and beyond; both rovers really went the distance in increasing human knowledge. May Curiosity continue their efforts!

    November 11, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  12. Hoofleau

    NASA is spending your tax dollars to see if Mars is a possibility in case the ultra rich want to flee the earth. These missions will not benefit you or me, I guarantee it. Waste of time and money. Why not bust a few asteroids instead?

    November 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • Joe

      Its about expanding human knowledge and could leads to advancements in science and technology. Why is it in the last few years all the word cares about is money and not about advancing the human civilization?

      November 11, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
      • William Amerman

        Great point! Humans have always had a fortunate tendency towards exploration. Just look at our first forays out of Africa. If we had never left Africa, I doubt we would be the advanced civilization we are today.

        November 11, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • JBHedgehog

      Please go back to your closet and let the adults run things.

      November 11, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Andrew

      You guarantee it? Really? Then you must not know a lot about the process of building one of these crafts. That money goes to the pockets of the scientists and engineers associated with the project, and they contribute to the economy by, you know, buying food, or gas, or other necessities. They aren't all that rich either, even the chief of NASA pulls in only ~150k a year. While that sounds like a lot, consider how much defense contractor CEOs make off of money spent off of military procurement. So the scientists aren't being paid ludicrous sums, they're simply being paid money to do a job.

      But that's not all, consider what they end up having to develop. You have new development of metamaterials, photovoltaics, new innovations in suspension and motor design, you have new developments in information processing and transmission, you have new development in mapping technology, etc etc. You have developments over field after field of research in order to make it so better rovers can accomplish more on the martian surface, and the benefits seen on earth come in ways you might never have expected. Polarized lenses on most glasses these days come from technology developed at NASA.

      So you can say 'well, this won't help me', but please, do tell, how will spending 10 billion dollars to develop a new type of autonomous bombing drone help you? Why complain about the 18 billion dollar NASA budget when you have a 680 billion dollar yearly pentagon budget, with 80 billion going to weapon R&D, and 140 billion going to procurement of said weapons. How is that helping us more than funding scientists and engineers to tackle unforeseen problems in new and creative ways with far more reasonable direct applications to real life?

      You're barking up the wrong tree complaining about wasteful spending here.

      November 11, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
      • Bossman

        Andrew your answer says it all.. Well said

        November 11, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
      • Casual Observer

        Andrew...

        Well said. That's all I can say.

        November 11, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • nrt

      you know, if you spend the rest of your life looking at EVERYTHING through the lens of class warfare, you will be a very truly miserable person (perhaps you are one already)....I am not a 1%'er either, but science is not all about helping the 1%, numbnuts

      November 11, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • Mikeinfc

      You are incredibly wrong there. The technology that has been developed to make the exploration of space possible has a direct bearing on our day to day lives. Whether there will be pleasure palaces on Mars for the Koch brothers is irrelevant. Just look up the number of inventions developed by NASA projects that make your life exponentially better. Remember, Google can help you find knowledge, if you're willing to look.

      November 11, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • Jason

      It is totally worth checking out, you never know what kind of possibilities this could open.

      November 12, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  13. Craig

    While this new rover may well be bigger, and equipped with more sophisticated science modules, it's going to have a tough time being "better." Those two originals were supposed to last 90 days...and one of them is still going now. I think we got our money's worth on that trip.

    November 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Factors

      Just what we need – more space junk, while 25% of the country goes hungry!

      November 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
      • tct

        If it wasn't for the space program a lot more would be going hungry now. If your greedy, myopic type gets their way we'll be a third world country by 2040, if we invest in infrastructure, science and exploration we'll have another boom generation.

        November 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
      • Gomer

        Ehh. The government will feed them.

        November 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
      • Andrew

        Guess what, if we cut EVERY LAST PENNY spent on NASA, you'd still have ~25% of people going hungry. The 18 billion dollar NASA budget isn't all that much. The military budget is 680 billion dollars a year, yeah, that's 300 times more than we spend on NASA, if you cared about the poor and starving, you'd be better off saying 'defense contractors don't deserve billions upon billions upon billions of dollars in government money a year' rather than 'screw scientists and engineers, they deserve to go hungry too!!' Cause complaining about a tiny sum of money spent advancing human knowledge, while not arguing massively overinflated military budgets are a far bigger problem, shows just how little you value knowledge, science, and indeed the poor that you seem to want to help. "I want to help these people... by adding a drop in the bucket rather than fixing the real problems"

        November 11, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
      • Johnny Salami

        25% of the country is going hungry? Really? Are you sure? Do you have anything to back up that statement?

        November 11, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • Thorny

      Curiosity will be better, if it survives its high-risk "skycrane" landing method on Mars. Spirit and Opportunity could only do useful science for a few hours per day. Being solar powered, they had to shut down overnight and spend most of the day recharging their batteries. Curiosity has an RTG power source and will be able to operate 24.5/7, which means it will be able to work/travel all day and transmit its findings overnight.

      November 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
      • not

        Sadly, this is not true. The instruments and avionics on this rover use more juice than the RTG can supply, so the rover still needs to "sleep" roughly 70% of the time to recharge the batteries. Luckily, half of the instruments can run independently and collect data while the avionics sleep.

        November 11, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • JBHedgehog

      The originals should be put up as THE shining example of what excellent science can achieve. However, I'm hoping that all the lessons that the first two rovers taught NASA will be implemented in the new rover. I can't wait for the results!!!

      NASA – Remember, check your units! No more English/Metric mistakes, OK?

      November 11, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  14. tom

    Great pic of the new Mars rover CNN. Good job!

    November 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  15. John

    500 yrs from now...
    Alien scientist: "Its dead now but think there may have been life on the 3rd planet from this sun in the past we should go and explore"
    Alien politician: "We can spend money on space we need to spend it here down on Geldernsnapps"

    oh well......

    November 11, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • im cool

      There is no life out there, because Chuck Norris round house kicked the universe.

      November 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Hoofleau

      You will find out about extraterrestrials sometime next year.

      November 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • SB

      The money IS spend down here. How is that not obvious?

      November 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Check your facts

      NASA is a drop in the bucket. Not getting rid of it for anything ,non negotiable.

      November 12, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  16. Edgar Mitchell X

    I wonder if they will allow a live feed and use true color (RGB). We know Mars is not really 'red'. We know that NASA uses photo scrubbing software to 'cleanup' irrelevant photo 'artifacts' and we know that all NASA transmissions utilize a 20 second delay.

    November 11, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • attila

      I agree..Do you all believe that they would really tell you that there is or was life on mars...that would f..k up all relegious dummies

      November 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
      • j

        how is that? are you not able to form abstact thought? what a dumb comment

        November 11, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Whackjob

      I hear there's a sale on aluminum foil at your local Walmart this week.

      November 11, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • Thorny

      No "live television feed". That won't work from Mars' distance without having a transmitter about the size of the Empire State Building. Mars is indeed red. Or reddish. Sort of pink. It can vary with seasons and whether or not there have been dust storms recently.

      November 12, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  17. Jojo

    I still dont get it. Why is the obsession with finding life on Mars?
    If there is life, yes we could research it and find out how the survive on Mars. But it won't be suitable for us anyway.
    If there is no life, who cares, we can build an environment there so that we can live on it.

    Thus, to me it IS an important research opportunity, but in no way it is that crucial to justify sending a special rover there.

    November 11, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • JG

      I can think of a lot less important things we readily spend more money on. Science is about progress, the more we know the more we can do and the better off we all are.

      November 11, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
      • Jojo

        Progress? like going to the moon and then what? ... to me this finding life on mars is showboating...it is like who would be the first nation to find proof of extraterrestial life form.

        Once we found it (I have no doubt we will very soon), then there would be a huge letdown.

        November 11, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • JBHedgehog

      What's with the obsession? It's only the BIGGEST thing a human could ever discover. To know that there is life (no matter the type) elsewhere than on our rock? That's HUGE! And it puts all other things "in perspective", as in, we are NOT the center of the universe and we should behave accordingly. BTW – there are parts of our planet more inhospitable than Mars. So there is an excellent chance humans could colonize.

      November 11, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
      • Jojo

        Bah...you have been brainwashed by the media. ...for sure there are life forms outside of the earth. There is no doubt about that.

        I am sensing that once we know that there is life form on Mars (microbes), there would be a big letdown afterwards...what to do with this information?

        November 11, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • stug

      That's like saying that "Discovering the new world wouldn't mean anything".
      It CHANGED THE WORLD!

      How small minded do you need to be to think that finding life other than here on Earth would be insignificant.
      It would revolutionize religion just as the "discovery" that the solar system does NOT revolve around the Earth.

      Just go on thinking that the sun revolves around the earth, what difference does it make to you???

      November 13, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  18. Bill

    Let me know when we start terra-forming Mars. Until then, we're just gathering data.

    November 11, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Jojo

      hahahahah you are dead on bill.

      November 11, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  19. David M

    “If we find something it’s a home run,” he said.

    And if you don't, it will be a game ending ground ball to first base.

    November 11, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • ntm91307

      David: I disagree. Even if they don't find life and make the much-anticipated "home run" whatever they do find will be more than we knew before we went. It may well still provide evidence that life can exist on Mars....ours.

      I am over 50 years old and realize that I will probably never see that happen in my lifetime but maybe in my daughter's lifetime it can begin. And what a wonderful way to refocus the human race. Instead of constantly squabbling over the resources of one ever-shrinking planet we can look to the possibilities of making new societies on another one. People dissatisfied with their lot here on earth might just get a shot and creating an entirely different (and hopefully more satisfying) life in a new wilderness. Not unlike the American migration west in the 1800's. You gotta admit, that did keep a lot of folks very busy for many years.

      No sir...if life is not there already this is not a failure. Just an expansion of existing knowledge and another step forward on a new path.

      My 2 cents...

      November 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  20. Mark

    There are now seven billion people on the Earth. Let's face it- the human race is outgrowing the Earth. At some point, the planet will reach a breaking point. We need to find other places for people to go- and that means colonizing other planets. This is exactly the sort of research that needs to be done before that can be accomplished. Besides that, there are finite resources on this planet. If we can't get the metals and substances we need here, we need to look at places off this planet to get them.

    November 11, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • Greg Esres

      Colonizing other planets to relieve overpopulation is a pipe dream; unless there is a radical change in technology, we'll never be able to get enough people off planet to make a difference. Better focus on birth control.

      November 11, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
      • ntm91307

        No, it is not a pipe dream. It is a real possibility. You even allude to the possibility by saying "unless there is a radical change in technology". Today technology radically changes every three years, roughly. That rate of change has been increasing since at least the 1960's (as far as I can tell) and it just keeps getting faster. Soon we'll probably start seeing radical changes in 2 years then every year and so on.

        Short-sightedness is not going to work here I think. Keep going with the long view...it will ultimately work out much better for the human race.

        My 2 cents...

        November 12, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • alpg49

      Yes, we have to go forth boldly in to the vast universe, polluting and destroying other planets!! It isn't demolishing the environment, it's *conquest*!

      November 11, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
      • Martin

        How pathetic. If we COULD somehow colonize other planets, there are enough of them out there that it would hardly matter what our impact would be. Since we can't however, we should focus on keeping the earth in its tip top shape. But seriously, what kind of person would say that it's a "Conquest" to ruin the universe, clearly you have NO understanding of how large the universe is. Even if we inhabited 1,000 planets, we'd be a speck in the cosmos.

        November 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
      • Bite me

        You're an idiot. Jerk.

        November 11, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • djwazu

      Occupy Mars damn it! Space is the place! Were wasting so much time and effort on this planet with wars and bull sht. Onward and forward.

      November 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • JG

      Over crowding the planet? Clearly you've never visited the Mid-West...

      November 11, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • Joe

      Agreed!

      November 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • bencounter

      Check your facts. There are actually 8 billion people on erth.

      November 11, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  21. ficheye

    Paul, please stop posting the same thing over and over.

    November 11, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  22. JC

    Use dictionary to check the meaning of word ' destroyed ' .

    November 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  23. Bash

    Like the CIA and many other agencies NASA is just another corrupted institution inside of a Corporative Goverment .Surpressed knowledge, surpressed Technology, surpressed Documents. The word secrecy truly is Repugnant! CNN works directly for all of this agencies.TRANSPARENCY!!!Until then we'll be enslave to a government the once upon a time was made for the people and to the people.

    November 11, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • irunner

      So... How is the Tea Party doing these day?

      November 11, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
      • Rodney

        The TEA PARTY in doing very well. You must be on of those no brain Liberals or you would already know this.
        Every liberal I have ever met are the same. It must be some sort of mental disorder.

        November 11, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • ficheye

      Richard C Hoagland is STILL an idiot.

      November 11, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • MyTake

      Time for your meds and a nap ...

      November 11, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • JC

      You should adopt Amish lifestyle. You are like I hate Science but will run to get MRI's and CT scans which are result of space exploration. I love to see high school/college dropouts like you that created room for us to grab the best jobs available out today.
      Good luck with your whining.....you were born to do that.

      November 11, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
      • im cool

        Why can't someone say the government sucks without getting insulted about one's intelligence and education?

        November 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
      • MOCaseA

        It wasn't so much that he said the govt suck, as he said the govt is just one massive conspiracy to keep the people of the US down-trodden sheep. But as you obviously have the same style views, I doubt you see this as being indicative of lesser levels of education.

        November 11, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • Anomic Office Drone

      Coast to Coast AM is not to be taken seriously.

      November 11, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
      • im cool

        Entertaining nonetheless.

        November 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  24. paul

    MARTIANS, HERE WE COME.. WE WILL DESTROY YOUR PLANET TOO! JUST LIKE WE DID OURS....HAHAHAHA

    November 11, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  25. Jerry

    Pretty soon the rest of the planets in our solar system will be littered with broken down machinery and garbage like earth. Why not spend this money on computers and books for schools?

    November 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • Aerohawk

      Without missions like this, no kid would be inspired enough to use those computers in school, at least not for anything productive.

      November 11, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
      • Jerry

        That's a stretch........and they're all going to be astrophysicists, right?

        November 11, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
      • Aerohawk

        No, but engineers, scientists, technicians, etc. I'm an engineer because when I was a kid I admired the space shuttle, and there are many like me. Right now there's practically nothing to inspire future generations beyond Kim Kardashian or athletes, and if that's all there is we are doomed

        November 11, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
      • Sandman

        I grew up with the space race to the moon. That inspired me to become a pilot. Flying is still the most fun you can have with your cloths on.

        November 11, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • TCS

      You mean so that kids can grow up to be scientists that have to deal with numbskulls telling them they are wasting time on their silly 'scientific pursuits'?

      November 11, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • John

      You'd be happier if instead of doing any exploring of other planets, we all just sat around in front of our computers and write cynical, petty and irrelevant comments on cnn.com articles, right? We're talking interplanetary exploration and you get on a littering soapbox.

      November 11, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • irunner

      Perhaps you'd like to give the students something to read about besides war, religion and politics...

      November 11, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Frank Mondana

      Just how do we get the knowledge to put inside the books?

      Mars is pretty big. If we send various probes and rovers at about the same rate as now, the Sun will burn out before we get Mars into "the same condition" as Earth. Besides, the Solar System does a pretty good job of littering the planets and Moons by itself every day.

      November 11, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • MOCaseA

      Ummm... where do you think the technological advances for modern day computing started. Before NASA had to figure out how to cram it into a module smaller than your Prius, computers took up a room the size of an average high school gymnasium. Also it is through these "wasteful" govt programs that you even have things like video games, flat panel televisions, fiber optics, Hard drives, CDs, recordable magnetic media (Think Credit/Debit Cards), Cell Phones, and a whole slew of other "common" technologies you take for granted. Next time you open your fridge remember that it was through govt funding that the refrigeration you use was originally designed for Govt use. Next time you start your car, remember that most the technologies in it were first designed for govt use (radio, fuel injection, electronic motorization, even the switches and toggles on your dashboard). That "wasteful" govt spending is what makes your life barely bearable now.

      November 11, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  26. Stug

    Actually, we already got 100% return on the investment.
    The money was spent right here in the U.S. paying salaries for peopl just like me who turn it around and spend it righ back into the economy.

    People like you think that we put that 2.5 billion dollars on the rocket and launch it with the spacecraft.

    November 11, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • truth hurts

      Perfect. Couldn't have said it any better.

      November 11, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  27. Daniel in Denver

    A pricetag of $2.5 Billion for the craft, not to mention the costs that will be incurred to get it there, monitor it, etc. Can someone please tell me what return we are expecting on this investment? A 'home run' would be if liquid water were to be discovered on Mars. Even then, what good does that do for our bankrupt country? I believe the time is past where ideas get funded simply because they are 'good' ideas. There needs to be an identifiable return on investment.

    November 11, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Carl in York

      Why must everything have a direct return of investment. We should have gotten people to mars years ago, but we have barely managed to get robots there. You should be happy it only costs 2.5 billion, imagine what sending people costs. The return on the investment is knowledge which is far more precious than anything else.

      If we wait to explore until our country is squared away then it will never happen. Should Columbus have waited until Spain was at its best before sailing? How about Magellean, Marco Polo, Zheng He?

      November 11, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
      • Norm

        Not familiar with that last explorer. Sounds like one of those phony "Star Trek" names they always throw on at the end of a line after citing real historical figures. lol

        November 11, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
      • Daniel in Denver

        Thanks for the reply, Carl. I think that if you look up the voyages of those you mentioned, their goal WAS return on investment, not just to poke around to see what they could see. It was quantifiable and had to be a pretty good likelihood before their expeditions were funded. If the USA had the money for this, that would be great. Unfortunately, we'll be borrowing about 40% of the total cost from China, then expecting our grandchildren to pay it back, with interest. Our country is broke.

        November 11, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
      • Andrew

        If our cuntry is broke, there are way better places to cut spending than NASA's already minuscule budget.

        November 11, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
      • Andrew

        country*

        November 11, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • truth hurts

      Says the guy who is typing on a computer that is the direct result of space research, using the internet that came from a Government lab to complain about wasting funds.

      November 11, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Hugo

      It's cheaper to send robots to mars than it is to send troops to Iraq. Where is your ROI on the Iraq invasion? Are you richer because of it? Safer? Any WMDs?

      November 11, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • Andrew

      I don't understand people like you. The pentagon has a 685 billion dollar annual budget, with nearly 80 billion dollars spent annually on research and development, and another 140 billion on procurement alone. Compare that to NASA's 18 billion dollars a year, putting on projects like these which are in development for multiple years at a time.

      So then, by your standards, we should take money away from scientists who are developing new meta-materials, new photovoltaics, new suspension systems, new motor designs, new breakthroughs in information processing and transmitting, tell them 'sorry, we find that we'd rather put computers in school than fund the scientists who use those computer skills', while the military budget sits there overinflated with the benefits of 'we find new ways to kill people, and then spend nearly double that actually getting those weapons'?

      So those scientists and engineers at NASA deserve to be out of a job? They do contribute to the economy you know, the 2.5 billion dollars isn't bought, put on that spacecraft, and launched out to space. The money spent stays here on earth, but it goes to researchers.

      NASA's chief makes about 150k a year, while defense contractor CEOs make millions a year. Money spent on NASA goes mostly to the scientific community, money spent on the military line defense contractor pockets. NASA develops new innovations in technology in ways you probably aren't even aware of (including things like polarized sunglasses that we now all take for granted), and defense contractors make new guns. And yet, you found that you would rather complain about NASA spending a couple billion over a number of years than any of the other far more massive instances of wasteful government spending. You are part of the problem, my friend.

      November 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
      • CrazyOwlLady

        Outstanding post. Thank you.

        November 11, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
      • Sucka Punch

        I agree Textbook post there. Informative, enlightening and done with facts not opinions. Very good job Sir!!

        November 11, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Thorny

      The $2.5 billion includes the cost of the launch "getting it there" and one Mars years of operations and data analysis.

      November 11, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  28. ivan gomez

    biggest cover up in history the moonlandiing, they wud of had a moon cam by now to view landing sites and compare to 1969'svideo not goin to happen since the filmstage was a studio,,the lie will come out one day

    November 11, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • Stug

      That's funny since there have been U.S, Chinese, & U.K. spacecraft that have orbited the moon and taken pictures of the Apollo landing sites.
      You can even see the footprints from the astronauts.

      Oh, but I guess you will just say it is a conspiracy and all those pictures have been photoshopped.

      November 11, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
      • Norm

        Yeah, and don't forget the cold era Soviet Union also agreed to go along with the phony moon landings.

        November 11, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
      • Dude

        If the facts don't fit the conspiracy, build a bigger conspiracy.

        November 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • truth hurts

      Unlike you conspiracy nut cases, I actually spent 9 years working for NASA on the space program. You guys just crack me up. You read crap on the internet and believe everything. Especially if it casts the Government in a bad light. Yes, yes the Government has done some crazy sh!t. But no, the Moon Landings were not faked. I guess though that nothing I would say would convince you so wtf anyways?

      November 11, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
      • ivan gomez

        explain why Grisson a nasa astraunaut who called the apollo a lemon was murdered by Nasa among other nasa ast. who wanted to sqeal and were killed in freak accidents,, ur the retard oh yeah u say uwork for nasa explains it , tell ur buddies to do a replay of the moon walk again,explain why a nasa guy was collecting asteroid rocks in antarctica to fake as moon rocks in 69

        November 11, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
      • Dude

        Yeah, if "uwork for nasa", why aren't you using real scientificness words like "nasa guy" and "asteroid rocks"?

        I love it when people blather on about earth being visited by aliens from another galaxy. Well if you don't know the difference between a galaxy and a solar system, what makes you think you can judge all the "evidence"?

        Check out the episode of Myth Busters where they examine the best "evidence" of a fake moon walk.

        November 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
      • Sandman

        Heck with a good telescope you can see the landing sights from earth. Just ask and NASA will give you a map of the locations. The laser reflector is still there. There is a move on to protect those sites for the historical record. It is calling for a ban on over flights below a given height and how close you can come.

        November 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
      • Thorny

        Ivan... Grissom actually called a "lemon" the Apollo SIMULATOR (the trainer in Houston), not the actual Apollo spacecraft in which he died. Get your facts straight. And even if he did call the actual spacecraft a lemon, how does the reconcile with your assertion that he was murdered? Was the spacecraft a dangerous accident waiting to happen ("a lemon"), or did someone kill him? Make up your conspiracy-addled mind!

        November 12, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • Hello

      Ivan.... at least finish grammar school before making your ridiculous comments.

      November 11, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
      • ivan gomez

        my spellings are not great i know lol , tell ur nasa buddies to put a moon cam and look for ur so called flag and rovers and backgrouind stage rocks,,google Grisson murdered by Nasa

        November 11, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
      • Hello

        Ivan, I wasn't just referring to your spelling, You should take a science class or two.

        November 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  29. ivan gomez

    lyeah u cant send a rover to the moon to see the so called landing sites,the great moon hoax! man has never set foot on moon, u can send craft but not men

    November 11, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Stug

      That's funny since there have been U.S, Chinese, & U.K. spacecraft that have orbited the moon and taken pictures of the Apollo lading sites.
      You can even see the footprints from the astronauts.

      Oh, but I guess you will just say it is a conspiracy and all those pictures have been photoshopped.

      November 11, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
      • ivan

        yeah pictures iv seen those pictures, and no the chinese nor any other county but nasa LRO has those photchopped pictures of the landings, they make sure those pics are not zoomed in,like i said there is no moon cam for a reason, u guys beleive whatever ur government tells u, the russians cud trace radio transmissions 1n 1973 not before, thats when the last so called deepspace flight went lol

        November 11, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  30. dan

    thanks for that k bible is out of this but my point is that yes it would be benefitical to us if we sent the rover mars nasa has developed tech to help save lives i too am a veteran but i believe that a mission like this is costly yeah to many people on earth but think of inhabiting other worlds this would be one step for man we are already doing so with technology even with failures this could help us out in the near future to save our planet for a doom like mars suffered needless to say it would benefit us

    November 11, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  31. Anthony

    Dear Editor (if there is one): were you taking a siesta during the posting of this story? There are at least three errors:

    - "habitable life" – is this what parasites search for with their telescopes?

    - "liquidly waters" – the correct adjective is "liquid". If the quote is accurate, an editor should indicate "[sic]" to explain a spelling/grammar error.

    - "surface of the Mars"

    Perhaps I'm naive but I expect better from a science article.

    November 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Ron

      http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Liquidly

      November 11, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
      • Anthony

        Yeah, it's an adverb, not an adjective, so what's your point?

        November 12, 2011 at 3:23 am |
    • Gunther

      Shut up. Did I spell that korectly?

      November 11, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  32. Gor

    What – A – Waste

    November 11, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  33. CHAD J

    Going to Mars is like looking into the future. What our world will soon look like with Pollution and Man-made Climate chage.
    Thanks Big Business!

    November 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • ibsurfing

      My understanding is that the theory actually is that Mars lost it's magnetosphere, as a result of this most of Mars' atmosphere was blown off because it didn't have the protection of a magnetosphere–the reasons for this are not known, According to the people who devote their lives to the study of such things despite poor remuneration, and apparent disrespect if this line is any indication, the loss of the magnetosphere has something to do with the slowing then stilling of it's molten core, which might have something to do with the size of the planet. What do I know, I don't have a horse in the race, but the presumption that humans create such a condition sounds more like Dr. Evil than ENRON, but who knows....

      November 11, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Dan

      Thanks George Bush!!

      November 11, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
      • ibsurfing

        Dan–if that was meant for me I can not hope but think you were kidding.

        November 11, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Aerohawk

      Yea, that's exactly what happened to Mars. Those darn Martians ruined their planet with pollution!

      November 11, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  34. Wally Balloo

    I am curious that we can put a solar-powered all-terrain vehicle on Mars, but not on our nation's highways.

    November 11, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Uncle Owen

      These things have speeds measured in meters per hour; I don't think people trying to get to work would appreciate being stuck behind that.

      November 11, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
      • Dude

        Meters per hour? I was stuck behind one of those in traffic yesterday.

        In addition to their slow speed, they also move only short distances before stopping to take measurements.

        Then look at the size of their panels compared to the weight of the vehicles. They have solar powered cars. They are very light weight and have very large surface areas.

        November 11, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Stug

      Actually this rover is nuclear powered

      November 11, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Norm

      Umm, got a spare 2.5 billion do ya? Billion doallar cars would reduce traffic...

      November 11, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  35. us1776

    I wish they would give us 2 for 1 like with Spirit and Opportunity.

    .

    November 11, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Godfrey

      It does strike me as a good idea economically to have two or three rovers in one flight if possible, assuming they would be placed on different areas of the planet.

      November 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  36. Tom

    I sure hope the lander for this thing works. The descriptions and animations of it make it seem like it was explicitly designed to have the largest possible collection of things that might go wrong (the opposite extreme from just dropping it on the surface inside a cocoon of protective bubbles like the previous landers).

    November 11, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  37. man4earth

    If there is an accident just after launch releasing the 10.6 pounds of plutonium-238 fuel over east central Florida, the decontamination cost will probably finish off whats left of our economy, ending our future space missions. NASA, lets stay with solar powered rovers, the risks are too high.

    November 11, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • gowestlad

      yes, because we have proven the validity of solar powered sedan-sized vehicles here on earth, let alone on a planet that gets a fraction of the solar energy. accept some risk. we are talking about humanities number one imperative here: exploration. nuke is the best energy source for deep exploration we have at the moment.

      November 11, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
      • man4earth

        We have already used solar powered rovers on Mars and they work fine, this mission however is planning to investigate an area they say there is insufficient sunlight. Oh and check out Tesla's new Model S.

        November 11, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • Stug

      Actually one of these radio-isotope nuclear generators has been blown up in a Titan-IV launch before.
      Not only did it NOT release any radiation, but the unit was in such good condition (not damaged) after falling to the ground that they put it on the next spacecraft and launched it again.

      November 11, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
      • man4earth

        Lucky that time

        November 11, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  38. dan

    The need for exploration is in all of us abortion should be illegal your killing people you fool, second of all read the bible and see god says not to murder its a sin, im evolutionist by favor of science but kinda of a creationist at the same time i do believe god created everything but i belive we evolved for the primative versions nasa is right doing a exploration the are developing new tech that could save us and give us another evolutionary step next they may discover our immortality

    November 11, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Duane

      Ummmmmmmmm what?

      November 11, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
      • Professor Trollworth

        Dissociative identity disorder

        November 11, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
      • iliterate dufus

        I agree professor trollworth, dissociative disorder comorbid with DSM-IV schizophrenia 295.1 and 297.1 subtypes

        November 11, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • Sane One

      Wow Dan, that is a pretty crazy response. What strong feelings you have! I too enjoy works of science fiction, but leave the bible out of this...

      November 11, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • billy

      God? which one? Yours I assume? Moron!!

      November 11, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • CrazyOwlLady

      I predicted this in an earlier post. You may proceed to worship me now.

      November 11, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • james

      Yup. And if Mars can support life I vote we send you first.

      November 11, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  39. Alex

    These 2.5 billion dollars were spent here in the United States–employing Americans! Most NASA employees must have security clearance; the first requirement of security clearance is to be a U.S. citizen. This project was created on our soil, not outsourced to China or India. Therefore it generated business on our soil by employing U.S citizens, consumers.

    I am sure that there are millions of people starving all over the world and could of use that money to feed them. But, corporate America already sent enough business to third world countries and the entire manufacturing industry to China.

    November 11, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • TheMovieFan

      Hmmm...how utterly un-American!

      November 11, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  40. Johnny 5

    Finding out how life developed and died or even still exists on other planets will help us understand what we are and where we came from. This knowledge is priceless.

    November 11, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  41. Samuel R. Preston, III

    I hope they are saving money this time by having Chuck Norris hurl this thing to Mars for us.

    November 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Ed

      NO! It will zoom right past Mars and end up on Pluto!

      November 11, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
      • Me

        Pluto isn't even a considered planet anymore... so he would just throw it past that "thingy way out in space".

        November 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • james

      Or maybe we have Chuck Norris just hurl himself into space!

      November 11, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
      • gowestlad

        d00d why you gotta harsh chuck?

        November 11, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  42. fred

    How much did this thing cost, and more importantly, how much of it was I FORCED to pay for???

    November 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • ZZ2011

      Should we sit around and wait for the whole world pass us technologically?

      November 11, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • Gringo Starr

      Shut up.

      November 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • CrazyOwlLady

      Not as much as the rest of us are forced to pay for useless wars and crooked politicians.

      November 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
      • Gabbo

        Not to mention those 47% -ers I have to subsidize year after year !

        November 11, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • FredsVajina

      They will send you the bill in the mail.

      November 11, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Philip

      I'll gladly pay my taxmoney to this project instead all the other worthless crap it goes to.

      November 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • ibsurfing

      How much did you pay for your computer? Do you like your computer?

      November 11, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Professor Trollworth

      $0.43

      November 11, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • MSLContributor

      About as much as you paid in taxes last year and the years preceding. And by the way... thanks.

      November 11, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • Sane One

      Well, the article says it was $2.5billion; that's $2,500 million. Divide that by 150 million Americans (assuming half of the 300m of us actually pay taxes and assuming you are one of them) and you get about $17. You could make that amount of money up based on the cash you save by a) not paying for your news subscription since you're reading online and b) not paying for other sources of entertainment (since you get your kicks by publishing your opinions instead of socializing with people face to face). Feel better?

      November 11, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • garg

      The average taxpayer pays NASA $55 per year.

      November 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
      • garg

        Money that could have gone towards that new fancy gizmo you've always wanted (which wouldn't have existed if NASA didn't!)

        November 11, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
      • Dude

        Hmmm, explore the universe around me or super size my fries and soda once a week?

        November 11, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • RandomWords

      It says the thing cost $2.5 billion. There's about 200 million tax payers in the country so your contribution was about $10. If you'd like to post your mailing address then I will gladly reimburse you your ten bucks and if monumental discoveries are made by the lander then you can have no claim whatsoever to being part of the country that made those discoveries.

      November 11, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • Stug

      The cost to you, for the entire NASA budget, is less than one-tenth of one penny for every tax dollar you pay the government.
      If you want to get mad at something, get mad at the defense budget.
      BTW – you were force to help pay my salary.

      November 11, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  43. Felcher McPhisterson

    I thinks its great that we're accomplishing something truly great like this... its especially good that we're doing it now, since civilization is starting to crumble before our very eyes. I doubt we'll even have electricity another 100 years from now, much less the ability to put telemetric robotic rovers on the surface or Mars...

    November 11, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  44. agonyflips

    See NASA's video of it.

    November 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  45. @tracie

    A probe to Uranus is waaay out of the current NASA budget

    November 11, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
  46. K J NIMMICH

    EVer wonder what the discovers' from the past would say of the technoligy we have today? Gramm Bell,Davey Crocket,Francis Marion,Lewis&Clark,etc...Whats left to be found?How bout that spot of light in the nite sky?

    November 11, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • George

      Davy Crockett? I would hardly call him a discoverer, explorer, scientist, or anything close. He was a politician and land grabber.

      November 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
      • Colonel Crockett's Ghost

        ROTFLMAO

        November 11, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • George

      What's left to be found? How about an education?

      November 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
      • Gabbo

        In some worthless liberal arts degree, no less.....

        November 11, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • ncaerogeek

      Wasn't Frances Marion the "Swamp Fox" of revolutionary war fame? or is there another one?

      November 11, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  47. Immortal

    Any of u think we could settle in Mars or even having trip to Mars in near future, the answer would be nuts! The budget has been cut, and NASA is not the same anymore. Want to have that dream? Double the money for NASA has recieved in 90's with the tech that they will recieve in the next five yrs.

    November 11, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  48. pulsars

    I hope this rover doesn't disturb the hibernating Martian Annihilation/Colonization Attack Fleets – I can't handle that shitz right now.

    November 11, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Mainer

      Where here !!! ;-)

      November 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
      • pulsars

        I knew it! I knew it! You Martians can have this goofy planet anyway – just don't expect us humans to clean it up before we hand it over – you're getting it "as is" – got it?

        November 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
      • ZZ2011

        Haha :)

        November 11, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
      • james

        we're call "Tea Partiers"

        November 11, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  49. Daddy2010

    Wish we could find $2.5 billion for the economy.

    November 11, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Scott Miller

      Just print it, that's what we've been doing for the last few years anyway. Or just sell some more of the good ol USA to China. They already own half the country.

      November 11, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
      • George

        Check your facts on that, they only own 8%.

        November 11, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • MSLContributor

      We did. We invested it in science and research, and came up with the rover. In the meantime, a few thousand people were kept employed, and spent what they earned. The money has now re-circulated back into the economy.

      November 11, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  50. ILikeYourStyle

    I'm a man who'd like to offer my assistance with your needs.

    November 11, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • 5434rfffg

      u smell

      November 11, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
      • Clark Nova

        Another Penn State pederast heard from.

        November 11, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  51. Josh

    Could Curiosity and Opportunity ever meet up somewhere on Mars?

    Could Curiosity pull Spirit out of its "quick sand" trap?

    November 11, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • Factors

      What a waste of taxpayer money . .

      November 11, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
      • Beesh

        You think so? because at the current rate we will make the earth inhabitable within a couple hundreds of years. Space exploration is going to give us a place to go...

        November 11, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
      • nohomers

        You short sited fool.

        November 11, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
      • ZZ2011

        Better than giving it to the corporations that ship the jobs overseas anyway!

        November 11, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
      • Felcher McPhisterson

        Yeah.. big waste of taxpayer dollars.. exploring the galactic unknown and expanding the limits of human knowledge and imagination. We could have totally bought a couple of cruise missiles instead and killed some sand-monkeys off in a 3rd world country instead..

        November 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
      • Ed

        interesting. A few days ago a rock bigger that a US Super Aircraft Carrier passed 200,000 miles from Earth at a speed you and I can not possibly believe. If some unknown factor had popped up that comic weapon of planetary destruction would have hit. Do you know how many more of those are out there? I don't. Mars is our best chance of spreading out the human race to insure we survive. Frankly I'm tired of rovers and probes. Lets start Terra Forming!

        November 11, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
      • CrazyOwlLady

        Reminds me of a bumpersticker I used to have. "Earth first! We'll stripmine the other planets later."

        November 11, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • MSLContributor

      Wouldn't that be cute? Alas, it is not to be. There is stuff to be discovered elsewhere!

      November 11, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  52. Shane s

    So

    November 11, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  53. Josh

    Go to Penn State, and all you needs will be fulfilled.

    November 11, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • ILikeYourStyle

      No, Tracie is a female name, so the Penn State folks would not be interested.

      November 11, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  54. Josh

    I wonder if NASA could offer a "hitch" to the Russian Mars lander, currently stuck in Earth orbit.

    November 11, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  55. Ed Johns

    Don't you think sending a rover to explore there might hurt a little?

    November 11, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  56. Azezel

    well, all the r&d done to build one... why not triple the budget and build a hundred? Then do a survey of the planet. They could also be built to have 100 year life spans to function as charging stations for mars landers when we decide to colonize. After the rover phase shouldn't there be a tunneler or a robot that could do some coring then be tasked for light construction.

    November 11, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  57. gary

    Why send people to Mars? For what practical purpose? Expansion? More room? Resources? Then why not use the $$$ for birth control, pollution clean up, etc? Why not take care of what we have rather than go trash Mars?

    November 11, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • MSLContributor

      Not sending *people*. Sending robot. Only robot...

      November 11, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
      • EvolveNow

        We would love to send people, but that is much more difficult, costly and frought with peril than sending a machine/robot/rover. For now, in these globaly-tough economic times, lets settle for sending the machines and spend the money that would have been spent on life support systems, food and supply missions etc. on the people at home who need the help now.

        November 11, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Ethernet

      ALL of the medical advancements in the last 40 years, and ALL of the computer advancements in the last 25 years, and countless other advances are a direct result of NASA research. Not so much the probe data being collected, but the science and engineering involved in creating them is the benefits that we see. We would be doing us more harm by axing the program than by keeping it. The food that could be bought for that money will be eaten up and gone, but the benefits that we get from it stays with us forever.

      November 11, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Dmo

      “‘Cause it’s next. ‘Cause we came out of the cave and we looked over the hill and we saw fire; and we crossed the ocean and we pioneered the west and we took to the sky. The history of man is hung on a timeline of exploration, and this is what’s next.” ~Sam Seaborn

      November 11, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Talgrath

      If we find anything living on Mars, they could provide a great deal of insight into biology. Additionally, many of the technologies used in the equipment we send to Mars may very well be used here on Earth some day, including more efficient solar cells.

      November 11, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • IsildursBane

      man you guys are funny. If you don't understand what benefits for all of mankind have come from these type of space programs then you haven't been paying attention for the last 50 years

      November 11, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • John

      it's called lebensraum, living space.

      November 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • George

      Let's send our nuclear waste to Mars.

      November 11, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  58. Eric

    LANDSAT and other NASA programs have probably save millions of starving people by identifying crop failures and limitations before widespread famine. While a mission to Mars isn't the same, who is to say that we won't develop some other technology (e.g. soil analysis techniques) that might help the world as well.

    November 11, 2011 at 11:43 am |
  59. man4earth

    This mission carries 10.6 pounds of plutonium-238 fuel. NASA,s environmental impact statement claims a 1 in 220 chance of plutonium release in an accident. Efforts to decontaminate would cost $267 million per square mile of farmland, $478 million per square mile of forest and $1.5 billion per square mile of mixed use urban land, according to the EIS. Plutonium-238 is 270 more than radioactive than plutonium-239, about 15 pounds p-239 was used in the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki. An accident could jeopardize the future of our entire space program. In our efforts to explore planets and space we should not risk our own.

    November 11, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • gary

      US populace has been sold a bill of goods about space exploration. There is no practical reason to go to Mars.
      I am a sci fi and science fanatic ... but I see no real use in sending stuff to Mars.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:46 am |
      • ZZ2011

        I'm waiting to see if they find proof of ancient civilizations on Mars which could also shed some light on our origins.

        November 11, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
      • Name

        Your not very smart are you...

        November 11, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
      • ILikeYourStyle

        Oh, well if you can't see it then we should all stop doing it, of course.

        November 11, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Josh

      You're way too late. We've already been contaminated by all the "open air" bomb testing of the 40's, 50's and 60's.

      November 11, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
      • man4earth

        I guess more is better?

        November 11, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  60. Pro NASA

    To those who think money spent by NASA is a waste and should be spent to feed the hungry or whatever: NASA employs thousands of people. Most of these people are obviously of the smart scientist/high tech job type. The $2.5 billion spent on this rover paid their salaries as well as the salaries of those who work for the companies who made the components. If this money was not budgeted for NASA but towards other aid programs and handouts then many of the NASA employees would be laid off and then be on unemployment until they could find anohter job (if they could). They could also then be hired by other countries space programs or high tech industries and their expertise would be lost to the USA. Then we can let China, Russia, Europe, gain all the tech advantage and have to import any related products to the USA.
    All advancments by NASA must, by law, be made available to the public. It was NASA who infused vast sums of money to help develope and the silicon computer chip and make it reliable. Yes, they did not invent it but if it were not for their need of the chip to get to the moon it would have, at the very least, not been developed to a marketable, reliable product for several years. Imagine if developmental delays had resulted in the technology being too new, expensive, or powerful enough for Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or any other individual whose work resulted in huge advances in coumputer technology, to relize that potential or even enter the industry in the first place. Yes we would be somewhere but would it be the 80's, 90's, etc? Private industry could not have ever lead to the development as fast due to high costs, even higher risk, and low revenues while the tech developed and created a market. NASA was able to infuse the cash and take the risk and provided free advertisment which showed the true potential of the technology and greatly increased the market. Thats just one example. They also developed/aided development of products which aid our service men and women and allowed for the development of and/or market awareness of and/or possible use of dozens of other products.

    November 11, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • suckitup

      wasting your time with these brain dead arm chair economists. People tend to forget through exploration comes innovation. people tend to forget there was an issue with money before Columbus set sail. I can not stand the fact our inherited ability to think is chained by a man made value.

      November 11, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • ibsurfing

      Thanks for that. It seems like the same people who blame humans for every ill on the Earth, are the same ones that want every dime to go to those same humans. This by the way at the sacrifice of, arguably the best and most beautiful of human qualities, curiosity and innovation. I don't understand this sort of contradiction. Having said that, I do have problems with NASA–there is a school of thought even within NASA that projects have become so expensive because the plot is lost in trying to accommodate everyone's "pet project". That is worrisome–I just want them to be honorable not just expensive.

      November 11, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  61. Paul

    It's a dead rock. Be done with it. Channel the money toward education and clean energy already.

    November 11, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • GetSomeFacts

      To those who say spend the money here to create jobs etc. Maybe you should get some facts before speaking. The vast majority of the cost of space missions is spent here in the USA with technolgy innovation and salaries. The actual satalite/machine is <1% of the budget. As for education, this project will produce well of 100 graduate degrees and pay tuition for many college students. How do I know? My Masters and PhD were paid for buy a simular project just like this.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • EvolveNow

      These space programs are creating the cutting edge of technology, the desire to contribute to that cutting edge drives our youth to become scientists and those same youth go onto college to obatain advanced degrees. Out of their research and development programs for space exploration we have become the benefactors of new technologies such as the personal computer, microwave ovens and flat screen TVs. Take the funding for these space programs away and you'll have to replace one of the largest drivers for our youth attending technical universities, not to mention replace the drive to create cutting edge technology. "If you do not ltrive to climb mountains, you'll never see what might be on the other side," Unknown.

      November 11, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • ncaerogeek

      If you don"t do this, what's the point of an education? LIve, grow old and die leaving nothing of any inspiring value, nothing at all but more consumers and your personal poop?

      November 11, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Dude

      You mean like the improvements in solar cells?

      Oh wait, that was NASA.

      More like the surveys that determined the best places for wind farms?

      Also, NASA.

      Improving the efficiency of aircraft to save on fuel?

      Guess what? NASA.

      November 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  62. Rocket Engineer

    Have it ever occurred to anybody how many people had jobs because of the Rover development?
    Not just scientists but engineers, technicians, machinists, secretaries, hardware manufacturers, material producers, etc, etc, etc.
    It's a shame that anybody can tell that we don't need space science, it's like burning Giordano Bruno all over again!!

    November 11, 2011 at 11:26 am |
  63. Qdad2014

    So your argument is, if something doesn't have an immediate benefit, we should not do it? Have you ever been introduced to the concept of investing for the future?
    How many individual humans are alive today that do not benefit mankind? Let's just eliminate all of 'em.

    November 11, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • ibsurfing

      "...Every sperm is Sacred, every sperm is great, if a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate..."–Monty Python Meaning of Life

      November 11, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • Dude

      A lot of people are like Slinkies.

      Not really useful, but if you push them down a flight of stairs they can be entertaining.

      November 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  64. Derrick, Atlanta

    Hopefully. their software system won't deadlock, hehe.

    November 11, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  65. RICK

    What needs to be remembered here is while we may not be around to see ALL the benefits of this, our future generations will. Yes there are problems on our little blue dot in space, there always was and they always will be.
    There were problems when Columbus or The vikings were tooling around in the oceans looking for the new world.
    If it were up to me, we would have already been on Mars after the Apollo missions to the moon. If we really wanted it, it would have been done by now.

    November 11, 2011 at 11:06 am |
  66. Physics-lite

    Dod's speed Curiosity,. Look forward to see what you discover.

    November 11, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Dude

      You're watching too much Duckman.

      Sorry, that is only funny of you've watched Duckman.

      Wait, I'm watching too much Duckman. . .

      There is an episode where a cult religion begins worshiping "Dod" because a character mispronounces "Dad".

      November 11, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  67. Physics-lite

    God's speed Curiosity! I look forward to seeing what you find.

    November 11, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  68. Robert

    How many starving people could $2.5 Billion dollars feed here on the earth. How much suffering could be eliminated?

    November 11, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • CrazyOwlLady

      From Wikipedia: "For the 2010 fiscal year, the president's base budget of the Department of spending on "overseas contingency operations" brings the sum to $663.8 billion."
      Think what we could do with *that*.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:59 am |
      • Ethernet

        Non sequitor

        November 11, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Rob

      Did you ever thing that increasing the supply of food for those starving people may be making things worse by stimulating the reproduction of people? You are aware that the birth rate for the poorest people is also some of the highest? We need to think outside the box to solve our problems, not take away funding for the kinds of programs that made this country a superpower in the first place.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:18 am |
      • MSLContributor

        Do you know how many people were kept employed by that money?? EMPLOYED!

        November 11, 2011 at 11:43 am |
      • George

        Melinda Gates is already spending billions of Bill's dollars to improve the survivability rates of third world nation's children, however, they too will be starving unless the birth rate is dramatically reduced. I'm calling for a three year moratorium on human reproduction and an increase in abortions by ten million a day.

        November 11, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • sanjosemike

      Right Robert: Let's throw some more money at welfare queens and addicts.

      sanjosemike

      November 11, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • FauxNewz

      I can answer your question. That money would feed the same number of people who manufactured and launched the spacecraft, including scientists, engineers, mechanics, service personnel, and all their families. You know, the people who do things with their lives and don't sit around expecting handouts.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:20 am |
      • MSLContributor

        *like*

        November 11, 2011 at 11:43 am |
      • EvolveNow

        I could not agree more. Welfare, while an act of compassion for those in need is also burden on society. When the time comes for volunteers to travel to and live out their lives on Mars or any other world, lets leave behind all those unwilling to work.

        November 11, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
      • Dude

        Of all the people who lost their houses after signing insane variable rate mortgages, I wonder what percentage previously uttered the phrase "Why should I take math class? It's not like I'll ever need it."

        November 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • Ethernet

      ALL of the medical advancements in the last 40 years, and ALL of the computer advancements in the last 25 years, and countless other advances are a direct result of NASA research. Not so much the probe data being collected, but the science and engineering involved in creating them is the benefits that we see. We would be doing us more harm by axing the program than by keeping it. The food that could be bought for that money will be eaten up and gone, but the benefits that we get from it stays with us forever.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • Scott

      If we stop exploring and innovating then we increase the number of have-nots on this planet. Investing in new knowledge increases opportunity– it always has and it always will.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Alex

      that is astounding ignorance, my friend. 2.5 bill is a tiny fraction of what we spend on far less useful crap.. if anything were not spending enough on space exploration and furthering mankind, stuff that might sustain us once our time here runs out and stuff that breeds technology and innovation.. you know stuff like cell phones, internet, microwaves lol its incredible there are people that can say such simpleton crap

      November 11, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • Bill

      Last year, U.S. consumers spent $7.1 billion on potato chips and $97 billion on beer. Think how many starving people THAT could feed if instead it was invested in nutrition programs.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • tim

      While $2.5 billion could help a lot of people around the world, there are a lot of things we use every day that came about because of NASA programs like this. Besides, there are a lot of other government programs that are far more wasteful than NASA.

      Thing we use everyday which wouldn't exist without NASA's exploration, include (but are not limited to): scratch resistant lenses, memory foam, ear thermometer (I remember the non-ear ones), shoe insoles, long distance telephone, smoke detectors, cordless power tools, water filters, and the very computer you typed this on...

      November 11, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  69. frodo1008

    The lowest benefit to cost ratio that I have seen for general scientific research and NASA in particular is some 6 to 1, and the highest is some 20 to 1. This results in an average of about 10 to 1. And as time goes by that average gets steadily larger.

    NASA is NOT an expense of the federal government it IS an INVESTMENT in the future of not only the USA but eventually of ALL mankind! IF we do not get the thrust of human civilization off of this limited space ship Earth within about 100 years at the least, humanity faces a totally bleak future at the least, and possible extinction at the worst, And this is even if some asteroid does not do the trick in itself, just the depletion of Earth's resources along with the continued pollution of the Earth will do the trick! Will those future generations facing this thank our generation for not getting truly out into space as a space faring civilization before the end?? I think not!!!

    All of the environmental programs will hopefully give humanity the necessary time to become a space faring civilization capable of utilizing the almost totally unlimited resources if this solar system. The space program IS the only hope for our species in the long run, it IS the ultimate environmental program!!!

    November 11, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • CrazyOwlLady

      Well said.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  70. Jim

    As much as I like to see NASA succeed I much rather see the money spent on Mars exploration used to feed the millions of hungry children in America.

    November 11, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • CrazyOwlLady

      A worthy cause, which I would rather fund through the ending of the wars and cutting way back on defense spending. Notice I said "defense" and not VA benefits.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:57 am |
      • JC

        Well said. NASA is an investment.

        November 11, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Greg

      No, every penny sent to NASA and the space program is an investment in humanity's future as a species. Get your billions of extra dollars by not going to war in the Middle East, raising taxes on corporations, and raising taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Americans. You'll have trillions of extra spending to feed the hungry. Space travel is the future of humanity. Have some vision.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Nacho Mama

      Hippies always need to whine about something.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:59 am |
      • CrazyOwlLady

        We seldom bathe either.

        November 11, 2011 at 11:01 am |
      • Nacho Mama

        So I've heard.

        November 11, 2011 at 11:03 am |
      • ho5000

        So you've *smelled*.

        November 11, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • Nacho Mama

      Space exploration is funded by tax dollars. Hungry kids are fed by their parents. Get used to it, hippie.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Easy E

      NASA isn't preventing anyone from getting enough to eat.

      And socialism isn't going to solve anything. You can throw all the money in the world at the problem and still end up with little to show for it. Kids are hungry because mommy and daddy are either lazy, drunk or on drugs. I've been around enough HUD section 8ers to know how most foodstamp and other assistance is used – liquor and cigarettes first, then think about food. You aren't going to fix that by throwing more money at it.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:23 am |
      • ibsurfing

        Human excellence is not in afterthought. Human excellence is the result of hard, boring, 'scutwork' that gives one the basis for 1. communicating your ideas, and 2. understanding that innovation is largely step wise. There seems to be some idea brilliance can arise untrained from anywhere and we should all be on the look out. This is a profoundly archaic, however pretty, idea. Even the most brilliant nascent scientific mind needs to learn the language. "uh, you know I think gravity bends space, yep I do..." Really?

        November 11, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Dude

      We have plenty of food and plenty of money to feed everyone. It's a matter of how money is distributed and priorities. If these are not changed, $2.5 billion will only lead to more of the same.

      Humans cannot digest more than 4 OZ of meat in a day. The rest is wasted. Cut US meat consumption by 10% and the leftover grain from feed lots would feed everyone who is hungry. You are willing to end all space exploration, are you willing to cut down slightly on beef? Are you really interested in feeding the hungry or whining about NASA?

      November 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  71. Joseph

    Double check your calculations,and make sure one person isn't using metric and another using standard measurements.We all know how well that one did.

    November 11, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • Clark Nova

      'Standard' measurement? Nothing could be less standard than the idiotic 'English' system of measurement. With the exception of Myanmar, Liberia, and the eternally retarded United States, the entire world uses the metric system. Three times in our history Federal law has made it the only legal system of measurement here but corporate pressure has kept the government from ever enforcing it.

      November 11, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  72. Steve

    Perhaps they could take 500 million from this project and search for intelligent life in Congress.

    November 11, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • Joseph

      As the ghostly trio would say about our government."A bunch of bone bags.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • DanTanna

      OMG! That's freakin' hilarious! Not.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  73. mdmooser

    WoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooHoooooooooooooooooooooo!

    November 11, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  74. Local Man

    Hey rosie, who are you to decide what science or knowledge is of "benefit to mankind"? Don't decide on my behalf - knowledge of the universe in which we live is of benefit to me. Knowledge of how life may arise is of benefit to me. Knowledge in general is of benefit to me.

    Maybe not to you. But isn't that kind of sad?

    November 11, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • CrazyOwlLady

      I expect that it's only a matter of time before the Earthisonly6000yearsold religious types flock over here to drop their $.02 in, as seems to always happen in these science blogs.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:47 am |
      • really

        Their numbers are diminishing as our horizons are expanding!!!

        November 11, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
      • CyberBob

        I once had a next door neighbor who was a petroleum geologist and a devoutly religious person who believed in the literal interpretation that says the world is 6000 years old. But then in the next sentence he's talking pre-cambrian this and permian that. I asked him about that and he said they had to use geologic time frames to get the math to come out right when drilling, but it was wrong! Amazing doublethink!

        November 11, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
      • CrazyOwlLady

        Wow. Just wow. His brain must have resembled one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's biceps, doing those kind of mental calisthenics. My husband, a very smart guy, works with an equally very smart guy - they are computer scientists. His friend watches Fox news and insists that everything on there is true even when presented with evidence to the contrary. Your guy beats that though. People are amazingly weird, aren't they?

        November 11, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • MSLContributor

      Ever use that camera on your cellphone? Yes? Thank NASA. No. Really. Thank. NASA.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:47 am |
      • famstr

        sorry mls. the cell phone camera patent was (is?) originated by Eastman Kodak.

        November 11, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  75. Science

    How cool would it be if on one of these probes they put a video camera with a micorphone? We've had fourty years of still photos of other worlds or jumpy simulated video of panning or moving vehicles. I pretty sure we have the technology now to set us some actual video images with sound (of the wind or movement of the rover). It would just seem somehow more real. Don't you think?

    November 11, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • Local Man

      There was a microphone on the Mars Polar lander ... but that probe crashed.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • CrazyOwlLady

      In order for sound to transmit there has to be an atmosphere.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:39 am |
      • Scott Miller

        Mars has an atmosphere. It is not as dense as ours, hence the weaker gravity due to the smaller size of mars. But it does have an atmosphere. That is why you do not see blackness during daytime photographs on Mars, as you do the moon.

        November 11, 2011 at 10:49 am |
      • Aerohawk

        Good thing Mars has one of those

        November 11, 2011 at 10:50 am |
      • CrazyOwlLady

        Thanks, Scott.

        November 11, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  76. DVAYCHE

    Fitting this would be published around Veterans Day 2011. Space exploration is great, but in this economy, not so necessary! There are many military veterans out there that could benefit from that 2.5 billion dollars being used toward their care now that they've returned home, many missing limbs and even more, those families that lost loved ones. How about having 1 less rover out there and try to make those folks lives better where possible? I'm a Desert Storm veteran and because I'm still working age, John McCain has recommended we be dropped from TriCare, the medical benefit we earned thru military service because the military is facing huge deficits in future funding. What good is a rover on Mars when we have needs here to fix first? Just my 2 cents... Thanks to all those in the military past and present for your service.

    November 11, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • Local Man

      Thanks for your service and sacrifice DVAYCHE. But the budget for this mission and other NASA activities is a fraction of a percent of the money spent on the military. Surely you can't begrudge a pittance going to something that is not focused on America's wars or their aftermath.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • CrazyOwlLady

      Thank you for your service. Our human destiny is to explore. That being said, I agree with you that it is a travesty that we have put our young men and women in harms' way, and then turned our backs on them when they come home. Instead of slapping a magnet ribbon on our cars and thinking that's enough, why don't we get vocal (i.e., like OWS) and work together to ensure that our vets have what they need? We can have our cake and eat it too, if we confront our govt. and demand it.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • JJJ

      The thing is, we already have thousands of "less" scientific missions than are necessary to explore and understand our world. We could spend everything on vets, or everything on science or everything on the department of agriculture. Don't you think that a healthy balance is necessary to ensure that our country and society can continue its way of life for thousands of years to come? The truth is, science gave of all of the technology that is used to heal and rehabilitate the vets. Although most of it didn't come from NASA, the pursuit of knowledge most be well funded in all its forms.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • really

      ...How about a few less rockets and grenades? A few less tanks and jet fighters? That would help the vets in two ways. Fewer would be injured if there were less wars and less equipment to fight them and the money could be spent to help the injured.
      It is fitting that the very source of their injuries should help pay for their rehabilitation!

      November 11, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Dude

      NASA employs a lot of veterans.

      And how about those guided munitions that let you destroy enemy armor without getting close enough to get shot at? Pretty cool that not getting killed thanks to NASA technology huh?

      Digital imaging over the horizon thanks to satellites and drones, based on NASA technology. GPS Guided bombs that use NASA technology.

      And so on . . .

      November 11, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  77. longtooth

    I'm 63 years old, and never dreamed the science fiction I used to read would actually come to pass. Any fools who think this isn't worthwhile would have never left their caves in their previous lives.

    November 11, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • CrazyOwlLady

      Right on.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  78. Reality

    Rose, go live in a cave you luddite! If we waited until we fixed every problem on earth, we'd never get anything done. There will ALWAYS be hunger, violence, war, crime, etc. Get used to it!

    November 11, 2011 at 10:23 am |
  79. rosie

    ...yeah science that will NOT benefit mankind for many years to come, if at all. :-(

    November 11, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • Ignorance is bliss

      The quest for knowledge doesn't benefit man? Do you live under igneous or sedimentary rock?

      November 11, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • Fish with feet

      Oh it will benefit us eventually. One day the normal people will have a place to get away from the religous and political nuts in this world and actually live in peace.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:20 am |
      • Chris

        I really like this comment.

        November 11, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • edrio

      It is ironic that such an ignorant comment was written on a computer – just another useless byproduct of space exploration!

      November 11, 2011 at 10:21 am |
      • Tribble

        LOL

        November 11, 2011 at 11:49 am |
      • RealityBites

        Now THAT is a comment worthy of a "Like" button!

        November 11, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Roland

      Yeah, we should probably juststop research and exporation alttogether. After all, what has it ever done for us?

      November 11, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • CrazyOwlLady

      I would reply with something scathing but others have already done the job, and done it well.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:32 am |
  80. CrazyOwlLady

    Good to see that we are still employing NASA to do science after the retirement of the space shuttle program.

    November 11, 2011 at 8:46 am |
    • Kyle

      You actually think the ONLY thing NASA does is the space shuttle program...

      November 11, 2011 at 11:33 am |
      • CrazyOwlLady

        Um, no. Why, do you?

        November 11, 2011 at 11:52 am |

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