August 6th, 2012
12:53 PM ET

What's our fascination with Mars?

When you look up basic information on Mars on NASA's website, in the field for the name of the discoverer, it says "known by the ancients." Unlike Neptune, and the no-longer-a-planet Pluto, Mars has always figured in to the way we understand our solar system.

If you know what to look for in the sky, the reason why is obvious enough: Mars is visible to the naked eye, and clearly red. It's also close: our ability to see it so easily attests to the relative nearness of the planet.

Pop culture is loaded with references to Mars: witness movies with titles like "Mission to Mars" (2000) and "Red Planet," (2000) documentaries like NOVA's "Can we make it to Mars?", not to mention numerous science fiction stories like Ray Bradbury's 1950s "The Martian Chronicles," and non-fiction books like "The Case for Mars," and of course "Packing for Mars," which both explore what it would take to send not just a robotic analog for humanity, but actual living, breathing people.

Mary Roach, author of “Packing for Mars”, finds her fascination with Mars is a lot more personal.

"I picture myself in the landscape, sitting on a rock in this or that panorama shot, and what that would feel like, be like. The more real the images become, the more it fascinates me."

At 1:31 a.m. eastern on Monday, August 6, our fascination with Mars continued when the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL, or Curiosity) landed on the Red Planet. It's not the first rover humans have sent to Mars: NASA has been sending robotic emissaries since Viking 1 landed in 1976.

NASA's rover Curiosity lands on Mars

Because Curiosity is the latest in a long line of Mars-bound spacecraft, this mission begs the question: Why do we seem to love it so much?

@CNNLightyears posed the question to many asking people why they love Mars. The responses on Twitter and Facebook varied in details, but the gist of them was effectively the same.

Cindie Hurley, a space enthusiast, sums it up via Facebook: "It's the 'new world' of space... If the moon was an offshore island, well Mars is that distant continent...it's only the FIRST step in a much bigger journey. If we can get there, then maybe, just maybe, we can get to the next destination."

Mars, even with its inhospitable atmosphere and barren landscape, is the closest analog to Earth that we're aware of.

James Wray, an assistant professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech who collaborated on Curiosity's SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) suite of instruments, tells us, "It's the most "Earth-like" planet we've yet found, with mountains, canyons, dry river valleys, rocks, sand and dust of compositions and appearances not unlike those here at home. The surface is cold, but at times no colder than Earth's polar regions."

"There is water in the clouds and polar ice caps, and a day is only slightly longer than Earth's 24 hours. Every day is sunny (well, except during major dust storms), with pale rose-colored skies instead of the Moon's harsh black," he says.

Basically, life could survive on Mars but we couldn't survive on, say, Venus, the other nearest planet to Earth. Even though Venus has both an atmosphere and is about the same size as Earth, the air is toxic and the pressure at the surface is such that we'd be crushed, a fate met by some early Russian robotic explorers. Oh, and it's hot enough to melt lead on the surface.

Mars could be our next home. And it's important to us to find out as much as we can about it, not just to further our knowledge of the formation of our solar system and our own planet, but to prepare ourselves to become a multi-planet species, as SpaceX's Elon Musk has hoped for aloud, in interviews.

Mary Roach concludes, "...Mars is close enough to feel reachable, yet far enough away to seem utterly foreign and exotic and mysterious."

Check out Mars complete coverage on @CNNLightYears

Do you love Mars? Tell us why in the comments.

Post by:
Filed under: In Space • Mars
soundoff (508 Responses)
  1. Explorer

    I see many comments on here condemning the spending of money on this project and suggesting other places to spend that money. Every single suggestion I have seen has already had more than three times the amount of money poured into it as this project did, and nothing has come from it. We spend trillions of dollars a year outside the space industry and very little changes. Money isn't going to solve most of those problems. People using the money will solve them, and they have plenty to work with.

    Why am I fascinated by Mars? Because I am human. At the very core of me is a desire to seek the unknown, a desire to look beyond the confines of this tiny little spec in the universe to the vastness that lies beyond. This is inherent to every one of us even though we may sometimes deny it because we can only see the here and now. Every one of us has looked up at the stars and asked "What's up there?" Yes, you did. You may have been a child, or it may have been only a fleeting moment, but you did do it once. That curiosity has driven humankind to things that our ancestors would have thought only possible by gods. Numerous discoveries from space travel have changed this world and saved lives. But even without those results it is still worth it to explore. We cannot deny that exploring heart. If we deny that, we deny a part of our nature that is at its core a beautiful thing. We explore to expand our minds, we explore to expand our world, we explore because we are human, and I pray that that never changes.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • John

      Well said, my friend. Peace and knowledge to you.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • John Vance

      Thank you for a comment that extends thought past the next election cycle.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Stupidity

      What's up there?" ...Common Sense....Durt and ROCKS

      August 6, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
      • John Vance

        The philosopher once opined about "the silence of infinite space". You have demonstarted a new challenge for study, "the cacaphony of the empty mind".

        August 6, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
      • cheapseats2

        "durt and rocks"...Mars doesn't appear to the the only place with an abundance of those things.

        August 6, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
      • neff

        our futer small minded tweet

        August 6, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
      • ....

        @Stupidity Your name is very fitting. Your comment can't be anymore wrong and narrow-minded.

        August 7, 2012 at 2:08 am |
      • paco18

        Stupidity: What a fitting name for you. dirt and rocks may be what we see but you forgot the ice. The fresh water ice that has the ability to keep living organism preserved perfectly for thousands even millions of years. And the rocks and dirt that you think are just that could contain living microscopic organisms, and both can contain a geological history of the planet, which includes wether or not life ever did exist on Mars.

        August 7, 2012 at 11:11 am |
      • Anon

        Dirt...dirt with an "i". Dirt and rocks. And, quite frankly, any project that affects 7,000 American workers is fine by me.

        August 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
      • spacematters

        If everyone thought like you, the world would still be flat and we'd live on one continent.

        August 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • TX Dem

      I just wish we as taxpayers had the option to opt out of both the spending and the "benefits of exploring". Let the people who want to fantasize about life on other plants do so on their own dime.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
      • Tony B.

        Be blind. Be stupid. Be American. Be careful.

        August 6, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
      • cheapseats2

        Opt out of the benefits. Fine. I suppose we won't be seeing you on the Internet for the rest of your life then?

        August 6, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
      • Get real

        Should the top 10% of income earners (who pay 90% of federal income taxes) get to "opt out" of contributing to social welfare programs that do not benefit them in the slightest?

        August 6, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
      • Burt Way

        I also think there should be Optional Fed government programs. That means I can opt out of funding the useless Dept of Education at about $75 Billion per year. Which is $750 Billion over the last decadn. This Mars thing cost 3 billion ? Although I am not an enthusiast of this MArs probe, at least it accompllshed something. Can someone tell me the achievements of the Dept of Education after spending 250 times as much? It does not pay for techers in our classrooms.

        August 7, 2012 at 2:24 am |
      • ca2011

        I should also have the option to opt out of funding wars for oil, torture, and regime changes across the world.

        August 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Chris Goyette

      Well said, you echo my thoughts 1000%

      August 6, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • moi

      All those people bashing Nasa should get informed and they would realize that Nasa is the best investment the USA has ever made. Every dollar ever spent at Nasa was paid back several times in new inventions and discoveries that would have never happened otherwise. They should increase the funds for the Nasa ten fold or more.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
      • scorpioman

        Mr. Moe, Oh yes, humankind has really benefited so much from the billions of $$$ spent to put a man
        on the moon. Huh!

        August 7, 2012 at 12:31 am |
      • Shane

        Actually the technology devoloped to put the man on the moon likley would not have been developed as quickly if it were not for the space race, and some of that technology is still used today, so yes.

        August 7, 2012 at 2:12 am |
      • MOCaseA

        The race to the Moon cost roughly $25 billion.

        Out of that we developed the following technologies:
        Fast Transit Satellite Communications
        The modern internet, satellite television, trans-oceanic communications, GPS, and a very large majority of modern telecommunications technology rely on the technology developed to land a man on the Moon. The income derived in a single year from this technology today would pay for the entire 10 year program ten times over.

        Increased power and capabilities in Central Processing Units (CPUs) while decreasing size, power consumption, and weight.
        Without the driver to reduce the size, while increasing the efficiency, of the CPU you wouldn't have your iPhone, PS3, X-Box, Wii, Tablet, iPad, or even your desktop computer that you do today. The technology would ave probably been developed, but it would have taken much longer. We'd more than likely just be delving into cellular technology today if it weren't for the advances made by the race to the Moon. The annual tax income from just Cell technologies alone would have payed for the entire ten year Moon landing program 6 times over.

        Every study performed on the cost vs. benefit of the Moon landing states it was one of the best investments ever. On the average for every $1 spent on NASA, the US govt earns $2 to $5 back from the technologies developed.

        August 7, 2012 at 2:43 am |
    • DanBun

      Amen.
      I am always stunned that so many Americans really think that the .5% of the federal budget spent on NASA is wasted. In my humble opinion, there are few agencies out there that are so future-focused as NASA, and I'd support NASA's budget being doubled.
      I would, however, like to see some more probes/rovers to planets other than Mars.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • darioringach

      Well said human explorer.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Marina

      You just explained my feeling. Congratulation Nasa, well done!

      August 6, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • kevgr5

      well said!

      August 7, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • Garv

      Actually, I'm a geologist and I tend to look down and ask "what's down there". But I get your point and I would give all to stand on Mars and wonder the same thing "up there".

      August 7, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • J.R.

      Agreed. I wish they would move the Space Program to the Private Sector.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:25 am |
      • JR

        They? We the people. We have collectively decided to pursue this, collectively bear the burden of it expense, collectively reap the benefits from it, but must individually choose to be inspired in our inner most selves.

        August 7, 2012 at 12:42 am |
      • SickOfSpin

        What would be the commercial purpose of going to Mars? I have no problem with private enterprise taking over near-earth ventures, since there is money to be made there. But at this point deep-space research needs to remain in NASA's hands.

        August 7, 2012 at 1:25 am |
    • Xun

      The exploration of space marks the progress of advancing human civilization. Everything else that we spend money on and that we do... all leads up to this point. All the technology we've ever built, everything we discover about the universe leads to here. Spending money elsewhere, is not waste, but it should all lead here, understand the universe more. This IS the end goal of the human species. This is real progress.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • 7o3y

      Mostly true comment on your part.....although our ancestors were more technologically advanced then we are to this day and they even have drawings of brain surgeries and rockets headed to the skies...you seem pretty educated but you should also realize our civilization is problably the least advanced compared to previous civilizations....NEXT

      August 7, 2012 at 12:33 am |
      • Chris

        You, sir, are gullible. There is NO evidence to support your claim. Not a single scrap of forensic or anthropological evidence to even suggest that the human species has ever had remotely comparable technology to our current level. And before you start, there is zero evidence of any pre-human civilization on the planet either.

        Pull your head out of your fantasy and sci-fi novels and come back to reality.

        August 7, 2012 at 3:16 am |
    • joy

      very well said my friend..

      August 7, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Juliano

      Eh, you could've said this better.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • pockets

      Will they allow 'religion' to be available on Mars, will they allow guns on Mars. If either are 'allowed', it will also be a killing field.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:45 am |
    • maltesefalconx9

      I'd prefer $ 2 bilion worth of chlamydia research by some robotic contraption at the bottom of the ocean. Since Chlamydia has been identified as having the DNA which is the most similar to that of the general chloroplast which in turn should be a close relative of ancient Pelagebacter ubique, then research to find anything like that at the bottom of the ocean should be very fascinating.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • Burt Kees

      Before the new rover starts its mission, I want to get a bet down. I'm giving odds that the rover will encounter red rocks and sand in its travels on the martian surface. Any takers?

      August 7, 2012 at 2:58 am |
    • Kevin

      Love this post! Finally, proof of intelligent life in CNN's comments. ;)

      Another reason we need to keep exploring space is for our survival. Although the sun frying us all is still a few billion years off, it could take us millions of years to travel to another Earth-like planet, not to mention all the cosmic objects that could harm Earth between then. So we need to keep exploring the universe and improving space technology if we want our species to keep going to the end of time.

      August 7, 2012 at 4:04 am |
    • Nikki

      Everytime we start talking about going to Mars, I get the feeling we're going home. I've tried to talk myself out of that feeling, but I can't get it to go away.
      .
      Grant you, there have been some people I'd like to send there permanently including our current president . . . .

      August 7, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • steve m

      This is just a distraction from the real truth about mars,there are lakes and forests and plenty of bio life they could have landed next too,don't believe me look at nasas own pics here and see for your self.
      http://www.marsanomalyresearch.com/evidence-reports/2012/221/real-mars.htm

      August 7, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • eli

      i say we need to build another shuttle ASAP that can send people to mars, providing materials so they can survive, honestly i think our time may be shorter than we think, we could be blown away by an asteroid or another space killer any moment, we need to push people off our planet so the human race can surive.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • lily

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I couldn't agree more. I believe you speak for many of us

      September 4, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  2. Idiotshereareannoying

    What if there used to be life in mars before, and they used up all of their resources, so they had to build a ship to save their planet, so only a few people were saved and landed here on earth.

    now that's a good story

    August 6, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • John

      You propose an idea that I think a lot of us have thought about previously. Really, really cool. If you're a writer, I'd suggest you get to work on the way you think all of that might have gone down :))

      Cheers!

      August 6, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • James

      If life has ever existed on Mars, it is very unlikely to have evolved into large, intelligent life-forms. However, if we discovered evidence of even the simplest life-forms, this would be one of the greatest discoveries of all time.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • mb2010a

      I feel that one day, we will discover that when we explore Mars, we will discover that we are actually coming home...

      August 7, 2012 at 6:13 am |
  3. LouAZ

    Be an opener of doors for such as come after thee, and do not try to make the universe a blind alley. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
    Nice job NASA. Just don't give the keys to some teenager.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
  4. Harris

    THREE BILLION DOLLARS FOR WHAT

    August 6, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • jayman419

      Google "NASA spinoff" and check it out for yourself.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • John

      At the very least, for 7.5 bil less than 2 people running for President. Watch your mouth.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • PatriotSammy

      You would rather have another tax cut? 400 for you and 20,000 for your masters? Give me a break. I know you can't understand this but some of us humans are more than greedy animals looking for an indulgent life. We strive hard for the betterment of mankind and to advance human knowledge. I really do feel sorry for you, you live in a dark world where everything boils down to money to buy objects with.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • cheapseats2

      Please stop using the Internet where much of the technology that allows it to work (and the device you used to post your statement) have roots in space exploration.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • KSK

      That's okay. I know the $3.7 TRILLION we spent on the Iraq War was worth it.
      Oh, what was that? $3 billion is too much? You make me laugh.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • nigel

      People who whine in caps miss a very basic point. The 2.5 billion doesn't vanish, or get sent to Mars. It goes to salaries, for fuel for the rocket, for coffee, for advanced parts made in the good 'ol US of A. Nearly all the money gets spent again, and again. For a couple bucks a year in taxes, you've helped keep the economy going, and we've accomplished what no other nation on earth has done or can even dream of doing for decades to come. If you don't like it, please feel free to leave our great nation at any time. You won't be missed.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:40 am |
  5. John-117

    I say we take NASA's budget and spend it on the welfare program. I say we also burn anyone who tries to progress science at the stake. Either that or stone them. Science should be banned, what has it ever done for us.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • John Vance

      All of science trembles at the searing logic of your fiery intellect.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • cheapseats2

      Nice troll. I'll bite...

      August 6, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • Get real

      I see what you did there.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • RS

      Thank goodness for scientists and people that love seeking knowledge. Come on John! They invented the Velcro used on the sneakers you wear.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:28 am |
    • Chris

      Yeah let's put all that money on welfare so we can support the fourth, fifth and maybe sixth generation welfare recipients. Welfare is suppose to help you get back on your feet. Why don't you just take all that money and put it towards creating a socialist government. F... intellect and creativity. All the smart people can go somewhere else. Oh yeah, last time I checked... NASA employs people. Do you think that puts food on their table?

      August 7, 2012 at 7:00 am |
    • Chris

      NASA should hire people unwilling to work and get off their rear end. They should train them to go to Mars. All they have to do is sit there and wait to get to Mars.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:14 am |
      • migeli

        Your tax dollars go more to wealthy little snots with their own reality shows and to big oil companies.But you are too foolish to see that or complain about it.Just pick on poor people most of whom would be at work if the wealthhy hadnt outsourced all the jobs with their tax cuts.Stay tuned to Fox News and you willturn into a rock.

        August 7, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  6. Toledo

    $3 BILLIION dollars. Thanks guys!.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • PatriotSammy

      One of your educated grandkids will thank them.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • redariolawson

      Why don't you educate yourself and do some math. $18.7 billion dollars is the NASA budget for 2012, which is .5% of the total Federal budget. "We did the math, and it turns out that a little more than half a penny of every federal tax dollar ends up at NASA. That means that a family with the median household income ($49,777 according to the U.S. Census Bureau), which pays $6,629 of federal taxes, pays the space agency ...

      $33."

      -NASA Website

      August 7, 2012 at 12:05 am |
  7. vancouverron

    If they ever need to send a human to Mars but would be unable to return him to Earth, I'd sign up for the job. Too many idiots in this place.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  8. Paticia

    I would rather have food on the Table, than cool little science gadgets

    August 6, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • jayman419

      Except cool little space gadgets leads directly to food on many people's plates. Even if you don't work for NASA, the research they did on preservation and storage makes it easier for food to make it from field to market.

      Oh, and you do know that only one calorie out of every three we produce on this planet is ever consumed, right? We waste more food, dollar for dollar, than we spend on NASA.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
      • abqmufc

        Such things would have been found, discovered, and invented w/o NASA. It is to say that the car would never have happened without Henry Ford. You are leaving out every research University and every private industry that could do what NASA has and is doing. What I hate the most, is the fact nobody is open for dialogue, rather people here just want to call others idiots and fools. Don't we all have a right to an opinion? And as adults (presumably) maybe we should try to engage in a dialogue rather than being the typical American ego driven jerk (and I'll include myself in this broad sweeping statement).

        Just like others where developing the car, others where working on solar panels, not just NASA (as one example).

        August 7, 2012 at 12:00 am |
      • jayman419

        But we didn't have to wait for someone else to invent it, because NASA has been working on numerous problems for decades now. NASA spin-off tech affects literally every second of our days now.

        NASA didn't invent these things because they were bored. They did it because they had a problem that needed to be solved, and the solution was applicable to many other problems, as well. Without challenging problems, there are no imaginative solutions.

        Henry Ford didn't invent the car because he wanted a better way to get around. The gasoline engine was created because relying on muscle power was a pain in the butt. He simply found another application for it.

        August 7, 2012 at 12:08 am |
      • Henry Ford

        I didn't invent the car...I made it affordable. I recommend Google.

        August 7, 2012 at 12:43 am |
      • jayman419

        Thanks Henry.
        While I can see why it matters to you, sometimes I have to choose my battles. I could have tried to explain your contribution a little bit better, but I thought that would have muddled my point. In the future, I will try to be more considerate to historical accuracy.

        August 7, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • John-117

      You can put your own food on your table. Its called a job. Working as a Walmart greeter is enough to put food on your table. Buying food for yourself is your job, exploring the universe is NASA's job.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
      • abqmufc

        Yet with the worst unemployment rate since the depression, maybe just mabye that money could have been spent a little better to benefit more directly. As for WalMart, I've been rejected by them and others for two years. Seems like they don't want an unemployed person who has a BA and MA. So for me, I see this as about 100 million potential jobs being spent on a science project. How about spending the money on a clean burning, sustainable fuel source that is not from a fossil fuel? How about renewable energy sources for transportation that doesn't require toxic chemical (ehtanol). Yes this is NASA's job, but NASA has other missions, like furthering the study of solar and wind power here on Earth.

        August 7, 2012 at 12:05 am |
      • jayman419

        Why didn't you spend your time in school studying the sciences, and work on these problems yourself? There are literally millions of job openings for highly qualified technical people in the United States right now.

        Why do you think we give so visas to so many foreign workers? Some kind of conspiracy to keep our citizens down? No. It's because Americans think that math is magic, and shy away from any sort of career that relies upon it.

        August 7, 2012 at 12:11 am |
      • Sick of Lazy People

        Amen to that

        August 7, 2012 at 3:03 am |
      • Chris

        You keep saying NASA! NASA is filled with people. Employed people. Are you saying to eliminate NASA or the people working at NASA? What do you think happens to the money NASA uses? Do the math. Take an Econ class. It takes manpower to make rocket fuel. Sure, u need equipment. But who makes and assemble these equipment? People! Employed people.

        August 7, 2012 at 7:21 am |
      • migeli

        Whath about the wealthy brats who get handouts from their rich parents with the tax cuts.We are being run by dynastys of greedy undeserving morans who got hand-outs from their parents.Doies that give us a level playing fielld?

        August 7, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • BuckToothedWilly

      Than get a job lazyhead.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:33 am |
    • Burt Way

      I would rather have both !

      August 7, 2012 at 2:31 am |
    • Chris

      Patricia, you should google all the things that came from NASA. Freeze dried foods, Velcro, dust buster...and so on.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • kls817

      Parasites like you will never be satisfied with the handouts the governments give you. You will always want more and more. The federal governemt should not be giving any money directly to the "poor" who will generally waste it. I'm all for food kitchens but if you want someone to hand you money so you can be lazy, then go try to mooch off of your relatives, not the US taxpayer.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  9. r

    I'm fascinated as to the real reason for doing this. Probably to eventually put weapons there as a safeguard. Searching for any signs of life is a pretty good cover though.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Yep

      Good one. I can see it now. Quick, go get our weapons! Let's send you first.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • jayman419

      If we wanted weapons in space as some sort of safeguard, we'd put a catapult on the Moon with an Asian guy to work out the trajectories for the rocks.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:12 am |
      • Chris

        You don't need an Asian guy. Figuring out trajectories is simple. Ask an army guy or simply take a math class. You guys are dumb! A simple math equation and you're gonna outsource it.

        August 7, 2012 at 6:49 am |
      • Chris

        oh yeah and if you're going to outsource the job, if I was the Asian guy... I'll just overcharge NASA and hire a college intern in the US to do the job for free. I'll write him/her up a great recommendation letter.

        August 7, 2012 at 7:11 am |
  10. andyhoover

    Mars is fascinating because it's the only planet we can easily reach, and land machines & eventually people. It's also costing taxpayers billions of dollars to find out if there was once water or organic life in the little patch of ground explored by robots. If a warp drive spaceship took off from planet earth Mars would be all but forgotten as a fascinating place. It's the way humans are, forever fascinated exploring the unknown.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  11. Imad Al

    2.5 BILLION DOLLARS AND THEY CANT EVEN GET HD PICTURE, HELL EVEN A COLOR ONE, STUPID NERDS. SCREW YOU NASA QUIT SENDING US PICTURES FROM THE 70 WE KNOW YOU FOUND LALA LAND SHOW US HOW IT REALLY LOOKS.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • John-117

      LaLa land? You do realize that Mars exists, right?

      August 6, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
      • Imad Al

        Lala Land does exist sir, atleast george bush made me believe it does.

        August 7, 2012 at 2:14 am |
    • Steve

      Calm down angry sir, the black and white pictures are the ones from the cameras that look around and see if things are blocking the wheels, which are already turned on. The nice cameras are on the fancy equipment, which hasn't been unpacked yet because they're making sure everything works first.

      This thing has 17 cameras on it, don't worry.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:42 am |
      • Imad Al

        so your telling me that remote controlled car actually has a hdmi input cable? i thought their going to keep sending us black and white pictures and I have to buy crayons and color them... well still stupid because I actually wanted to color them and draw aliens. and see thats what im talking about why waste tax payer money on 17 cameras, cant you just put one big webcam on top and let it stream live, its like $20 at bestbuy.

        August 7, 2012 at 2:12 am |
    • Chris

      Maybe you need to get a better screen (tv or monitor). You should ask your cable provider to send 1080p signal, at best you're only getting 720p or 1080i. Oh wait, they don't have the bandwidth! Maybe you should ask NASA to send low rez images cause your tv can't handle it.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:13 am |
  12. tcaros

    Actually most Americans are not fascinated. We wish they'd stop wasting our tax dollars looking for rocks.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Stupidity

      Well said...

      August 6, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • John-117

      You're right. Most Americans are more interested with the Jersey Shore than science. I have friends who don't even know what a star is, let alone the capital of their own state.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • Republican Money

      Only T e a b a g g e r s and L u d d i t e s are not fascinated by Mars. You want to stay on this plan and pollute it even more, and more, until it is unlivable, then you'll be saying: damn those intelligent people and their fascination with exploring the next frontier. Wish we hadn't put them all in re-education camps.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
      • serotap

        hahaha, that's funny.

        August 6, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
      • abqmufc

        So the lesson here is pollute and move on...and screw all other life. The arrogance of humanity to think we are all that matters on Earth is saddening. Elitism at its finest....and every movie and story based on your theory seems to always only take the elites and the wealthy. I see no difference in real life.

        August 7, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • PatriotSammy

      Most Americans know more about reality TV shows and the Kardashians than what powers their tv's and cell phones. They know more random sport stats than naming all 50 states. They know more about brand name clothing than what continent that article of clothing was made. Point is its a darn shame, and its our fault for not changing our indulgent self absorbed way of life.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • cheapseats2

      Yeah, you're right. Now stop bothering us so we can get back to watching Jerry Springer reruns.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • serotap

      Exactly. I am glad I scrolled down and saw your comment before saying the exact same thing.

      Between government spending our tax dollars on this crap and the media trying to convince us it's the best thing since electricity, I wonder what planet these people actually live on. I am from Uranus, in case anyone cares.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • power4things

      I know it, we could be giving Americans more food stamps to trade for booze and having welfare babies. Thank you for pointing out how wasteful our government is. Honestly, going to Mars ...!

      August 7, 2012 at 1:33 am |
      • Nikki

        Any maybe some of us would like to escape all the illegitimate welfare babies, moochers, drugs, gangs, etc. that are here on Earth . . .

        August 7, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  13. Robert

    I totally agree that Bush wasted far more money with his fake terrorist attacks...but that doesn't justify in the slightest this ridiculous waste of taxpayer money. The congress should not just be spending it's people's money foolishly without their consent. In fact why are they wasting it at all?

    August 6, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • sjenner

      It is being spent with the People's consent. Their duly elected representatives voted for it. As for being a waste of money, I suppose you would've thought the moon a waste of money too, or searching in recesses of the deep. Except every time we push ourselves, we learn amazing things, and derive new technologies. That aside, a common fight for greatness ennobles us.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • John-117

      Fake attacks? You don't believe in Muslim extremists or the middle east? Do you also think the world is flat as well?

      August 6, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • John

      Choose your stance, then find reasons to justify it. We understand. Move along.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
  14. Tony B.

    People who complain about the money side of this project fail to step back and look at the big picture. This project created jobs. Those jobs in turn created technology that may be used in the future by other industries that glean the lessons learned from this and other space missions. Technologies that we take for granted now, numerous have stemmed from the space program: satellite TV, GPS, cordless power tools, just to name a small few.

    For those who still would rather use the money for the space program to facilitate social programs, talk to your representatives and senators and get them to kill pork spending. The mismanagement of government funds causes more problems with social programs than funding the space program would ever do.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
  15. gonadz

    I don't give a Ratz asterisk about what percent of GDP this utter moronic waste of all our money this is...you could argue that about anything so that is an idiotic claim. Why can't the government spend our own money on things that benefit US, rather than give this money to an ever-losing money pit, that doesn't help any of us-in any way-and is just a stupit senseless waste of money.

    And, when are WE EVER GOING TO GET A SAY IN WHAT OUR GOVERNMENT DOES????

    August 6, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Dynamic

      I feel the same way: WHEN WILL WE EVER GET A SAY IN WHAT OUR GOVERNMENT DECIDES IS THE RIGHT WAY TO DO THINGS? They hold meetings open to the public, and you can send in your letters, but they'll still decide against whatever you want and soon the postal service won't exist so you'll only be able to send emails that get ignored. Maybe it's time to figure out a way to give the corporations what they want ... (I suspect it has something to do with anal exploration of the real humans, but I'm no boy scout)

      August 6, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • John Vance

      There is a place for you. One with no taxes, no government interference and no spending of your money other than by yourself. You can build your life anywhere and in anyway you wish and protect yourself in any manner you see fit.
      This Xanadu is called Somalia and at this moment there are thousands of under-employed and unemployed travel agents right here in this oppressive, tyrannical country who would be more than happy to guide you there.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Steve

      We got a say starting in 1789, when Washington became president. And if you're going to say that it doesn't matter how much of the budget it is, then that's a question about what is important to us. Is it more important to fund high-technology science programs (which generate a ton of jobs, by the way), or any other project? It comes down to what is important to us, and a lot of people think that science and education are important. We didn't become a great country because we have a long and storied tradition of giving rich people tax breaks.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:57 am |
  16. biffClenchbutt

    Pictures look just like Bakersfield, though I imagine Mars is a lot cleaner.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  17. Steve

    Here's another interesting fact: this mission cost $2.5 billion. Meanwhile, the Bush tax cuts have added at least $1.6 trillion to our debt (that's 640 Mars missions, for you out there keeping track), and could add another $3.3 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years if left in full effect. But you people want to cut out science, the only reason you're able to complain about this online in the first place.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • bspurloc

      2 unpaid for wars..... wah wah NASA... bush the DOLT is the ONLY prez idiotic enough to pay for 2 SIMULTANEOUS wars with TAX CUTs....

      August 6, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  18. John Vance

    !!!!NERD ALERT!!! !!!!NERD ALERT!!!!
    For the people who find this truly enrapturing, I don't think it's Mars, I don't think it's Pluto or Alpha Centauri or the Milky Way or any of the usual suspects. For some, there is an instinct to imagine a greater place and larger sense of time. There was a line in the novelized version of "2001: A Space Odyssey" - "they had not wholly forgotten their origin, in the warm slime of a vanished sea". I read it when I was 15 years old and still recall the stunning effect that it had on me and my view of the entire universe.
    I don't know where we came from, why we're here or where we're going but I will always be grateful for the time I had here and the opportunity to dream about it. Thank you NASA, JPL and all the people who gave me something more to be excited about during my time here. And to whatever God is, thank you as well, this is a great place!!
    (And to all you commenters, give me a break, I'm a dork and I know it, don't rub it in.)

    August 6, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  19. kileycyrus

    Reading these comments is depressing.

    Y'all need to look at the bigger picture. Our taxes, our government, and our earth is all temporary-space is forever. Its one thing that humans can not destroy. I for one can not wait to see what Curiosity see's.

    Shutup and take my money!!

    August 6, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
  20. lovemygirl

    It is sad young people disparage curiosity and whine about money they don't even pay. NASA is one of the few quasi-government agencies that brings in real money. 1,000s of private business jobs are created with each and every program.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • John

      good,
      I hope I can use the pics from curiosity as food stamps.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
  21. John-117

    Scientific research is a huge waste of money! We were better off using stone tools! We don't need no fancy science!

    August 6, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
  22. Mike Jones

    hey this is an honest question, what are we really accomplishing by all of this?

    August 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • lovemygirl

      Go to NASA's site and read. Automous driving vehicles for one.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Dynamic

      This could be seen as an economic stimulus and an alternative to the war machine currently sucking up all our resources, but yes, providing "jobs".

      August 6, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
  23. John-117

    Exploring the universe is a waste of money. The money should be spent to support people who don't like working! Education and careers are too hard. Wheres my welfare check?!?!?!

    August 6, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Ray B

      Haha...u said it!!

      August 6, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • John

      dont like welfare?
      No problem , what about solving our immediate energy problem, US infrastructure problem, Global contamination of the seas with plastic problem, the CO2 problem, Nuclear security problem etc......, etc....???

      August 6, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
  24. Steve

    BTW big spenders, $2.5 billion is 0.06% of our 2012 budget.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
  25. Gomer

    Speculative Real Estate! A new frontier for Century 21!

    August 6, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Republican Money

      I just bought an ocean-side lot! Can't wait to see it!

      August 6, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
  26. Trubidore

    THANKS, NASA, FOR WASTING MY MONEY

    August 6, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Get real

      My guess is that you don't pay a whole lot of federal income taxes. Am I wrong?

      August 6, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  27. bigdoglv

    "What's our fascination with Mars?" That's easy. Because of the Bugs Bunny cartoons. What a maroon!

    August 6, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  28. Dynamic

    With these results and the finding of the Higgs Boson Thingy, Earth's scientists and engineers seem to be on a roll. What could possibly be next? FASTER THAN LIGHT-SPEED SPACE TRAVEL? YES! Proxima Centauri, here we come! Just imagine, "vacation to the stars"! We can have a coupon day for the poor or something...

    August 6, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  29. weatherthestorm

    because it's in our nature to learn and explore. We're not like other species in being satisfied with just staying alive. And it may be hundreds or thousands of years from now, but we can't stay on Earth forever. We will run out of resources sometime. Beyond the Moon, Mars is the next logical step.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  30. Orbital

    Wow, Congress paid out billions of our dollars to check out a rock...but, hey Wilbur, we've got tons of really neat pictures now!

    August 6, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  31. Ray B

    If we listened to most of the Yahoos on here, Europe would still be waiting to discover America. My God, have you people no sense of exploration and adventure? A mission like this is 1000 times better money spent then pouring it into the black hole of welfare or social security.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Mike

      You took the words right out of my mouth.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  32. Tustin

    This is a stupid waste of MY money!!!!!!

    August 6, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Ray B

      And we wonder why we're 18th in the industrialized world in math and science? I guess you'd rather see YOUR money going into free handouts so that we can produce another generation of lazy bums?
      Me? I'll take MY money being spent on NASA and SCIENCE any day!!

      August 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
  33. Steve

    I find it pretty sad to see everyone using their computers to post messages to an information network which spans the planet via satellite and question the need for science when we have one spacecraft orbiting another planet taking a picture of another one landing, while the one landing communicates with a third spacecraft to relay data back to Earth. Great idea, let's continue to cut NASA's budget. Maybe one day we'll be back in the dark ages again, that would be fantastic. Instead let's fund religious programs, let's make laws to strip people of their civil rights, let's cut taxes for people who have the most money, and we might as well just cut out education too in order to really speed our decline. Yeah, science is terrible, and thanks to Obama for cutting NASA's unmanned budget again. Way to go guys, way to reach for the stars.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  34. FatCongress

    I have a hunch that mars had an atmosphere at some point in its past and the planet thrived with water and life. Mars has since lost its atmosphere & most of its water was then lost to space w/ no atmosphere. Would be crazy to find fossils or even ruins of civilizations that have been buried in millions of years of wind storms. Water = life

    August 6, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • John

      they had too much CO2 and the planet became a huge greenhouse boiling the atmosphere eventually.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
      • John-117

        You are incorrect. Mars has a very weak magnetic field. Without a strong magnetic field, the sun's solar winds blows the martian atmosphere into space. As a result Mars has a thin atmosphere. Mars may have had a stronger magnetosphere in the past.

        August 6, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
      • LaurenKnuckles

        You're thinking of Venus John. We destroyed Venus and then moved to Earth. Mars is next. Get your facts straight. Sheesh. ^.^

        August 11, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • soul68

      There isn't a hunch involved. Planetary scientists who have studied Mars are already well convinced that Mars had flowing rivers and a denser atmosphere at one time. The visual evidence is overwhelming and now with Curiosity they can prove it with analysis.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
      • Stupidity

        Get over yourself. Buy me a movie ticket instead..I do not want billions of dollars to spend which accoding to you cost me just a movie ticket.. to find out once their were rivers on mars..I will be happy with a movie ticket.

        August 6, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
      • John-117

        Its funny that a person named "stupidity" is attacking science research.

        August 6, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
  35. newyorkjsw

    well it looks so much like earth and that is why and of course it is accessible in distance.
    only slight problem...... no oxygen!!

    so producing this gas and containing it in a bubble, would be MORE then essential for this d r e a m !

    August 6, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • cja

      There is PLENTY of oxygen. Just not O2 in the atmosphere. Not planit would ever has O2 in ther air unless it were covered with plant life. O2 is reactive it would oxidize "everything" and that is what happened on Mar. It is there but bound to the rocks and the dust and in frozen water.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
  36. Jeff

    Wow... I Can't believe how Small Minded so Many People here are.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Stupidity

      Because we are not rich anymore...Am I STUPID yes..cause my tax dollars gave me these pictures..I am not happy for my RETURN....and talking about future....this thing will be forgotten quickly because there is nothing much in it..

      August 6, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
      • soul68

        Get over yourself. The amount of money involved in this mission is about the same as if everyone in the US bought a movie ticket. So sick of every idiot whining about "blah blah my tax dollars".

        What have you done to push the human race forward?

        August 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
  37. Harry

    BILLIONS of dollars spent on this trash. and yet we have tens of thousands of people homeless, hungry, unemployed. Gee, we are a caring country...we help ourselves to these cute little science projects (or, the politicians to be specific), and we totally forget about the starving children and the forsaken Vets. I hope your happy, you members of the government, I bet you sleep well at night!

    August 6, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • John-117

      Harry, I picture you as a caveman beating anyone with intelligence or a thirst for science with a giant club. You sound like a simple minded barbarian who is afraid of science because you lack the intelligence to comprehend anything about it.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Idiotshereareannoying

      Yes, THIS is a waste of money, it will be better to give all of that money to lazy bums so they can be more lazy

      August 6, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Shane

      So your rationale is to cut the funding, which would result in a few thousand more layoffs?

      August 6, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • jimbo

      Harry oh Harry- first its millions not thousands- secondly how would that money change those peoples plights- you cant just write a check and stamp out all that is wrong in our world.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Republican Money

      Harry, Harry, Harry, you were always the slow kid in class, right? This project provided thousands of jobs that did not involve 'would you like fries with that?' or dying in Afghanistan. Hows that for benefits?

      August 6, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
  38. BERGUS

    why are we so fascinated with mars? b/c we just sent our greatest technology, and over 2 BILLION DOLLARS there. i hope NASA can bring it back safely.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Idiotshereareannoying

      They don't bring it back, it will stay there until it dies

      August 6, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  39. Dynamic

    Hey you guys, we should do this with ALL THE PLANETS!

    August 6, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  40. Dynamic

    This research will definitely help our economy in the long run.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
  41. TX Dem

    Waste of money

    August 6, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
  42. Dynamic

    We are the Martians.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Tony B.

      As Ray Bradbury wisely stated after the Viking had landed...

      August 6, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  43. David

    A wonderful step into the future...sorry some of you are so short sighted..

    August 6, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  44. Peanutsbrittle

    Unemployment skyrocketting in the last decade or so and all we can think of is throwing money into the fire like this?!???

    August 6, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • cja

      The cost was $7 per US citizen spread out over an 8 year period. We spend a LOT more on pop corn at movies then going to Mars. Also we sent the mont HERE on Earth. None of the money was sent to mars. It was paid to engineers and technicians and secretaries and truck drivers and managers. Who then used the money to pay for food and housing and cars and what not. It other works the money when straight into the US economy and got re-cycled many times. NONE of it was spent on Mars

      August 6, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Ben Friedman

      I'm sure whatever subsidie we give to Big Oil could pay for this 100 times over. But I am sure you will ignore that point of common sense.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Republican Money

      This waste of money provided thousands of people with meaningful jobs.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
  45. B1975

    Maybe they will find some Unobtainium and will justify the cost for going?

    August 6, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  46. PhilG

    Mars looks alot like Arizona desert to me with a sky filter on the picture.

    Just sayin'.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Republican Money

      The only thing missing is Joe Arpaio's withered corpse.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  47. Reader511

    I'm not the slightest bit interested in exploring Mars. Huge waste of money to investigate a planet that cannot sustain human life. Who cares if (or when) there was ever life on that planet? NASA should be concentrating its time, effort and resources on locating a planet that is hospitable for human life, not wasting time exploring a vast wasteland.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Stuck On Planet Earth

      There is no other hospitable planet in our solar system. We are stuck here. The only way you could possibly get off some day - hundreds of years into the future - would be if you are very rich. The majority of the population will die here one day in a global warming catastrophe and it won't matter if it is man-made or cyclical.

      The bottom line is this mission is a complete waste of money.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • John-117

      you do realize that we are 100-1000s of years from reaching a planet that can support life like earth. Its like you expected the laser gun right after the bow and arrow was invented.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  48. Trever

    CNN said this morning that we spent "Billions" on this one particular adventure. And ... what have we got to show for all of those Billions of our dollars spent? A bunch of really cool photos?

    August 6, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Republican Money

      We spent trillions on tax cuts for rich people, Iraq and Afghanistan. What is to show for that? Jobs? No. New technologies? Yes, killer drones. Americans in body bags? Yes, definitely. Tax deductions for Romney's horse? Priceless!.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  49. Unfred

    What? we don't have enough desert on earth to take pictures of? Waste of money. You better find gold up there. And try not to bring back any aliens.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Sheerer

      OMG, i love you!!! exactl.y what i said

      August 6, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Stupidity

      Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...

      August 6, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  50. sUZANNE mCgUIRE

    tHANK yOU YOUNG MEN – WE CaN not TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN plAnET – COUNTIES/EARTH! wHO THE HECK DO we THINK we – RE? cAN'T DO anthing RIGHT HERE – SO why WOULD WE – WELL ENUF

    August 6, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Sheerer

      AMEN

      August 6, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • jayman419

      What mean "sharpen"? Why Ogg "sharpen" stick when stick only used to hurt, and already good enough?

      Hey! How Ogg make animal skin standing like with not blowing away? What mean "sharp stick make pole"? Stick make club, that all stick good for.

      Why Ogg waste good stick to make useless?

      Yes, this is what you sound like. This is what people like you have always sounded like. Just because you can't understand the benefits of something like this, you shouldn't worry your pretty little head about why others may want to spend their time and energy on it.

      And NASA has gotten less money over the entire time of its existence than the United States spent on its defense appropriations bill just this year.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  51. Oscar Pitchfork

    I knew this article would bring the Space Hippies out of the basements! MARS HAS NO AIR! Like, point 6 PSI, and THAT"S 95% carbon dioxide. Why? ONLY 1/3 our gravity (air floats away without gravity, too) and it's always just about as cold as dry ice (-100F). Everything any colony would need, would have to be shipped from Earth, which is 2 years away, ON A GOOD YEAR. The sun's a bright star which rules out solar power, unless you have the trilions of bucks and the decades required to SHIP THEM there. THERE'S NOTHING ON MARS WE WANT! GET IT?

    August 6, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Felix Unger

      You forgot to mention the lack of a magnetic field would provide no protection against the solar wind.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • jayman419

      Nothing there you want?

      Turn off your computer, and especially no more instant streaming videos. And quit using your cellular phone. Never use another rollerball ink pen. Don't use any canned or dehydrated food. Never fasten anything with velcro. Get all your water from freshwater streams or don't drink it. And you can't use a Brita filter or anything like that, by the way... better buy some charcoal. Remove the insulation from your home. No remote controls for anything. Remove the filter from your air conditioning.

      You also can't fly anywhere, because aircraft (even cheap little crop dusters) have so much integrated technology that you just can't separate it and still operate in modern airspace. No more GPS for your car. And your airbags, disconnect those. And since robotics and modern body armor and ballistics and much more military tech came from NASA research, you'd better find another country to live in, since I know a false life under the security of space spin-off technology is something you wouldn't want to involve yourself with.

      tl;dr?
      Here's all you need to know. You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  52. lovemygirl

    I had my daughter's name "digitally engraved" on it years ago (whatever that means) but she was thrilled and watched the simulated landing. I've shown her Mars in the telescope before, now it means something to her.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  53. Justine

    WE'RE NOT! Just companies like you keep trying to force it down our Throats. I don't know of a single person on Earth that could give two shirts about Mars... much less raise our taxes to pay for these pointless little adventures that never get us anywhere or never improve our lives in any way whatsoever. If YOU want to pay for it, then you should be able to pay into a fund for it. I, personally, don't want my taxes paying for this garbage anymore!

    August 6, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Techknowledgy

      I like the way you think. Can my money please stop going to fund senseless wars too?

      August 6, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Ray B

      Or how about senseless social programs? Give me exploration, ingenuity, and adventure any day over throwing money down a rathole of free handouts.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • jayman419

      There's a very good reason for that.

      It's because you and all your friends are short-sighted fools.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • moi

      You are a m**on. Money spent at Nasa results in revenus several times what is spent. It has been true from day one and will continue to be true. Just the push for miniaturisation for instance. Before Nasa push for miniaturisation a computer could be rented for several thousand dollars a month. Today you can buy a small computer running Linux for $25, a computer that is more powerfull than those renting for thousands of dollars in the 50s.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  54. Techknowledgy

    From reading some of these posts, one might believe that for the last ten years NASA collected all of this money, loaded it on a rocket and shot it off to Mars. That money was spent right here in America on things we can only scarcely imagine might be useful to us one day. They actually have a return on investment. Let's figure out terraforming so that when we are bursting at the seams there is somewhere else to go. It is not science fiction. If George Washington could see where we are now, he would think THIS is science fiction.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • John

      what about spending the money developing CO2 capture procedures or devices?
      whats about spending the money preventing Fish species from extinction?
      what about spending the money developing a new source of energy with zero carbon footprint?
      what about spending the money developing ways to feed the earth population without GMO or cutting down the amazon forest to produce soy beans for the biofuel industry.?
      what about spending the money finding cures for diseases like aids and cancer without the benefit of the big pharmaceutical companies.?
      What about giving you some of that money so you can buy yourself a plate of food and a plane ticket to another country so we can all enrich our culture and become more tolerant towards other Human Races?

      August 6, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
      • jayman419

        One penny out of every dollar the federal government spends goes to NASA.

        And every dollar spent on NASA creates a ten dollar benefit to the economy, through employment, procurement, and spin-off tech.

        August 6, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
  55. NewYorkGal12

    We haven't even finished writing the bible yet and we want to pay taxpayers to fly to Mars! We need to cure cancer not build robots! The last thing we need is robot martians coming back to conquer us. Science people need to read the bible. God wrote "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" in the bible so robots are bad.....

    August 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Joe

      Yup, the bible makes it easier to accept that we are at the center of the universe and the sun revolves around the earth.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • No God

      Their is no GOD.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • CueBallSTL

      If robots are bad, then by the same logic, clothing is bad. And so is the computer you used to type up your post.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
  56. Cathy

    It looks like New Mexico in a dust storm. I could walk out my door and see that for free.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  57. LB

    I heard someone say today on NPR that many thousands of years ago in northern Africa, people were probably arguing that we don't need to go over that hill. Everything is fine here and it's too expensive and we need the money here. I am sure the same thing was said to Marco Polo and Columbus. He reminded us that WE are the descendants of the people that went over that hill and benefit from the waste of money by Marco Polo and Columbus. It also cost too much money to send out Lewis and Clark and to buy the Louisiana purchase and Alaska. Anything is too expensive to people with no vision or imagination.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • pat

      Well put LB

      August 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • ConcernedHuman

      Thank you. I was wondering when an intelligent, naturally inquisitive human being would comment on this thread. To everybody else, this mission costed the American public 2.3 Billion. Let's run some figures. The yearly DoD average spending is around 400 B, the amount of money lost per year due to no taxation of religious establishments is about 75 B per year. I find it hilarious how short sighted people can find a way to complain about 2.3 billion over the course of 5 years that could potentiality inspire children, give us an understanding of our universe, find possible extra terrestrial life and make math & science a hero for day. Kennedy took America to the moon. It gave us a sense of pride and patriotism. It united us and for made us stand in awe of the things we could accomplish and the tasks that were still ahead. I'm not often proud of how our government spends my tax dollars, but if it is the pursuit of knowledge and education of our species. Then I'm all for it. Or maybe some of you would have preferred it went to bullets and lobbyists?

      August 6, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
  58. unafy

    Time to look around, earth is over populated >7 billion

    August 6, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  59. lovemygirl

    Nice, I had my daughter's name stored on Curiosity. She was thrilled when I told her last night and we watched the "simulated" landing.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  60. Brandon Adams

    Wow, hurray, that Mars picture sure was worth almost 3 Billion Dollars!! Maybe we could spend another few billion seeing if the rings of Saturn have a fruity flavor. I mean god knows, we don't really have a need for for every cent we can get our hands on with a 15 Trillion Dollar debt (3.91 billion per day) and a planet that is becoming more inhospitable every day. But yay, lets pat ourselves on the back for getting a great picture, and one step closer to inhabiting other planets 100 years from now we can make a good mess of then move on. God forbid we make what we have work for the people here today, and our kids. I keep reading that understanding what happened to Mars will help us manage Earth. What??? We know what is destroying the planet, humans. Pollution, resource mis-management, fighting like 3 year olds. We don't want to see that, we want to see things possibly happening that don't make us infallible humans. A god complex that we are far to evolved to have caused the problems we are faced with. Pretty cool pictures of the moon as I remember too. And that sure did spring the human race forward, didn't it!? Space race? Racing where? The race is only in the mind of Americans who can't even conquer obesity and illiteracy, but will do anything in our power to feel that we have control of a universe we will never understand, and most likely are incapable of understanding. Let's create a project called "Curiosity", fund it with billions of dollars and scientists, and finally conquer cancer. Let's concentrate on the things we do understand are happening, not the things that really don't make a difference to the vast majority of humanity now, or in all probability ever. But I have to admit, those sure are neat rock pictures. Looks like a great place to strip mine someday.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Pepinium

      Brandon , you need to understand that there are some endeavors that take much longer than your miserable lifetime but are of crucial importance, nevertheless !! I am not going to waste my time trying to educate you on the benefits of a space program. Any rational being understands that our long term survival as a species will be greatly enhanced by our ability to propagate to other places, thus negating the possibility that a single cosmic event such as a nearby Super Nova, Meteorite, etc. could wipe us out. In fact, the real significant accomplishments of our species are much more likely to be realized by future societies created in other worlds with a much more organized and civilized approach than we can ever hope to achieve in this overpopulated, limited-resources planet of ours. If we are going to break out of this cesspool, we need to do it while we can. If we wait another century, the population here will probably increase to 30 billion people. Then we will be fighting like dogs over every scrap of food and sip of water and it will be really to late to ask anyone to support this crucial step in mankind's development. Just saying, :).

      August 6, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
      • Brandon Adams

        Well, thanks for educating me while existing in my miserable life:)

        If you think that we will colonize other planets before we wipe out our species, I am really surprised. We need to fix things like population, and resource management first. Not later. There is no later. We're 100 years from colonizing a planet. We can't colonize Mars no matter what FOX news says. It to harsh. So what's o

        August 7, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  61. NewYorkGal12

    We haven't even finished writing the bible yet and we want to pay taxpayers to fly to Mars! We need to cure cancer not build robots! The last thing we need is robot martians coming back to conquer us. Science people need to read the bible. God wrote "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" in the bible so robots are bad..

    August 6, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
  62. bro

    fascinated cause it is fascinating, adventurous, provides thousand of jobs, but also is no more than stick your head in the sand and ignore the real problems on earth that are no fun to work with. Sometimes i think there were people on mars and they trashed it out and moved to earth

    August 6, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • NewYorkGal12

      We haven't even finished writing the bible yet and we want to pay taxpayers to fly to Mars! We need to cure cancer not build robots! The last thing we need is robot martians coming back to conquer us. Science people need to read the bible. God wrote "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" in the bible so robots are bad....

      August 6, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
      • Pepinium

        Gal, no matter how many times you post the same moronic garbage, it should be obvious to you now that no one is biting. You are either a troll trying to get a rise out of people or really too stupid for anyone to educate. In either case, you are just not worth our time. Suggestion: Go back, and finish Middle School.

        August 6, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
  63. David Murray

    I'm amazed at all of the people who think this is a waste of money. Almost all of the comments are religious in nature. In many ways, I think some of the religious people are afraid of science because they always feel it threatens the legitimacy of their beliefs. The most irritating part is that we actually spend very, very little on NASA these days. Compare how much we spend on the US military and NASA is like a grain of sand on a beach in comparison. What's more important people? Another aircraft carrier? Or establish a human colony on another world and maybe unlock more mysteries of the universe?

    August 6, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • NewYorkGal12

      We haven't even finished writing the bible yet and we want to pay taxpayers to fly to Mars! We need to cure cancer not build robots! The last thing we need is robot martians coming back to conquer us. Science people need to read the bible. God wrote "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" in the bible so robots are bad...

      August 6, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
      • Jeff

        WHY Does YOUR GOD NOT Cure Cancer... Think about it

        August 6, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
      • maryrm

        space exploration has resulted in incredible discoveries and developments that have led including better cancer detections and treatments. Space exploration has very real, physical benefits to people living on earth. And what does space exploration have to do with not reading the Bible? I am both a Bible reader and an avid space enthusiast. They are not mutually exclusive except to fearful ignorant people.

        August 6, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Wasting Good Money

      Screw NASA and this stupid waste of money!

      We need solutions for climate change, cancer, drought, energy, Alzheimer's, AIDS, and MANY other problems right here on our planet. These solutions aren't going to be found on a hot planet a million miles away at a cost of billions of dollars.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • moi

      It is amazing how ignorant some people are about Nasa. Money spent by Nasa resulted in revenus several times what was spent. Wars are not the only things that pushes science forward. If it hadn't been for the space exploration our electronic technology would not be has advanced as fast as it has in the past 50 years. Miniaturisation was needed for space, not for the military. Many in the military still wanted to use stuff from the world war 2 days. Without nasa our computers might still be running with vacuum tubes.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  64. Adam

    What many don't think of or find very trivial is the fact that we as a race MUST find means of transporting ourselves into space to live somewhere other then earth. The population is ever growing and with it our natural resources will be used much quicker. Shall we all suffer what Mars had to suffer just because we are so close-minded as to not see what may become of us. Granted, it will take time for Earth to crumble or for humans to suffer from lack of provisions. Money, hard work and patience is what we need to make the first of many achievements that will guide us towards future life. Knowledge can change the world. We have seen this but don't trust in it.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  65. Tony

    Many Christians , always the crazy extremist white American ones, are waiting for the apocalypse, they don't care about knowledge, and they certainly don't want man to advance beyond the stars.

    Ask one, they are usually against clean water, are birthers, and love to hate science... while complete benefitting from what science has given the.

    Hypocrites.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Mark

      What is wrong with you? This is what you came up with out of this story. I'd say YOU are the one with issues.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Mark

      Tony – as a Christian scientist I am a little confused by your remarks. Could it be that you have no idea what you are talking about? Everything you mention are part of God's creation and I believe something every Christian cares deeply about.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
      • Phillip

        Mark you are the exception NOT the rule upwards of 45% of the population of the United States believes the earth is less the 12,000 years old.

        August 6, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
      • maryrm

        @ Phillip – what does the United States have to do with Christians? Most Christians are NOT Americans. And if 45% of American Christians believe that, there are 55% that live very happily embracing both God and science. Most Christians throughout the world have no problem with science and technology. And that Mars rover is not exclusively American, there was a great deal of international effort made to build and get that buggy to Mars.

        August 6, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
      • Phillip

        "You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep-seated need to believe." Carl Sagan.

        August 7, 2012 at 4:32 am |
    • Mark

      We are not the same Mark but I also agree with his question re: is that what you came up with?

      August 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • John

      Going to the stars sounds interesting and romantic but be careful, not every critic of the move is an extremist.

      quote "They don't care about knowledge"
      end quote
      What about all of the problems we have to solve here on earth, scientific and social?
      They don't need input from another space object, they can be solved with the technology we can develop here on earth.
      We still have to find ways to clean water for communities in developing countries, we still have to face the reality that current earth resources will be exhausted in 50 to 200 years, like copper, petro, Tuna, etc.. and serious damage is being done to the global ecology in many countries, starting with illegal deforestation of the amazon's, damage to the ecology with GMO crops, contamination of water from hydrotracking..... etc...

      quote ", and they certainly don't want man to advance beyond the stars."
      end quote
      First to advance beyond the stars we have to have a spaceship not fueled with liquid oxygen, not even an ion engine, it would take much more research to develop something to bend space time, research that can be done right know here on earth.

      by the way I am a fan of Starwars the movie, but I believe that for now it must stay as entertainment.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
      • Pepinium

        John , one thing does not negate the other. Just because there are significant problems here on Earth does not in any way diminish the worthiness of our space endeavors or the people who choose to dedicate their lives to them. On the other hand, you and those that agree with your point of view are perfectly free to go try to cure Cancer, solve the hunger problem, eliminate pollution and educate the world about the dangers of overpopulation. Always amusing when people who are not able to make a difference themselves feel qualified to tell the true thinkers what they should be thinking about, :).

        August 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • fred

      Christians just know that science is playing in God's sandbox. We are on one little grain of sand and we fly our spaceships to the next grain and have the balls to believe in the Big Bang Theory instead of God who Christians believe created all things. So to call us extremists and "birthers" is illogical. I like science. I just don't like the science that theorizes God right out of the picture. I am not trying to convert you, obviously you have a pretty solid platform by which you don't want any part of God, but I have been enjoying life so darn much since I let Him in. He aint in a church, He's knocking on the door of your heart. No four walls can hold Him.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
  66. Marcus

    It's an enormous amount of real estate and our first lucrative insurance policy against extinction! Movin' on up!

    August 6, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Brandon Adams

      I have to think you are kidding. We are not looking at Mars to live there, we never could. It's not even close to hospitable. To think we are doing it to find a place to move? Ridiculous. Were doing it so little boys who played with erector sets as kids can keep living the dream. Not to advance humanity. Move to Mars,,, come on now!! All you have to do is look it up, but instead we go by what the media tells us. Somebody said we could live there, and people bought it and say hurray, good for science looking out for us. The media tells you cow manure is good for you, it would be at Jerry's Deli in a new sandwich within an hour. What we believe as Americans is appalling.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
      • Pepinium

        Brandon, once again, you appear to have a very narrow mind but , just for amusement, do yourself a favor a look up the concept of "Terra Forming". I am sure it will appear incredibly impossible to someone like you. ON the other hand people who experience headaches when they think should probably leave the thinking to their betters. Ad Astra !!

        August 6, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  67. gabetaviano

    Either because some of us just can't get enough of rock and sand or we're just plain dumb and spend billions of dollars without much purpose.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • HenkV

      Yes, spending billions to increase our knowledge is clearly the wrong thing. Spending billions and billions more on handouts creating a whole generation of government dependents is money much better spent. And there is an immediate return on investment: re-election.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • adasd

      When they find a bug on Mars you will be eating those words biiiiittccchhchchchchchhc

      August 6, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  68. anonymous

    We can learn everything we need to know about Mars by sending robots. There is no need to send men to Mars. It's a HUGE waste of money....money that's needed here. The only ones "fascinated" with Mars are the people employed by NASA and their suppliers. And it's not Mars they're "fascinated" with...it's the money from the NASA contracts.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • NewYorkGal12

      We haven't even finished writing the bible yet and we want to pay taxpayers to fly to Mars! We need to cure cancer not build robots! The last thing we need is robot martians coming back to conquer us. Science people need to read the bible. God wrote "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" in the bible so robots are bad.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • David Murray

      I don't work for NASA and I am fascinated by Mars! I believe we need to send humans there permanently. And what better thing to we have here on Earth to spend money on? Feeding the starving children? Well, we've been doing that for decades and all it does it raise up new generations of starving children to feed. So I say use the money on something that will make a difference in the long run!

      August 6, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Mark

      By contractors do you mean money spent here? Where do you think the money was spent- Mars? If you want some of that money get a job with one of those contractors or get a job selling one of them a car or a hamburger or building her a house or would you rather just have Obama send you a check for sitting on your rear complaining.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  69. Robert

    The whale in Hicthhikers guide to the galaxy. He sais what do I mean by who am I, No No, get a hold of yourself. Same thing with the premise of the article. Just an opinion of course. Don't panic.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  70. Peter

    We are fascinated with space because that is where we came from. Jesus made it clear in Bible that He was not from this world. Jesus is coming back in command of a fleet of spaceships. The Bible says that he is coming with the clouds, name given by the ancients for things flying in the sky. The Bible is the most UFO book in the world. It shows things rovering, flying in space and some people reported their trip to space. It is all there. Just read the Bible-UFO website.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  71. Stupidity

    I am genius...look my idea worked on Mars ..look that wheel is turning on the rocks LOL..thanks to billion dollars...lets go on Jupiter i have some other ideas..MONEY PLEASE..

    August 6, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • David Murray

      Just because you have zero sense of adventure doesn't mean the rest of us are like you.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • jonyo

      The money doesn't go on the spacecraft, the money goes to people who create the spacecraft.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:00 am |
  72. Chris

    Mars is a look forward of the fate of our own planet. Anything we can learn scientifically to keep it from happening is paramount. All orbits decay. We are drying up and heading toward the sun. That's just a fact.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • RodW

      Or maybe the Sun is headed towards us. Perspective is everything.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  73. Beta Tom

    So there IS life on Mars! Look at pic 11, smack bottom center there's a boot print in the dust !!!!

    August 6, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  74. Chris

    Mars and Venus both are corpses. One or both may have once been flush with life, as the Earth is. We are fascinated by corpses.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
  75. bhs

    NASA should have a link on their website so the American people can make voluntary contributions so more missions like this can take place. This is one of the best things I've seen from NASA in my life and it certainly captures the imagination. I'd love to pay in to see more of these programs. Wonderfully amazing!!! Good going guys!!!!!

    August 6, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • John

      Your are right it is interesting, but ....
      what about less money for a trip to the bottom of the ocean to study species in our own planet?, to hopefully prevent mankind from exterminating its own rich animal and plant kingdom?
      The Global Biodiversity is Down 30 Percent in 40 Years.
      http://news.yahoo.com/report-global-biodiversity-down-30-percent-40-years-000930009.html

      August 6, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  76. SusanBarwick

    Mars might be the refuge of our races one far off day. Also, what might they learn what happened to Mars to make sure it does not happen to earth. Learn from history right? With this project they will be able to have a bit of an idea about the history of Mars. Look at the photos from years past and you can see where rivers or glaciers flowed. IT is very fascinating and I look forward to when they start releasing data and explaining it to us.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • John

      The martians were using fossil fuels.
      They even sent rockets to the early earth fueled by decomposed plants from their dinosaur era.
      The temperature went up and up and they cooked nice and toasty.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  77. dreamer96

    Mars once had a vast ocean...

    and a hot liquid molten iron core, and since the Mars core was spinning, Mars too had a magnetic field, and a atmosphere as well...but the core was too small, and ran out of it's nuclear fuel, and the magnetic field was lost, and the atmosphere and the vast ocean boiled off...

    But what if Mars did develop life...and Mars was not hit by a asteroid like Earth has been, a couple of times..like the one 65 million years ago that killed many life forms on Earth...

    Maybe some day one of these rovers will look up and see a subway tunnel sticking out of a Martian cliff side, and we will ask ourselves about the sudden surge of human civilization all across our world some 10,000 or 12,000 years ago....ah.. but Mar's Molten Iron Core harden long before our surge in civilization...I just love a good mystery...

    August 6, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • SusanBarwick

      Yeah, I agree. Well said.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  78. MDBHERE

    Why? because you worship the created instead of the Creator.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • DanBun

      Not at all. Learning about our solar system, and the universe as a whole, is learning more about my faith.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
      • John

        lets first learn to take care of our own planet.
        Going to mars is like having a messed up apartment and knocking on your neighbors to see how his plumbing is working.

        August 6, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Peter

      Jesus came on a spaceship. The magi followed a spaceship. The Chirstmas star was a spaceship. There is no way to be a star or planet. The Bible reports things rovering and flying all the time. Jesus is coming with the clouds. He doesn't need clouds or He will fall. The clouds are spaceships. The Bible even tells the size of the fleet. Read the Bible-ufo website

      August 6, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
      • IRS Investigator

        Show us his tax return.

        August 6, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • lewisbreland

      What? We're fascinated by our surroundings because we "worship the created"? Are you insane or just logically impaired?

      August 6, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
  79. Martian

    Mars attack!!!!!!!

    August 6, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
  80. Will from Ma

    So Texas has about 20 million people. As far as I see it that means we should be able to stick them in three or four large concentration camps in northern Alaska and give the land back to Mexico

    August 6, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Walter

      Clearly, Wade Michael Page shot the wrong people. Perhaps you should post your address online so that some nut job can visit you and make this a happier planet.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Patrick

      That's a really rude thing to say. Want to know why Texas is full of tough people who are proud of their State...because of idiots like you who always try to pick a fight. You sure do sound a lot like Hitler.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Stupidity

      Science is a very crazy thing my friend..once it goes into your head you go nuts..and spend billions of dollars..for no reason..

      August 6, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  81. Martin

    WE???!! reporters use that word too much, let's take a vote and we'll find out is just YOU!!

    August 6, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
  82. Topper

    we are so interested in mars becuase as we trash the earth and deplete i tof its natural resources, we will need someplace else to get them from...

    August 6, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • John

      exactly!!!!!!!!!!

      August 6, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  83. ThreeBoobs

    It's because we love three breasted women.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  84. Bywsopif

    Only CNN could post such an asinine headline.
    What's our fascination with Mars? Duh. Maybe it's a chance to see pictures from another planet.
    What's so complicated about that?

    August 6, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • John

      Um, that's what's fascinating about this current mission. The headline is about why we are fascinated about the planet, in general. Think a bit ;-)

      August 6, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  85. Stupidity

    THESE PICTURES COST US BILLION DOLLARS..MOST EXPENSIVE IN THE WORLD SAVE IT..AND KEEP LOKKING AT IT...EVEN IF WE FIND BIG POND OF WATER WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WITH IT....DRINK IT SEND IT TO EARTH..BETTER FIND WATER IN TEXAS..THAN ON MARS..

    August 6, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Will from Ma

      To hell with Texas

      August 6, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
      • Walter

        No. To hell with you.

        August 6, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • DanBun

      Very short-sighted thinking here. We must plan for the future. Space, sooner or later, IS the future of humanity.
      Keep in mind, NASA's entire budget is not even 1% of the total federal budget. Surely we can afford such long-term investments.....

      August 6, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
  86. Stupidity

    Because we are stupid...AND WASTING MONEY...

    August 6, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • John

      we screw up this planet so we are looking for another one to do the same.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • DanBun

      Knowledge is almost always better than ignorance.
      Calling this a waste is effectively stating you'd prefer mankind to remain ignorant.
      Space WILL be explored, and those who explore it WILL reap the benefits. I would prefer the USA do that exploring, and indeed, lead the world at doing it. Nations with strong space programs tend to be economically successful. Nations without a version of NASA, tend to be less successful.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • DAMN YANKEESA

      DAMN YANKYS AND THEIR FANCY BOOK LERNIN A'HYUC,K

      August 6, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Doug Lynn

      Amen. We are all not fascinated with Mars. I could not care less about Mars. We haven't fully explored our own oceans and we are going to Mars? We live in a world where a sizable percentage of people at all income levels are constantly taking advantage of the rest of us for their own selfish reasons. Spending taxpayer money on Mars missions is just another example of spending for the benefit of a few while claiming it is good for everyone.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
      • DanBun

        Why is it "either/or"? Why not explore our oceans AND our solar system? Why must we choose an area to learn more, and one to remain ignorant?

        August 6, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
      • John

        Bingo!!
        We don't even know whats on the ocean surface and we have plans to colonize Mars

        August 6, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
      • NewYorkGal12

        We haven't even finished writing the bible yet and we want to pay taxpayers to fly to Mars! We need to cure cancer not build robots! The last thing we need is robot martians coming back to conquer us. Science people need to read the bible. God wrote "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" in the bible so robots are bad.

        August 6, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Jeff

      STUPIDITY.... Good Name is Suits you Perfectly

      August 6, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
  87. Ryan

    It absolutely disgusts me how some of you blast NASA's efforts and claim the funds used for the mission are "wasted."

    Exploration is a critical component to American society and we are just now on the verge of having the technological capabilities of truly exploring the cosmos. The potential discoveries waiting for us out there could be some of the greatest discoveries in the history of civilization, yet some of you are content to decry and denounce these endeavors in favor of more government hand outs. Truly sad.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  88. ngc1300

    Realize that the vast majority of that $2.6 billion stayed right here on Earth, in the form of salaries for the scientists and engineers who designed her, in the form of payment to the companies that were contracted to build her (and the salaries paid to their employees), some 7000 people in all, and funding for the engineers and support personnel who will operate her. These people paid taxes, bought food, cars, houses, etc. These activities in turn employed others, to fill those needs. The actual cost of the machinery on Mars is not that great. The knowledge is priceless. Research invariably pays for itself over and over again at some point (not next quarter, which doesn't appeal to those with no vision). If you can't value knowledge and vision, and the awe they impart, you are a hopeless Luddite.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
  89. Ray

    However people dreamed of a successful spaceman to land on Mars, NASA has accomplished this with a Robert!! Is it Mr. Curiosity? History repeats itself. First thing who landed on moon was a dog. NASA always tries to do its best to discover new planets which might be conevenient to human life. Man will visit Mars soon.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  90. Mark J. Marquisee

    I think the complaints about the money spent on the Curiosity Mission miss an important point. The billions of dollars spent on the mission weren't in the materials that were shot into outer space, they were paid out to workers and suppliers right here on good old earth.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • DanBun

      And those workers then spent their paychecks buying hourses, cars, going out to eat, taking vacations, etc. Simply put, those workers created more jobs by spending their paychecks.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  91. barbara

    Wow, the one pic that I'm really impressed with is of the Curiosity's shadow... wow. So where is Newt? I thought he'd be there to officially welcome the rover.... oh, I forgot, he's on the moon!

    August 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  92. Hollywood

    A difficult question. Personally,my fascination began years ago with the thought that there has to be life out there somewhere. Why not right next door? Well, im 59 years old now and my opinion is stronger than ever.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • gregingso

      It may actually turn out that life started first on Mars, and I am not referring to just micro-organisms but plants and animals too. Wouldn't it be awesome to discover that we actually got our start on Mars and when the conditions favorable to life began to erode there they decided to come here to Earth. There are supposedly possible 'monuments' on the Martian surface that suggest this might be true. Hopefully Curiousity will verify at least the possibility of that having happened.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
      • John

        I dont think they would reveal data if they find alien life, they dont even admit seeing Unidentified flying stuff.... on the NASA footage of space missions, they claim it all reflections , dust particles, ice particles etc...
        IF they find a square block of concrete on mars they would say it got there after the moon and the earth collided as a flying rock and took its form due to martian wind and erosion...etc.
        There is always a logic explanation not related to beings smarter than us, because we are alone in the universe and the earth is flat.

        August 6, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
      • Highly Motivated

        I have also considered that possibility. Why not? But seriously, the money could be better spent exploring for oil, gold, and silver in the far reaches of our oceans. This might make our country wealthy again.

        August 6, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  93. HdentalP

    Unless we have the technology to fly to planets that we know at least by 70% that can support life, the government should not be spending our tax money on sending toys to Mars-like-dry-planets to discover whether it did or did not support life some million years ago. While sending Mr. curiosity to Mars may be a fascinating game to NASA's well paid scientists and engenders, to ordinary people it's a wasted money which should have been distributed to the unemployed.

    August 6, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Portland tony

      Well I'm sure the unemployed would love your $1.70 a year contribution!

      August 6, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
      • HdentalP

        10% unemployed of 155 million people in the labor force equals to 1,550,000 million unemployed people. 2.6 billion spent on Mr. Curiosity divided by 1,550,000 is $1,677 a year. Do your calculations right if you wanna be sarcastic IQless moron.

        August 6, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
      • Portland tony

        The damn thing wasn't built in a day. Funding started in 2004..Fool! My figures were based upon a population of 300 million. The $1.70 was the average outlay per individual in the US for 8 years!

        August 6, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • St Andrew

      Your calculation should be $167.74.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
      • HdentalP

        I know, it's 2.6 billion divided by 15,500,000 (10% of 155,000,000). I noticed it after I posted it. Still $167 would have helped some people who financially struggle. But it cannot be average of $1.70 per person, as believed by Portland tony, regardless that it took 8 years to build.

        August 6, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • DanBun

      We already pump cash into unemployment, and otehr welfare programs.
      And if we close down NASA, won't that simply increase the number of unemployed?
      Don't forget, all of the employees at NASA and their contractors spend the money they make. Lose their jobs, and we lose that income.
      And that's not even discussing the loss of engineering talent, scientific advancement, and technological spinoffs.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
  94. lynn

    black and white phtots ...really?

    August 6, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • gregingso

      Color, high def pictures are coming next week and should be the norm there-after. Limited data transmission ability as well as probably more important data taking priority is behind the black and white early photos.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  95. itreallydoesntmatterwhatwethink

    How much did we borrow for this effort? We should have used those funds to fix an earthly issue like poor education or to design something useful.

    August 6, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Portland tony

      What a question? Well it was priced at 2.6 Billion. Funding started in 2004...So it cost each and every American (300,000,000 of us) on average about a Buck-Seventy a year for 8 years..Jeez!

      August 6, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
      • itreallydoesntmatterwhatwethink

        I take it from your reply $2.6 billion isn't much money. Are you a 1%'er?

        August 6, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • gregingso

      If the technological achievement of sending a 2000 pound vehicle to another planet in our solar system and then landing that vehicle precisely where it was intended using a 'sky crane' doesn't qualify as 'something useful' then you must not have any critical thinking or imagination skills at all. The potential payoff that we will get from just developing these capacities makes the 2.6 billion a bargain. Throw in the data and the knowledge that exploring Mars will provide makes it a no-brainer. For the cost of barely 2 stealth bombers we get all of that as payoff.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Peter Grenader

      Do you have any idea how our lives changed forever after the tech advancements of the 60's space race? Integrated circuits. Need I say more? I can if need be. The benefits of these types of milestones are almost unmeasurably huge. Forrest through the trees, my friend.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • IOWAonMars

      They found a rock that had some "lower life forms" on it and convinced the Feds that it skipped off of Mars….3 billion dollars later….we Nasa gets to keep it's research going….hey I don't mind research but the evidence wasn't there people!

      August 7, 2012 at 2:42 am |
      • IOWAonMars

        The most expensive rocks EVER!!!!

        August 7, 2012 at 2:44 am |
  96. Like What

    "WE" don't have a fascination with mars. Those that seek to deceive the masses with this nonsense pretend that everyone has a fascinattion with mars.

    August 6, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • DanBun

      Of course not. Many people simply lack the scientific curiosity. Many just never ask the questions. Many are content to remain ignorant, and see no value in learning just for the simply benefit of learning.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • Tr1Xen

      Wow, do you take everything in life so seriously? Go eat a nice piece of chocolate cheesecake and watch a funny movie or something. You sounds like someone who needs to smile.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  97. Shibin Dinesh

    If there was Media in Mars, how would they have seen the mars landing of Curiosity!
    Read it in my blog
    http://theeternaltruth.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/meanwhile-in-mars/

    August 6, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  98. Robert

    I admit...I was very very skeptical about the landing..just too Rube Goldberg for me. However, hanks to exceptional engineering and design...they made it work! What a clear example of American Exceptionalism. I must add, this certainly inspires me to do something exceptional.

    August 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • jayman419

      I had the same reservations about it. We spend $2.5 billion and then we "Wile E. Coyote" the thing down onto the ground?

      But they did it that way because they wanted to be able to precisely land it on a slope, and minimize the risk of damage to the machine that could be caused by something like a parachute or bringing the rocket sled down to the surface before unloading.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  99. Anony

    Question: why would they land near a crater? If there was life, it was most likely destoryed in the area. Think of it like a volcano, the remains would be covered by lifeless dust. Anyone have any thoughts?

    August 6, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Portland tony

      They are looking for an area, similar to a grand canyon where eons of stratified layers of sediment are exposed or close to the surface. Remember, they are looking for soil samples of Mars that were deposited millions of years ago when the planet had a denser atmosphere!

      August 6, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Peter Grenader

      The entire planet is covered by dust, that's an unescapable feature of the planet. There are no trees to hold the soil in place and massive wind storms that blow it to coat the entire surface. Based on measurements made in the orbiting satellites particular crater's mineral composition suggests it was once the well of an ancient sea and has miles of exposed outcrops for reading the history of the planet. It's a great site for getting great science.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • Walter

      They're not looking for life. They're looking for SIGNS that life once existed or that the building blocks are there. And you can find that, even in a crater.

      Although, your premise is flawed. You assume that the impact occurred, wiping out life. Ever been to Meteor Crater in Arizona? Guess what. Life!

      August 6, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  100. Gavin St. Ours

    Watching the drama unfold last night was amazing. And this is just the beginning of Curiosity's mission! I can't wait to see what kind of mysteries she unlocks.

    August 6, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
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