Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Rooting around in the cellars of the web, I came across these beautiful depictions of the spacecraft that might have been used in the various manned missions to Mars planned over the past 45 years. Of course, the perennial cry of critics has been that missions like these would be fantastically expensive - far too expensive to contemplate doing it in the near future. But let's get those costs into perspective. President Obama has estimated that taxpayers will have to pay in the region of 2.3 trillion dollars to bail out the American banking system. It'll probably be more: this estimate was announced February and if we've learned one thing during the ongoing crisis it's that everything costs way more than any estimate. Even so, that's enough to fully fund five manned missions to Mars, assuming each costs around 450 billion dollars, the high end of estimated costs. Likewise, the cost of bailing out just two UK banks could fund three missions. Seems like a bargain to me.