Weiner: Mars Money Better Spent
President Bush is expected to detail plans to resume manned space flights to the moon, and, ultimately, to land a man on Mars.A0 Representative Anthony Weiner, a Member of the House Science Committee, released the following statement about the President’s plan: "I believe in thinking big thoughts and investing in big ideas, but the President’s proposal is based on dubious science, an unclear mission, a hobbled agency and a wildly distorted set of priorities.
"The pictures being transmitted by the space rover Spirit are exciting, and the scientific data it gathers when it begins moving across the floor of the Gusev Crater may yet prove to be.A0 And that’s really the point: armed with sophisticated technological equipment-cameras, microscope, spectrometers-Spirit can do the job, at far less cost than a manned mission, and at far less risk to human life.
"It will cost breathtaking sums to do what the President is proposing, an estimated $70 billion to resume manned space flights to the moon, and as much as $1 trillion to send humans to Mars.
"That is money that could be much better spent, restoring the $102,690,000 in high threat funding that New York City has lost to protect against terrorism, to make good on the promised $1.24 billion that New York City schools haven’t gotten under the No Child Left Behind Act, and paying down record budget deficits that are approaching half a trillion dollars.
"In June, the Government Account ing Office found dramatic shortcomings in NASA’s management structure, from continuing failures to share information to systemic cost overruns.A0 Before any mission to Mars, NASA’s primary mission must be to create a working environment in which critical thinking is encouraged, and information is quickly transmitted up and down the chain of command."