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Go to Mars on Your Own Dime

January 9, 2004

Now  this is brilliant politics: everyone is fascinated with outer space, The Great Unknown, the Final Frontier, and all that...and it has the added benefit of distracting the country from the Democratic primaries. However, the article fails to mention an important question: why? What purpose is served by putting a base on the moon or by attempting to send people to Mars?  The nationalist in me says that it's so the scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory can flex their mental muscles; the cynic in me says that it's so the Bush Administration can score valuable political points leading up to the November election. Some may answer that this is a step in the right direction for "pure science," but without market prices for "pure science," we can't know whether or not such an exploration is worthwhile. An easy solution: privatize space exploration. Send every taxpayer in the country a share of stock in NASA, Inc. and see whether or not a mission to Mars is worthwhile or another giant waste of money.

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