Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Robert Roy Britt, Senior Science Writer for writes today at MSNBC about the cost of humans on the moon and Mars. His tagline is that "Bush must quickly reorganize plans, fund one focus," and the best pull is this:

"The money is there
The 2004 federal budget is $2.2 trillion. NASA's is $15.5 billion. Reasonable estimates suggest the space agency's share of the pie would need to rise gradually to $20 billion within a few years if footprints are to be made in Martian dust within a generation.

First, Bush aides say, the plan will call for a return to the Moon, in part so new technology critical to a Mars mission can be tested.

In 1995, NASA scientists and engineers developed a plan to put astronauts back on the Moon by 2001 for $3 billion or less. Other estimates nowadays put the cost at around $15 billion over five years.

That's $3 billion a year. NASA has the money.

About half of the agency's budget is already spent directly on human spaceflight. Nearly $4 billion is earmarked annually for the shuttle program. The cost of the space station is elusive, but it exceeds $1 billion each year. Another $2 billion or more goes to supporting research and maintaining the infrastructure needed for all human spaceflight activity."

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