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After a two day "silence" it looks like our itinerant photographer on Mars is back in limited business of transmiting information to NASA. Rover's recent dysfunctional hardware and software has been cause for concern but hopefully the scientists and engineers will correct the problem. With a price tag of $820 million dollars this would not exactly be the right time for Rover or its partner (arriving to Mars very soon) to start acting like a car with a blown gasket. Hmmmm....I wonder if some Martian or alien species secretly sabotaged Rover's engineering configuration in order to keep the folks at NASA's JPL "in the dark". Any thing is possible :-) QED

-- Anonymous, January 23, 2004


I love watching "Dexter's Laboratory". Maybe Dee Dee made it to Mars, found the rover, and asked her famous question, "What does this button do?" BOOM!

-- Anonymous, January 24, 2004

Good Point! Dee Dee rank high on the list of suspects of sabatoge, extra-terrestial or terrestial. QED

-- Anonymous, January 24, 2004

THe sister ship landed this evening, and judging from the reaction in JPL, safely. We should know of its state within 24 hours.

On the cost - Bill, as an economist you know the side benefits thaat emit from this kind of exploration. Perhaps one day as time permits, we can post some links to elucidsster the matter.

-- Anonymous, January 25, 2004

Jerryl -

When you consider Mars is 124 million miles away from Earth and both Rovers (Spirit & Opportunity) can make near pin-point landings and provide photos of the "red planet", I for one sit in absolute amazement. I'm rooting for both Rovers to have a successful mission in their quest for geologic evidence about water on Mars. If I could give the folks at JPL any unsolicited advice it would simply be to program the rovers to look for underground water deposits.

You make a very important point about skeptics (both scientists and non-scientists) understanding the benefits of space exploration. Economists have actually been concerned with space for some time and have used similar techniques in evaluating other estoteric issues like environmental pollution, mammography screening and animal extinction. Here are some of the studies which have computed the economic benefits of space research:

Black, William H. A Study of Some of the Economic Benefits to Mankind Resulting from the Investment in NASA Space Research. Maxwell Air Force Base, AL: Air University, 1970.

Chapman, Richard L., et al. An Exploration of Benefits From NASA "Spinoff." Littleton, CO: Chapman Research Group, Inc., 1989.

Hardersen, Paul S. The Case for Space: Who Benefits from Explorations of the Last Frontier. Shrewsbury, Mass.: ATL Press, 1997.

Management Information Services, Inc. The Private Sector Economic and Employment Benefits to the Nation and to each State of Proposed FY 1990 NASA Procurement Expenditures. Washington, DC: The League, 1989

Morgenthaler, George W. and Manfred Hollstein, eds. Space Shuttle and Spacelab Utilization: Near-Term and Long-Term Benefits for Mankind: Proceedings of the 24th AAS Annual Meeting and the 16th Goddard Memorial Meeting. Washington, DC, March 1978. San Diego, CA: American Astronomical Society,1978.

NASA. Medical Benefits From Space Research. Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1971

The above studies are not an exhaustive collection. My former chairperson of the Economics Department @ Hampton Univ. was once a NASA Fellow and helped develop the first empirical study of commercializing space activities (circa 1988). As you aptly described the activity in a related thread, the benefits go beyond Tang, Star Trek or Star Wars. QED

-- Anonymous, January 25, 2004

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