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Sunday, January 11, 2004

To infinity + beyond.... or closer to home?
Earth-Info.Net admits that it is interesting to see what the surface of Mars looks like, but seriously questions the values of any country (or planet!) that ranks the acquisition of this sort of knowledge above tackling fundamental problems of critical urgency + great practical use to its own safety + survival.

At the moment millions of people die of preventable diseases (either because they drink dirty water or lack access to a decent toilet), while overseas aid is dropping (despite commitments to the contrary), a great deal of biodiversity is being lost without ever being named or studied, many children don't have even a primary school education and other crucial work relies on charity in order to get done...

Are we seriously saying that investigating + protecting our farmlands, oceans or rainforests cannot be made as exciting as panaromic pictures of Mars?

Or that the US spending $15 billion on NASA in 2003, while the UK spent £4 million on the study of global biodiversity, correctly reflects the relative importance of scientific discoveries + knowledge about our own planet versus what it would be nice to know about outer space, if time + money were limitless?

Personally, Earth-Info.Net thinks that we should spend the $14-30 billion per annum needed to provide over 1 billion people with clean water before we spend $1,000,000,000,000 putting people on the Moon and then Mars... especially as the public became bored of travel to the Moon by the time Apollo 12 came along, and the novelty of the first landing had worn off!