What’s more valuable? Exploration of the universe or a new stadium for a team that has never won a Super Bowl?
NASA’s New Horizons satellite took more than a decade to traverse the solar system to take pictures from less than 8,000 miles above the planet’s surface – and did it for less than 3/4 the cost of the new Minnesota Vikings NFL stadium.
Observatory Coordinator Ron Schmidt says: “People are talking about why are you going to spend money in space? Well actually, we’re not spending it in space. It’s all spent down here. Jobs, people, building the probes. People designing them, that’s all in our economy just like anything else.”
The cost of space exploration has become so shockingly affordable (we are talking about space exploration and government funded projects here), that the comparison has caused many to push for the expansion of NASA and a renewed emphasis on scientific exploration in general.
This infographic explains the real cost of space missions so far.
According to Scienceogram:
The basic take-home message here is that space exploration is cheap: an ambitious space mission might cost a couple of billion dollars, which is a few dollars per American, or euros per European. As our Rosetta infographic points out, it’s also important to remember that these costs are spread out over the duration of the mission, which is often a decade or more. That means exploring space costs literally cents per person per year, for which we get spectacular images, important science, and the ever-present possibility of spin-out technologies which can transform our everyday lives.