"Anyway... the problem is not that we're spending money on space, but that we're doing so unambitiously. We keep sending these stripped-down probes that don't have a fraction of the scientific capability of the Viking landers of 40 years ago -- and as a result,
***though space buffs (including me) don't like to admit it, we haven't actually learned much new.***
What we need is a manned mission. A geologist with a pick axe could discover more new, totally unexpected things in 15 minutes than all of these probes combined."
Exactly! Thank you flashflood! I see by some of the responses here that you would like to infer that I insinuated that the entire space program is, and always has been, a waste. No, man's trek towards the stars (yes, Trekkie here) has been quite a profitable one at times. However, you gotta use just a little common sense when tossing about billions and billions of OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY (i.e. "The Tax Payers"). If you're going to blow a few $1,000,000,000...might as well make it counts.
Some missions are worth it (like the Apollo missions) and many others are mainly designed to transfer massive sums of $$$ from hard working tax payers into other people's pockets. It doesn't take a Hubble to spot that from here. I pay alot of taxes, like many of you, and no one has asked me yet how I deem it fit to spend. No one even wants to open a conversation on spending less of it but everyone has their greedy hands extended whenever the next asshole comes along offering it....but I digress.
Anyway, the money is spent so I might as well enjoy the show!