# Should we invest in Mars Exploration

1. Apr 6, 2017

### FritoTaco

I want to ask for your thoughts about mars exploration in the current time we live in. Why do you personally think we should or should not strive to put money, time, and effort to send an astronaut to mars?

My thoughts about this topic are how we should put forth our current developments and push to go to mars.That might mean an addition to taxes, which those people who aren't in favor of it, will spend more money towards funding space organizations like Mars One, SpaceX, and NASA (if you're living in U.S. territory). The fact of the matter is, some people don't believe in "climate change" and whether you're one of them or not, there's been ideas about how mars can help us predict what can happen to Earth in the long distance future. If you look at mars, there are polar ice caps on the north and south region, with many scientists predicting the extinction of the ocean on mars. So to reiterate my question, do you think mars is a good idea in our day in age? Or are there enough problems here on earth?

2. Apr 6, 2017

### phinds

There have been several long threads on this here on PF. I suggest you do a forum search and join one of those instead of starting yet another one.

3. Apr 6, 2017

### Staff: Mentor

Those people demonstrated already that they don't care about scientific results, I don't see how more scientific results would change that. But let's keep that out the thread.

Spending money on space exploration helps solving problems on Earth. NASA has an ROI of about 10 - for every dollar you put in, you get 10 dollars out. In addition, we also learn more about the universe. I'm totally for increasing research budgets, that includes human spaceflight.

4. Apr 6, 2017

### FritoTaco

I've looked at those threads. None of them share my current questions/thoughts, unless you can show me a thread, it's probably too old to be accounted for by now.

5. Apr 6, 2017

### rootone

Exploration, yes, and I'm sure a multi-national plan would be most effective,
(though there does already exist some amount of co-operation between the various space agencies.)
Fantastical notions of establishing a permanent human presence there and engineering the planet to be more Earth-like, .No.

6. Apr 7, 2017

### Staff: Mentor

IMO our money would be better spent elsewhere.

7. Apr 7, 2017

### Staff: Mentor

Assuming for the sake of argument that I buy the claim at all (I think Apple and Xerox might object to being left out of the conversation about where the computer mouse came from), saying that NASA over its history has had an ROI of 10 doesn't imply a particular ROI for any particular program.

Maybe more to the point, some of the most important things we spend our money on don't have or don't need to have a financial payback. And yes, that even includes other avenues of scientific research spending.

8. Apr 7, 2017

### PeroK

Logically, however, that relationship cannot go on indefinitely. There must be a point beyond which the ROI would fall away. Otherwise, we could put all our money into space research and sit back!

Also, I just don't believe those figures. I spent a lot of my working life on government IT projects and the figures often looked like that: massive, improbable ROI. It's only when you get out into the real commerical world with real profit and loss that you can talk about ROI.

In fact, unless NASA is selling products and generating a nett revenue for the US Government, it is dangerous to assume there is a nett ROI. Effectively, you are taking credit for someone else's profits - which is not valid accounting.

9. Apr 7, 2017

### Staff: Mentor

Of course not. It can be lower or higher. I don't see a reason to expect a lower than average ROI for a manned Mars mission, and we have a safety factor of 10.
Sure. But we are far away from that point.
If you can show that this profit wouldn't exist without you? If NASA would be a company, they would get money for it. They are not, luckily, making research results public shouldn't be seen as negative feature.

Research is what changes our world. And no matter which metric you are looking at - it changes it to a world where life quality is improving rapidly, nearly everywhere nearly all the time in nearly all aspects. Fundamental research is a critical part of the overall research effort. Even if we don't see an application today, it might revolutionize the future, and we have to explore it to see what will get interesting. History is full of examples of "useless" research that is now a billion to trillion dollar industry.
If we would only improve existing technologies a bit, without investing in research beyond the existing technology, we would have the best stone tools ever today.

10. Apr 7, 2017

### PeroK

Why isn't NASA self funding? They license these products. They must get some revenue from them.

Your looking at an equation that is roughly ROI = revenue - R&D. The reality is ROI = revenue - R&D - implementation costs - running costs - things that make a loss.

This last point is where governments usually fall down when they dip their toes in the commercial sector. They think they are profitable if the successful projects are profitable. But, you are only profitable once you include all the failures.