In CNN’s report on the discovery that Mars once had liquid water – and thus may have once been hospitable to life – it mentions that the Spirit and Opportunity missions cost about $820 million. The IMDB estimates the budget for Spider-Man 2 at $200 million.
In other words, each mission cost two big-budget summer movies.
Maybe we should get Hollywood to finance space exploration. It might help placate the “We’re wasting too much money in space!” crowd without abandoning the pursuit of knowledge.
[…] It’s the “spacelaunch” comment that I find most interesting, as I made the same comparison a few years ago, from the other side of the fence: Assuming that the Spirit and Opportunity missions to Mars are typical, price-wise, it doesn’t make sense to complain that we’re “wasting” money on space exploration when a mission costs as much as two summer blockbusters. Manned missions are, of course, more expensive, but robotic missions? If we, as a society, toss away $250 million several times a year on mindless action flicks, what’s so terrible about spending a similar amount to learn something about our universe? […]