The Martian Boondoggles
Tea Party Economist
by Gary North: Ben
Bernanke Sent Me a Letter
There was a
recent mini-flap over life on Mars. Some CalTech scientist said
that something big is about to be announced about life on Mars.
But NASA says it's not true. You
can read about this here.
Here is the
Science Laboratory Project and its Curiosity rover are less than
four months into a two-year prime mission to investigate whether
conditions in Mars' Gale Crater may have been favorable for microbial
is exceeding all expectations for a new mission with all of the
instruments and measurement systems performing well, NASA says.
is the key. It has been the key to the tens of billions spent on
this boondoggle for over 15 years. There are no reports about findings
that do not discuss water or the absence of water or the possibility
of water. Why? Because water is basic for life.
So, we read:
"The mission already has found an ancient riverbed on the Red
Planet, and there is every expectation for remarkable discoveries
still to come." Excuse me? A riverbed? As in "river"?
As in "water"? Well, no. There is no sign of water. But,
hey, let's call it a riverbed anyway. What's the harm?
Here is the
harm. Christians and Jews who think that the Bible is true say that
man is the ethical and judicial center of the creation. But if there
is life anywhere in the universe, then man may not be the center.
So, if there was ever life on Mars, the Bible's creation story is
compromised. This conclusion is compromised: "Man is the ethical
center, because he alone is the image of God."
at NASA who spend our money on endless Martian boondoggles with
no economic payoff have a theological agenda. They are taxing millions
of people who believe the Bible's story in order to disprove this
is from the NASA/JPL site.
discoveries about Mars, one stands out above all others: the possible
presence of liquid water on Mars, either in its ancient past or
preserved in the subsurface today. Water is key because almost
everywhere we find water on Earth, we find life. If Mars once
had liquid water, or still does today, it's compelling to ask
whether any microscopic life forms could have developed on its
surface. Is there any evidence of life in the planet's past? If
so, could any of these tiny living creatures still exist today?
Imagine how exciting it would be to answer, "Yes!!"
is only the beginning.
Mars is the planet with the most hospitable climate in the solar
system. So hospitable that it may once have harbored primitive,
bacteria-like life. Outflow channels and other geologic features
provide ample evidence that billions of years ago liquid water
flowed on the surface of Mars. Although liquid water may still
exist deep below the surface of Mars, currently the temperature
is too low and the atmosphere too thin for liquid water to exist
at the surface.
the change in Mars' climate? Were the conditions necessary for
life to originate ever present on Mars? Could there be bacteria
in the subsurface alive today? These are the questions that lead
us to explore Mars. The climate of Mars has obviously cooled dramatically.
By studying the reasons for climate change on Mars, which lacks
the complications of oceans, a biosphere, and industrial contaminants,
we may begin to understand the forces driving climate change on
Earth. As we begin to explore the universe and search for planets
in other solar systems, we must first ask the question 'Did life
occur on another planet in our own solar system?' and 'What are
the minimal conditions necessary for the formation of life?'
Are We Looking For?
Mars landed in the middle of immense public attention on July
4, 1997, when Mars Pathfinder touched down on a windswept, rock-laden
ancient flood plain. Two months later, Mars Global Surveyor went
into orbit, sending back pictures of towering volcanoes and gaping
chasms at resolutions never before seen.
1998 and January 1999, another orbiter and lander were launched
to Mars. And every 26 months over the next decade, when the alignment
of Earth and Mars are suitable for launches, still more robotic
spacecraft will join them at the red planet.
carry varied payloads, ranging from cameras and other sensors
to rovers and robotic arms. Some of them have their roots in different
NASA programs of science or technology development. But they all
have the goal of understanding Mars better, primarily by delving
into its geology, climate and history.
the announcement in 1996 by a team of scientists that a meteorite
believed to have come from Mars contained what might be the residue
of ancient microbes, public interest became regalvanized by the
possibility of past or present life there. The key to understanding
whether life could have evolved on Mars, many scientists believe,
is understanding the history of water on the planet.
boondoggles are good examples of what happens when the state extracts
money from taxpayers in order to conduct research. The research
is not neutral.
government is not neutral. It uses money extracted from some people
by threat of violence in order to undermine their worldview. This
is the moral equivalent of forcing enemies of the state to dig their
own graves before executing them . . . and then kidnapping their
children (tax-funded schools).
It is time
to stop funding NASA.
North [send him mail]
is the author of Mises
on Money. Visit http://www.garynorth.com.
He is also the author of a free 31-volume series, An
Economic Commentary on the Bible.
2012 Gary North
Best of Gary North