NASA's bloated budget

Dear Editor:Once again we congratulate the folks at NASA on another engineering marvel - the launch and landing of their Mars rover, Curiosity. I recall when it was launched on Jan. 27, with a reported $2.5 billion cost; a few days earlier they announced the launch of another $2.5 billion marvel on its way to, I believe, Jupiter or some other far off planet that would take something like eight years to reach, and then would determine how the universe was formed. This is called "job security," as they now have to sit at their computer monitors and keep an eye on what is happening way out there. I've often thought how nice it would be if all levels of our government - federal, state, county and local -could have access to a money tree similar to the one NASA has. Many years ago when those nasty Russians launched their Sputnik starting the space race, we were all gung-ho to out-hustle them; finally, after many years and untold billions of dollars, I guess we showed them that our scientists were better than their scientists. The Russians seemed to lag behind; however, our astronauts are now thumbing a ride to the Space Station on their spaceships. I suppose there have been some marvelous discoveries made during experiments completed in the Space Station, but I wonder how many of the results were actually something we really needed. Occasionally, we read about the salaries and perks paid to different government workers which are paid with our tax dollars. I don't recall ever reading about salaries of people in the aerospace industries. I am assuming that's all taxpayer money. I do no begrudge those fine engineers at NASA whatever their salaries might be; I'm sure they are worth whatever they are being paid. Although I've thought the whole space program was just a very expensive welfare program; especially when we read about our politicians cutting the welfare checks or unemployment checks of many people who have been out of work for years with some of them having lost their homes. A portion of those $2.5 billion could be better spent on some compassion for people who need it, rather than being shot out into outer space on a rocket. Jim Lucas Downey

********** Published: August 30, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 20