Felix Baumgartner, the famous skyleaper from Austria, criticised the sending of missions to the planet Mars as a waste of money. He told the Telegraph the amount should have been spent more wisely.
He made the remarks at about the same time that NASA's Curiosity rover completed its first analysis of soil from Mars. The study said soil on Mars is similar to material found in Hawaiian soil.
"People should decide 'are you willing to spend all this money to go to Mars?' I think the average person on the ground should never spend that amount of money - they have to spend it on something that makes sense, and this is definitely saving our planet," The Telegraph quoted Mr Baumgartner.
According to CNN, Mars missions have been causing a big dent in the U.S. coffers. It placed the price of the Mars mission using Curiosity at $2.6 billion. Curiosity features sophisticated cameras, a rocker bogie suspension, a robotic arm, 2 gigs of flash memory, a rock-vaporizing laser and plutonium-fueled power system. Curiosity runs through a remote control from millions of miles away.
The $2.6 billion figure makes previous Mars missions pale in terms of expenses. The Spirit and Opportunity rovers, which landed in Mars in 2004, cost $800 million, according to James Bell, a Curiosity team member. At that price tag, the mission found several evidences, including an ancient wet environment in Mars.
Sojourner, a smaller NASA robot that was launched in 1997, and its parent-spacecraft Pathfinder, had a price tag of $265 million. The findings of Sojourner include clues to suggest that Mars once had a thicker atmosphere and liquid water.
Mr Baumgartner would rather have the huge amount of money spent going to Mars to be used to learn more about Earth. "That little knowledge that we get from Mars, I don't think it does make sense," he added.
The samples taken from Mars by Curiosity were dust and sand which were sieved to remove particles larger than 150 micrometres. The analysis said some dust particles apparently were spread across Mars during global-scale storms, while the sand was more of local origin.
"Much of Mars is covered with dust, and we had an incomplete understanding of its mineralogy. We now know it is mineralogically similar to basaltic mineral, with significant amounts of feldspar, pyroxene and olivine, which was not unexpected. Roughly half the soil is non-crystalline material, such as volcanic glass or products from weathering of the glass," The Telegraph quoted David Bish, a co-investigator of CheMin, which examined the dust and sand from Mars.
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