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Why do we spend so much money sending probes to Mars?

Why do we spend so much money to send a space shuttle across the country? Or land unmanned probes on other planets? Or send people to space stations? I’ll tell you why: it’s fucking awesome. Everyone single person I know in Los Angeles was staring at the sky on September 21st, hoping to catch a glimpse of space shuttle Endeavour. It’s events like these, events where science is just plain cool, that inspire bright young people. It’s why we pour baking soda and vinegar in handmade faux-volcanos in elementary school. It’s why we watch Planet Earth and see breathtaking photography capture the magic that is NO MAGIC AT ALL IT’S JUST THE BRILLIANT WORLD THAT WE LIVE IN. And if our nation hopes to compete in the coming decades with other countries—whose citizens arguably study harder and longer and spend more time focused on the sciences—it’s making science interesting that’s going to give us the edge. That’s what’s going to inspire the future generations to look up into the stars and build the vehicles that are going to get us there.