The author of this USA Today editorial claims that the Curiosity program is practical and inspiring and is therefore worth the hefty price tag. In my letter to the editor, I argue that individual rights trump whatever societal advantage may be gained by publicly funded space exploration:
Yesterday’s editorial on the Curiosity landing correctly identifies the value of this great human achievement and of space exploration in general, but irresponsibly dismisses the fact that a massive amount of taxpayer dollars was spent on it – essentially claiming that the $2.5 billion price tag imposed on the public was a means justified by its end – and that opposition to it on economic grounds is “short-sighted”. In fact, the end did not justify the means, and critics of the space program are right to complain.
Fascination with space, an insatiable desire to find answers to the “big questions”, or the potential for scientific discovery and economic growth, does not entitle an individual or NASA or any other entity to other people’s money. The exploration of the final frontier must be left to private initiative and funds. The road must be cleared for companies like Virgin Galactic and Space X to embark on the worthy project without forcing other people to support them. For that to happen, the space program should not only be cut, but eliminated – not because it is hard, but because it is right.