THIS is apropos the letter ‘Curiosity: a capitalist toy?’ (Aug 16). The write has questioned the utility of the amount of $2.5bn spent on ‘Curiosity’, the little land rover sent to Mars by Nasa for scientific explorations.
The writer is of the view that with so much poverty in this world, this amount would have been better spent on the provision of basic amenities to humanity where these are most needed.
While his views and compassion for the common man is laudable, I would like to add that the Earth has more than enough resources for the provision of all necessities and more to all its inhabitants.
It’s only because of mismanagement coupled with human greed that these resources do not reach those who deserve them or for whom they are meant.
The aid money meant for poor is skimmed off to off shore bank accounts of the corrupt rulers of poor countries and is not channelised into the development process in those countries.
Take for instance Pakistan’s own case. It’s no secret that billions of dollars in aid money flowed into Pakistan after 2005 earthquake, after 2010 Floods, and for rehabilitating the poor internally displaced persons who suffered in war against terror.
What has been spent on ‘Curiosity’ is just a fraction of all that aid that the governments of Pakistan received over the past eight years, but Pakistan’s infrastructure destroyed in these calamities is still in shambles with schools lying ruined, roads broken, bridges collapsed and poverty rampant. Is there any accountability of where all those billions of dollars have gone?
Where was the aid money spent that ‘Friends of Pakistan’ had donated?
In my view, it is unfair to question money spent on a scientific exploration like this by arguments that it could have been better spent on earth.
Similar arguments were put forth by all and sundry when Hubble space telescope was being launched in 1990 at a cost of $400m.
The telescope later brought a revolution in our understanding of the cosmos, the dark matter, the age of the universe and the black holes. A similar situation existed when European countries financed the Large Hadrons Collider at Geneva to carry out research on sub-atomic particles that make up all matter. It’s due to that machine that humanity has been able to make landmark breakthroughs in quantum physics which also have commercial applications for development of high end useful technologies.
Science and knowledge are common heritage of all humanity and its only knowledge that separates us from other mortal beings. It’s the money spent on research that ultimately resulted in development of technologies and applications that have made our lives more comfortable now. The hunger and poverty that we see around us is a result of injustice, mismanagement, greed and usurpation over fellow human beings right.
These causes need to be addressed through a sincere effort at both the individual and global level. Otherwise, the hunger and starvation are there to stay, rather increase.