According to Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), the United States is spending $15 billion a month on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. This is almost three times the National Science Foundation’s annual budget, spent every month.
The original cost estimate for Mars Direct, a manned mission to Mars relying on present-day propulsion technology, was only $55 billion, which would be spent over a decade.
You know, whenever grant-writing time rolls around, everybody jokes about working in “fight the war on terror” applications for their research (in carbon nanotubes, or category theory, or whatever). I don’t think it’s working.
(Tip o’ the accountant’s visor to Phil Plait.)