In the above video, NASA engineer Adam Steltzner discusses the awesomeness that is the Mars Curiosity rover. My favorite part is when Stelzner addresses the critics of the program's $2.5 billion cost:
"It's not 2 ½ billion dollars we stuffed in a trunk and blew into space. It’s thousands of high tech jobs spread over 37 states. It's honing and developing our skills in science, engineering, and math."
He notes that the U.S. has slipped to 14th in science education and 18th in math1 – in a world where we're competing for economic prosperity with nations 1 through 13.
"This mission is an investment in high tech jobs, in inspiring the youth of our country, in stepping up rung by rung toward 1st place. It's the best stimulus you could imagine!"
If we ever want a chance to be a reputable country in science and math education, we need to spend on the programs that inspire the future. I hope to see this country become tops in science and math education within my lifetime.