Guess what our enormously debt-ridden U.S. government has just done.

On August 4 it launched a $420 million dirt-and-ice-digging rocket, aimed at the Arctic Circle of the planet Mars.

The “Phoenix Mars Launcher” blasted off before dawn and is scheduled to set down on the Red Planet’s Arctic Plains May 25 – traveling at a cruising speed of more than 12,000 mph.

And what precisely is the mission of this missile to Mars?

Are you sitting down?

The Associated Press reports that the taxpayers of the United States are spending nearly a half billion dollars “just to understand whether the conditions might have been hospitable for microbial life at some point.”

That was actually the explanation of the lead scientist for this $420 million project, William Boynton of the University of Arizona.

Moreover, the AP also reports, “The Phoenix Mars Leader won’t be looking for evidence of life on Mars, but rather traces of organic compounds in the baked and moistened samples, which would be a possible indicator of conditions favorable for life, either now, or once upon a time.”

Just think about that!

Four hundred and twenty million dollars not for evidence of life on Mars – but for “traces – which would be a possible indicator of conditions favorable for life – either now or then!

And further:

“Next stop is Mars!” exulted Doug McQuiston, director of NASA’s Mars exploration program.

But, AP reports: “If all goes as planned – a big if, considering only five of the world’s 15 attempts to land on Mars have succeeded…”

The AP failed to mention how many millions (or billions) of dollars those 10 (out of 15) failed missions to Mars added to our huge national debt.

But AP did report what should be the following insufferable news to all U.S. taxpayers:

“Science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson is thrilled to see another robot headed to Mars and is confident humans will follow. His novel ‘Green Mars’ is one of dozens of writings going up on a disk aboard ‘The Phoenix.'”

Think about that, too.

NASA, which is supposed to be serious, as part of its latest (multi-million-tax-dollar) mission to Mars, is sending science fiction!

Will nobody in the Congress of the United States move to put an end to such enormously expensive foolishness?

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