Send NASA Scientists to Mars …

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… and let’em hitchhike home. “Scientists Want Next Mars Mission to Return,” trumpets the Guardian, but they need $8 billion from — you guessed it — “both Nasa and the European Space Agency” — that is, the taxpayer.

Add a zero, of course (government scientists are not known for their frugality or their financial expertise). It’ll cost $80 billion, and, if it crashes, don’t expect anybody to be fired for incompetence.

No one was fired when the Mars Lander crashed in 1999, when NASA’s best geniuses confused meters and inches.

In the real world, such ignoramuses get canned, but not at NASA. No, there, they just appoint multiple panels to bamboozle the public and sail on.

“‘People sometimes make errors,’ said Edward Weiler, NASA’s Associate Administrator for Space Science in a written statement.” Well, it was only $300 million — about a week in Iraq (where the terrain is quite similar to that of Mars, I’m told).

If you can’t fire them, send them all — with a one-way ticket.

9:48 am on July 14, 2008