Every time something goes wrong with the U.S. space program (currently the subject is the problems with the Hubble Space Telescope) inevitably some people write in, wailing that all that money should have been spent on Earth.
I'd like to point out that the money was spent on Earth. No one has rocketed payloads of dollars bills into orbit and jettisoned them. The money spent on the space telescope, and all space program projects, went for salaries and purchases right here on Earth. Taxes were paid on those salaries and purchases, which went into the national economy. The federal programs that are always listed as more worthy recipients of the money that was "spent on space" were among the ultimate beneficiaries of the taxes paid.
Social problems are always with us and the programs to alleviate them are important and worthwhile. But so is the exploration of the universe and the efforts, even flawed or unsuccessful ones, to expand human knowledge.
KAY M. ANDERSON