Friday, October 03, 2008

Bailout Brought Down to Scale

WHAT'S THAT IN APOLLOS? - Cosmic Log - To help us wrap our minds around the $700B or more bailout figure, Cosmic Log translates that huge value into "currency" representing different space and science efforts, like the Apollo program. It figures the bailout amount is the equivalent of 7 Apollo programs. Of course, Apollo itself was mind-bogglingly huge, so it stands to reason that a whole new currency system based on different sized space projects will let us comprehend the size of something like the bailout as well as other adventures in Federal funding of various sizes. The currency Cosmic Log comes up with includes Apollo, rovers, colliders, a Shuttle launch, and development of SpaceShipOne, which he figures at $25M.

So ... he figures a Shuttle launch costs $1B, or 40 SpaceShipOnes. The bailout costs 700 Shuttle launches ... or 28,000 SpaceShipOnes.

Now, I know that breakthroughs like SpaceShipOne aren't simply a matter of throwing money at problems. However, suspend judgement for a minute and just imagine if we could buy 28,000 innovation, design, science, and engineering breakthroughs on the scale of SpaceShipOne instead of bailing out Wall Street. I guess after about 500 of those there wouldn't be a mortgage crisis because we'd have all of the real estate in the galaxy available, and we'd be able to grow cities like blades of lawn grass. After that, ...?