The new close-up images of Pluto and the youthful mountains near its equator hint there may be water on the dwarf planet.
NASA scientists cheered and much of the public applauded along when the New Horizons satellite and its high-powered camera snapped pictures of the orb at the edge of our solar system.
It took 10 years for the space probe to come within 7,700 miles of Pluto's surface. The cost: $720 million.
The price tag for the trek has drawn the ire of some U.S. taxpayers but Minneapolis TV reporter Pat Kessler makes an interesting cost comparison to another tax-infused project in a CBS segment he does called Reality Check. The cost of going to Pluto is less than building a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, which will come in around $1 billion.
Plastics News reported on all of the polymer innovations at the football team's future home. It will have a clear roof of ethylene-tetraflorouethylene, which is being hailed as an option over retractable roofs, and the structure's snow-melt system of cross-linked polyethylene will be unique to North American stadiums. Also, 54 rows of retractable polypropylene seats will make the stadium multi-purpose.
While the bottom line for those features and others probably means there won't be any cheap seats for fans, Kessler also points out that a local rail project earmarked at $1.7 billion beats the bills for the Viking construction and the Pluto mission.
Even so, his viewers and readers got into a pithy debate about spending on sports vs. space.
One commentator noted, “Not really seeing any true benefit to us that some probe took pictures of yet another dead, rocky, quite frankly...boring planet. But I'll enjoy that stadium for years to come. Sorry NASA, not everyone thinks what you're doing is terribly thrilling.”
Another argued that the Pluto flyby advances science, which serves some public good.
“The stadium, however, is different,” he added. “That amounts to taxing the poor to benefit the rich. The poor do not attend NFL games. There is no benefit to society in spending government money on stadiums.”
Another person griped “this country can't afford” either project but a lot of the postings had fun with Kessler's comparison. My favorite predicts what both projects could hold for the future: “A team from Pluto will win the Super Bowl before the Vikings will.”