Way back in the day (2004), President Bush promised to send people to Mars. NewScientist reported that the cost of the mission was “expected to cost $40 billion to $80 billion”. That really seemed like a lot of money. A year earlier, in 2003, Bush sent his country’s soldiers into Iraq. It is believed that as of September 27, 2007, the war in Iraq has cost the USA a whopping 454 Billion dollars! (and here’s even a more pessimistic estimate reported at The Boston Globe in 2006)
If the original Mars estimate was accurate, that means that instead of going to Iraq, the USA could have funded somewhere between 5 and 11 independent human missions to Mars! By “independent“, I mean Mars mission programs that start from the ground up, and do not leverage each other’s technology, research, or manufacturing. In reality, it would be much more likely that technology advances would be shared, as well as NRE costs, lowering the mission costs for all involved. That is, many many more than 11 missions could have been sent.
Maybe if the Bush cabal thought there was oil on Mars they’d have told everybody that’s where Saddam was hiding weapons of mass transportation.