After a ten-year journey, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew past Pluto this week, coming just 12,500 kilometers (7,800 miles) above the dwarf planet’s surface.
Congratulations and praise came from all over the world and beyond, as even astronauts in space joined in with celebrating the landmark journey.
— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) July 14, 2015
All of the technology and labor that has gone into the mission must have racked up quite a bill - so what was the cost of this epic voyage? $720 million. That’s $72 million per year in flight.
As Pat Kessler illustrates for CBS Minnesota, this is still much less than the $1.061 billion cost of the U.S. Bank Stadium, currently under construction for the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis.
As Ron Schmidt, observatory coordinator at Jackson Middle School, points out: “People are talking about why are you going to spend money in space? Well actually, we’re not spending it in space. It’s all spent down here. Jobs, people, building the probes. People designing them, that’s all in our economy just like anything else.”
This infographic from scienceogram explains the real cost of space missions so far.
Check out scienceogram for the full infographic.