I could only smile and chuckle at Floyd Nassif's and Nat Bercovitz's sour reactions to the tremendous achievement by the Galileo space probe (letters, Dec. 15).
Lamenting the money "wasted" on such an endeavor instead of going to earthbound concerns such as the homeless and AIDS neglects the big picture. Just as life throws up obstacles to overcome, it offers up challenges to conquer, each deserving of our attention.
As a homeowner doesn't put his entire income toward his house payment, we shouldn't be lulled into believing that all our resources have to go to solving our endless problems. I am happy and excited to see my money spent on such a grand challenge: While the body certainly needs food, so does the soul.
Nassif and Bercovitz complain that the money spent on the Galileo mission couldhave been better spent on AIDS and cancer research and on the poor. Perhaps so, but this sort of technology investment has a track record of spinning off unexpected good results of humanity.
One wonders if their response would have been the same to the Columbus mission, which led to the colonization of America? Or to NASA money spent on early computer technology, which led to the millions of current microcomputer industry jobs? Would the poor be better off today without these investments?
I think NASA has shown excellent vision, and has invested taxpayer money very wisely on the Galileo mission. I congratulate the very large and diverse NASA- industry team that overcame tremendous obstacles to bring this mission to the level of success it enjoys today.