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Old 04-02-2010, 12:53 AM
Location: Maryland about 20 miles NW of DC
6,104 posts, read 6,013,961 times
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Originally Posted by gy2020 View Post
Thanks for that info. I didn't know the details. Instead of being 20 b. it might have balooned to 50 or 100 b. before it was complete.

You are quite right a senator once said a billion here and a billion there and soon you are talking about real money. He was talking about the Pentagon but it also applies to Federal science spending. The enthusiasm for projects seems to hit a wall when the budgets exceed a few billion dollars. The Europeans show how to get around this problem. CERN's LHC cost 7 billion dollars or about 5 billion Euros. CERN has 16 European nations as members and the US, Russia and Japan are associate non-voting members. CERN divides the budget up amonst the 16 members by the size of their GNPs. The associate members pay to play and the US and Japan spent about 500 million dollars each on this machine. Russia donated hardware and cheap labor (Russian scientists). So Germany the richest member of CERN only spent about a billion Euros on LHC and this over a decade. The result is the world's most powerful accelerator and nobody feels they spent too much on science. The same applies to space projects. People in Europe are talking about building a spacecraft to go to Mars. If you split the project cost amonst a team of 20 nations and use American, European, Japanese, Chinese and Russian technology that first foot print on Mars might not be so far in the future.
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