There is another knock-your-socks-off image here. A quite incredible picture.
As I mentioned the 'space' v child welfare/drug clinics/save the rainforest/etc argument has arisen on a good few occasions when I have mentioned this Mars mission.
I wonder why 'space' always gets used in this kind of comparison as if it's the only thing government spends money on which could be spent elsewhere.
The Phoenix mission is costing something like $420 million. It is a lot of money for you and me but it's 'only' the money Hollywood spends/wastes on a couple of blockbusters. Mind you, if that Phoenix sum were distributed to, say, the population of the US and the UK, everyone would end up with roughly one dollar.
In Munich there were plans to build a super-duper magnetic monorail Transrapid link from the centre of the city to the airport. This was going to cost €1.85 billion. People complained that it seemed rather a lot for something we didn't really need but there was no, "why don't we spend the money on health care" protest.
In the words of Ena Sharples, "there's nowt so rum as folk".