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Research at St Andrews

Waste of Space: How the United States Invested $35 Billion in a Worthless Rock

Research output: Other contribution


School/Research organisations


Was the goal of landing a man on the moon a worthwhile investment of American resources? No. The operative word is "investment." Going to the moon provided great entertainment, but an investment? That's another matter. A worthwhile investment yields a return larger than the original capitalization. Though estimates vary, the voyage to the moon cost around $35 billion. Therefore, we can ask: Was that money wisely invested? Were there more profitable avenues of investment? The difficulty, of course, lies in measuring return, since the most readily apparent benefits of the lunar program—excitement, pride, prestige—are impossible to quantify, inevitably subjective and usually fleeting. Nevertheless, if we strip away ephemeral emotions, it is clear that landing on the moon was not a good investment.


Original languageEnglish
TypeA discussion article for an online subscriber-only educational forum -- subject: the American space program. Based on original research. Designed for secondary and tertiary education.
Media of outputOnline
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Research areas

  • Apollo Mission

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