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As I drop off my son's outgrown clothing at the City Mission and watch a young mother search through a box of clothes for a coat to fit the shivering toddler clinging to her leg, I ponder the $165 million we just blew on the Mars Polar Lander and I'm angry. How can we justify spending million of dollars to explore the unknown, while homeless, hungry and sick people wander the streets of every major city in our country?

I am opposed to any of my tax dollars supporting a space program until we can look around us with the confidence that our many domestic problems are being addressed. If scientific minds hunger for new frontiers, let them seek private funding to finance these journeys. Acknowledge their contributions with the "Bill Gates Polar Lander" or the "Sierra Technologies Lunar Probe."

Throughout history, our lust for more power and greed for larger land mass has motivated us to war and to conquer. I think space exploration is just the natural extension of our "more and bigger" quest. It's time to stop. Let us, instead, seek "better" for whom and what we already have. Let our charity begin here at home, with the homeless, the jobless, the ill and the illiterate.



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