Humans have launched 40 spacecraft to Mars, and the latest machine to make the effort is NASA's Mars Science Laboratory. If the Mars Science Laboratory lands safely next week, instruments will begin to analyze the soil, air, and rocks for life, past or present. While some say that the costs are not worth the investment, supporters insist that Mars missions could answer questions about Earth's history (and whether we're alone in the universe), reinforce U.S. prestige, and get children more interested in science and space exploration.

What do you think?