When I woke up this morning and saw that this mess was on the top 3 for today’s headlines in science I just had to chime in. This is ridiculous. Then again, maybe it isn’t when you consider all the facts. Last night astronauts filmed a “trick video” using a fidget spinner on the ISS.
With that said, let’s take a look at the facts. I can’t help but wonder how much it cost to get that fidget spinner up there in the first place. Not to mention the fact that it is a “custom” fidget spinner (so, there was already some money spent there). Depending on what method was used, the cost per pound for NASA to send anything to the International Space Station is pretty ridiculous. It can cost anywhere from $2,000 per pound or as high as $13,000 per pound. Needless to say, getting cargo to the crew is expensive.
From what I could find on the web, the average “custom” fidget spinner weighs about 70 grams. So, let’s do the math.
If you think I am making those numbers up, then here is a 2016 Business Insider article that covers some of those allocated costs for any given trip to the ISS. The cost for sending things into space is preposterous.
Setting all of this aside, let’s be generous here and give good ol’ NASA the benefit of the doubt. Let’s assume that since the fidget spinner is custom, it cost $20 while also going with the lowest possible cargo cost. Up front, this little “trick video” cost $350 right out of the gate (and again, that is being generous).
Part of me wants to get aggravated at this, but then again… we need to review all of the facts, remember?
So… with that, I can’t help but ask what the purpose of a fidget spinner might be. This Live Science article from August of 2017 hit the nail right on the head. Here is a quote from that article.
There’s no doubt that toys that allow kids to fidget can benefit kids with autism. Occupational therapists often use sensory toys like tactile discs, Koosh balls and even putties or clays to soothe kids who have sensory-processing issues. Similarly, research has shown that movement can help kids with ADHD to focus.
Maybe the title of my post is wrong. Maybe, just maybe… it was money well spent after all. Because let’s face it, you never actually see any real science taking place on the ISS. It’s always just them doing flips, spinning their microphone, or flying. Maybe NASA sent that fidget spinner for a reason (to help these kids focus and get back on task).
But seriously though, space is fake and it doesn’t cost a dime to send anything up there. All of those cargo costs is just one way for the government to funnel massive lumps of money.
Because, at the end of it all this isn’t about 350 dollars. It is about 1.5 billion dollars per cargo shipment (which includes every time we send man as part of that cargo shipment).
But, who are we kidding… I am ignorant. Don’t listen to me.