Skydiver Felix Baumgartner Brands NASA’s Mars Mission ‘Waste of Money’

Felix Baumgartner, the first man to break the sound barrier in a freefall, in his first major interview explained why travelling to Mars is a waste of money.

Felix Baumgartner at Times Square in New York City, NY on October 22, 2012. Photo: Red Bull Stratos

The fearless skydiver can be undoubtedly assumed to be a champion of space exploration after he hit Mach 1.24, or 833.9 mph, becoming the first man to break the sound barrier without using either a spacecraft or a jet.

According to the Australian skydiver who travelled to the edge of space before jumping back to Earth, NASA’s aim to discover whether there is life on Mars a waste of money.

In his first interview, Baumgartner urged the American Government to divert the money it spends on Mars toon environmental projects on Earth, The Telegraph reports.

“A lot of guys they are talking about landing on Mars,” he explained. “Because [they say] it is so important to land on Mars because we would learn a lot more about our planet here, our Earth, by going to Mars which actually makes no sense to me because we know a lot about Earth and we still treat our planet, which is very fragile, in a really bad way.

The champion continued: “So I think we should perhaps spend all the money [which is] going to Mars to learn about Earth. I mean, you cannot send people there because it is just too far away. That little knowledge we get from Mars I don’t think it does make sense.”

Earlier this year the Curiosity rover touched the surface of the Red Planet. The plutonium powered robot is believed to examine Mars for upwards of 10 years at a cost of $2.5 billion (£1.5 billion).

“That is tax money,” Baumgartner, 43, added. “People should decide ‘are you willing to spend all this money to go to Mars?’ I think the average person on the ground would never spend that amount of money – they have to spend it on something that makes sense and this is definitely saving our planet.”

Fearless Baumgartner, whose incredible jump was watched by more than seven million people around the world, also took aim at Sir Richard Branson after the Virgin boss announced that his company could attempt to break the recently set record.

Using his web blog Sir Richard, whose company Virgin Galactic is attempting to become the first to send commercial flights to space, revealed that he was approached by someone in 2005 who wanted to jump from 400,000ft, saying: “Such a record is theoretically possible. However, the timing wasn’t right.”

Brason went on, adding: “Nevertheless, the technology of space travel and exploration is moving forwards every day. Who knows, the next record leap could one day be from Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo.”

“Haven’t had a challenge myself for a while. Could be fun for Virgin to give Red Bull a run for their money.”

However,  Baumgartner didn’t seem confused by Branson’s comments and dismissed them, saying: “It sounds like kind of a joke because it looks like he wants to use our positive momentum and gain publicity on his side and that is kind of lame.”

The now-world-known Australian added that the idea of someone leaping from 400,000ft was ‘completely insane’:  “You have seen on TV how hard it is to go up 129,000ft and how hard it is to come down.”

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