Despite costing a meagre £1.1bn and possibly changing the course of human civilisation as we know it, the banking community has been quick to dismiss the Rosetta Space Mission as a ‘frivolous boondoggle’. Another so-called giant leap for mankind, they argue, could easily have been reinvested in subprime mortgages, money laundering or paying for ‘the world’s greatest lap-dance’.
For the cost of 140 basic satellites, the European Space Agency could have subsidised one UK bank bailout; or at the very least used 34 Rosettas to cover the reduced value of RBS and Lloyds shares that the taxpayer was forced to buy. One City Banker commented: ‘Redefining space travel and potentially learning the origins of the universe as we know it is all very well, but it hardly reflects value for money. Deutsche Bank has set aside over $1bn to cover the costs of investigations into its corruption. That kind of money gets you a fancy satellite and a robot that actually works!’
Having been fined £2bn by regulators, HSBC, RBS, UBS, Chase and Citibank were adamant that ESA money should have been given to them. An irate foreign exchange trader said: ‘Who cares if there is life on Mars or a comet about to hit the earth, I’ve got bills to pay. Can you even imagine the overheads related to maintaining a villa in Tuscany? No? Neither can I, I write it off as a business expense, but that’s not the point’.
The Financial Stability Board, a global regulator, now requires banks to set aside enough money to cover future losses. Given just how big the scale of past losses were, the total amount will equal the cost of the Apollo Program, giving everyone their own light sabre and sending a robot probe into George Osborne. Begging the question why did the original financial crisis cost £10 trillion? Answer, because that was all the Banks could find at the time.