A brief history of Mars missions

Jul 9, 2020
It's only natural for humankind to want to know more about Mars, our dearest planetary neighbor.

A brief history of Mars missions : Read more
I was working in mission control at both Hughes Aircraft and Boeing for about 20 years. I was always amazed at the work everyone did before,during and evaluations post mission. We were primarily commercial satelites however both companies orbited defense department payloads.
I am continually shocked at the cost of Mars missions--over $2B for every rover. The rockets $243M even after ULA is reducing costs. ULA will reduce costs in the future,no sense cutting the cost of this mission however.
One red light to me is the cost of the the helicopter-$80M !! With only a camera on board this seems like an excessive cost. I assume JPL built it and everything they build is too expensive but they have a great relationship with NASA. Was the helicopter even put out for bid ?