Monday, July 20, 2009

Mission to Mars?

I'll admit, I have no idea about the scientific merits of establishing a colony on Mars. However Buzz Aldrin did capture my imagination with this article:
Our next generation must think boldly in terms of a goal for the space program:
Mars for our future. I am not suggesting a few visits to plant flags and do photo-ops but a journey to make the first homestead in space: an American colony on a new world.

Robotic exploration of Mars has yielded tantalizing clues about what was once a water-soaked planet. Deep beneath the soils of Mars might lie trapped frozen water, possibly with traces of still-extant primitive life forms. Climate change on a vast scale has reshaped Mars. With Earth in the throes of its own climate evolution, human outposts on Mars could be a virtual laboratory to study these vast planetary changes. And the best way to study Mars is with the two hands, eyes and ears of a geologist, first on a moon orbiting Mars and then on the Red Planet's surface.

Mobilizing the space program to focus on a human colony on Mars while at the same time helping our international partners explore the moon on their own would galvanize public support for space exploration and provide a cause to inspire students. Mars exploration would renew our space industry by opening up technology development to all players, not just the traditional big aerospace contractors. If we avoided the pitfall of aiming solely for the moon, we could be on Mars by the 60th anniversary year of our Apollo 11 flight.

Much has been said recently about the Vision for Space Exploration and the future of the international space station. As we all reflect upon our historic lunar journey and the future of the space program, I challenge America's leaders to think boldly and look beyond the moon. Yes, my vision of "Mars for America" requires bold thinking. But as my friend and Gemini crewmate Jim Lovell has noted, our Apollo days were a time when we did bold things in space to achieve leadership. It is time we were bold again in space.
Right or wrong, it's an enchanting vision.


Anonymous said...

Establishing a colony on Mars? They couldn't do it on earth with Eco 2. How does anyone think they can do it on Mars?
Pipe dream fantasy.

ken said...

All the people who want to throw their money into a place where there is no air should do so but leave the rest of us out of it.

Bert said...

Way to go, Anonymous and ken. That's the spirit that discovered the new world.

If Columbus had been like you guys, we'd all still be living in Europe.