Mars Exploration and Charles Bolden

Space exportation is to gain knowledge, not headlines.   Attempts to land on Mars and send back images  proved to be extremely challenging, but we did it.  The best estimates so far on the time travel is 9 months.

The question should not be whether we explore Mars, but whether we should do it with manned or unmanned spacecraft.

Recently, on CNN GPS, with Fareed Zacharia’s interview with Charlie Bolden,  Fareed started off by saying a manned mission would be costly and challenging.   Charlie Bolden responded, “Because we have to.  We have to send humans somewhere if we want to find difficult answers.”

He goes on to talk about knowing whether  life exists  in our universe.   But unmanned missions can cover a much larger area and provide much more information.  This is why drones are used today.  Land rovers are a lot like drones.

Then he starts talking like Elon Musk, saying how we must evolve into a multi-planet species that will live on in perpetuity, while a single planet species will die out.

Sorry but the Mars settlement  idea is just wacko, because the people we send into space, either on a two-way or one-way trip  are in a cage, and what you see every day is dust.  Basic supplies will run out.   If earth goes, so will the few people on Mars with temperatures that will melt lead. That is the reality.

Being the first citizen of Mars is romantic, but one should spend about a year or two  in jail, to lose all notions of romance.

I fear we could lose an entire crew, on a science mission better done by land rovers.  I fear an enormous waste of money in a time where there is so much good we can do around the world.  The diversion of funds from worthwhile projects is likely to be enormous.

I am really an optimist, because I think there are fantastic opportunities for the US to explore new worlds,  be it in space exploration, bio-technology or the environment.   All the other ideas on CNN GPS were fantastic, particular the 3D printing of the human heart.   This is terrific bio-engineering  that the private sector and universities can participate in.  But it doesn’t grab headlines quite like a rocket shooting off in space.

I would rather the US find out how to fund Medicare for the next 30 years rather than spend billions on the  “New Dawn of Orion.” Lower your objectives  and start looking to get answers with a reasonable budget without a real risk  risk to human lives, Mr.  Bolden.

Stay tuned,

David Lord




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