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Let's go to Mars

If Carl Sagan were alive today, I believe he would be sorely disappointed with the progress we've made in manned space-exploration. In his time, he stressed the importance of further exploring the cosmos through human interaction. Sure we've sent probes and satellites to the planets of our solar system, and they've given us an abundance of data and information on these worlds over the last half-century, but I believe it's time to step it up a notch and blast off to Mars. Those who were around at the time understood the amazing amount of pride and unity felt across the United States when Apollo 11 landed on the Moon, and I think it's time for a second fix. The world, not just us, could use a victory right now. and a trip to Mars would duly compensate.

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    May 27 2011: I do think inhabiting orbital bodies surrounding earth and nearby planets is necesarry at some scale however it isn't yet time to do it, if we are to do it only 10 or perhaps 20 years later it will be much much more feasible and fruitful, we should focus on nanotechnology, material science, nuclear physics, robotics, computer science and genetics with all our might, if we do so answers for challenges like space habitation and interplanetery-flight will come naturally. I am not seeking an utopia but we still have alot we can do here, not can but must perhaps, why divert resources to something we don't need today. People might think as long as it is feasible it is ok, but something we don't need isn't feasible as long as it's not free, let's divert our funds to what we need at this very moment.
  • Apr 10 2011: I'm happy to see a variety of opinions on this matter. In my original comment, I side-stepped economic factors that would play into such a large-scale endeavor as inter-planetary travel. While our current affairs across the globe do not by any means CALL for a manned trip to Mars, I see it fit that we don't abandon the idea altogether.

    In the time of Apollo, well, it really was a race to the Moon between the United States and Russia, whereas today, international cooperation on extra-terrestrial projects is common. In conjunction with JAXA and the European Space Agency, it isn't necessarily illogical to pursue Mars. Again, as recent economic troubles show, we are in a situation that does not at all mandate a man on Mars, but then again, the Apollo years were tumultuous in their own fashion. Perhaps we can, in a sense, barrel through the pressing events of today to collaborate on a project that would further strengthen international bonds, in turn kick-starting an economic resurgence. This is all extremely optimistic but not at all impossible.
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    Mar 31 2011: Large scale disasters of every sort (natural, nuclear, economic, biological) have proven to us again and again that we are very, very bad at predicting or planning for worst case scenarios and find ourselves suffering unduly from our lack of foresight.

    Living on two planets is the only insurance policy built to endure any scenario.
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    Mar 30 2011: Let's learn to coexist properly on Earth before jumping to Mars and screwing it up just like we screwed up our world lol
    • Mar 31 2011: Actually the complete reverse of that is true. Only by going out into space will we be forced to live in a closed ecosystem and learn to co-exist with our environment. Those lessons will be vital for bringing our civilization into balance with nature.
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        Apr 1 2011: Or it might allow people to think that if they screw up here, they can just go away to another planet and try again. The human mind is very under-appreciative by nature. They might not place enough importance on our planet anymore. And no offense but if we need to travel to some far off planet just to learn how to co-exist then we are in a very, very sad state.
  • Mar 29 2011: If the "Gospel according to Carl Sagan" doesn't convince me, and I'm passionate about space, it won't convince the public. The fact is, you can't use passion as a basis of your argument or put it in a financial report when trying to convince the public to spend over $1 trillion to send human beings there. The justification for Apollo had nothing to do with passion, but everything to do with beating the Russians in demonstrating that our military prowess was superior to theirs. Mars is simply not part of that equation.

    Maybe you've read Robert Zubrin's books on going back to Mars. Well I've talked to him personally and guess what, when it comes down to it, he doesn't offer an economic justification or come up with ways to make it economically sustainable.

    Before we can think about going to Mars, we have to lay the most important foundation of all, developing a sustainable space economy. Once have that, we can dramatically lower the costs to the point where we CAN afford to not only send people to Mars, but to permanently inhabit it too.
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    Mar 29 2011: I don't think Carl Sagan was aware of the technology we have today and I think if he were here, he'd be perfectly happy to send a High Def Robot ; ) Me, too.