“The purpose of the space program should be pointed and singleminded: namely, the exploration, by men and women, of the rest of the Universe and the establishment of extraterrestrial colonies.” — Tom Wolfe, 1985

Written by Astro1 on September 17th, 2013 , Space Exploration (General), Space Settlement

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    jim brown commented

    By starting a productive settlement on Mars we will develop the capacity to explore very much more much much cheap.

    September 17, 2013 at 4:13 am
      Michael McCoy commented

      Being the only other realistically attainable and survivable destination planet in the universe, Mars will be the only option for mankind to venture from earth.
      There are no other choices, period.
      There is little doubt that a Mars expedition and eventual colony will come about in time — but critical realities cannot be ignored.
      1) The journey to Mars will take 6 months, one way, and the return leg can’t begin for a year after arrival. It’s a two-year mission and any rescue attempt would very likely be futile.
      2) Technologies to provide sustained food, water and breathable air are complex and prone to unexpected problems. A problem with any of the three can result in complete mission failure.
      3) Cost/benefit/risk analysis. Cost: Extreme. Benefits: Marginal at best. Risk: Very high.

      September 17, 2013 at 9:32 am
    CrossoverManiac commented

    This is a message that the “space probes only” crowd needs to understand. The space community wants more than just to look at pictures of stars and rovers on Mars. We actually want to go there ourselves.

    September 17, 2013 at 9:30 am
    john werneken commented

    Wolfe had it right. If another creature were to ask a human for advice, would we tell said creature “Sure, keep all the breeding pairs of your species in one spot, one vulnerable local ecology?”. I don’t think so!

    There is a certain amount of personal, social, and economic growth in exploration and discovery also, as well as joy in new discoveries.

    September 17, 2013 at 2:25 pm