A TICKET TO MARS
The United States is under pressure from Congress to to reduce costs wherever it can. Can we really afford a project to send humans to Mars? Is the payback worth the expense and the risk?
Lawrence Klauss is a physicist from the University of Arizona. He’s great at the lecturn. I like to watch him debate. He’s smart and funny. For some time now, he’s been pushing the idea of humans on mars. To get around the main objections (cost and risk) he says make the trip to Mars one-way. In an interview on NPR’s “Science Friday”, Klauss discussed robots to assist human settlers. He said that robots will keep getting better and, by the time we are ready for a manned trip, they may be almost as good as the human astronauts.
So that’s what we should do, right? Send robots?
Well no. Instead of reaching the “obvious” conclusion, Klaus feels Mars needs a human space colony. Making it a one way trip would lower the overall cost of the project and the space ship could use less shielding against potentially deadly radiation since the total exposure to the passengers would be cut in half. Lawrence Klauss’ idea now has an organization behind it. The Mars One Project which has the goal of putting humans on Mars by 2023.
ScienceAin’tSoBad respectfully doesn’t get it.
I don’t want to sound like a broken blog, but the idea of sending humans to Mars keeps coming up and I keep saying forget it. The idea is ridiculous! What about the unbelievable ethical implications of exposing a crew to HALF of a fatal dose of radiation? After the first joy-filled months will some of them get sick and die? How would you feel if that happened? Would the colonists that survive have kids? With two severely radiated parents, can you imagine what the first native Martians would look like?
The Mars colony idea is probably too expensive for congress. But what if it were to fund it? Would that justify putting people at such risk? Shouldn’t our focus be on building great robots that may someday enjoy watching the sun set over the earth?
Let’s go to Mars. But let’s go vicariously.
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The image is by me.