Mars Attack-why we need a manned mission to Mars

20 07 2009

mars1This blog has already said most of what it wanted to say about the moon landing long before the 40th anniversary. So let us discuss Mars instead.

Here are ten reasons why we should support a manned mission to Mars as soon as possible.

1. Because it is there.

2. Because setting ourselves this task would prove that we humans have not lost our fundamental urge to explore the world around us. The Times today argues that curing cancer is the modern equivalent of the moon landing. Keeping people alive longer is a laudable mission, but space travel speaks to a different set of human ambitions. It does not have to be one or the other.

3. Because it would require an enormous amount of courage on the part of those taking part which would inspire the whole world. As Buzz Aldrin, one of the moon walkers in 1969 said recently

I believe that a mission to Mars would need a commitment to a permanent settlement of people who have signed up to spend the whole of their career on the planet…we are talking about pilgrims, the sort of people who left (England)on the Mayflower.

4. Because it would require international cooperation on a vast scale.

5. Because in the course of solving the numerous scientific, human and technological problems that currently stand in the way of such a trip we would discover many new things about our world and about ourselves.

6. Because a colony on Mars would be a stepping stone for the exploration of the rest of the Universe.

7. Because we would be taking a calculated risk at a time when risk taking has a bad name. A Mars mission would challenge the safety first culture which dominates many cultures today.

8. Because if any natural disaster affected the earth we would need somewhere to escape to.

9. Because if we do not do it the Chinese will anyway. Not being involved would prove that we in Britain had abandoned any pretence to being of any significance in the modern world. As Buzz Aldrin says, ‘a vibrant nation explores or expires’.

10. Because a colony on Mars would change our perception of ourselves in the Universe.

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3 responses

25 07 2009
John Stobart

The western economies, and by implication the western nations, lack objectives that have any historical or civilizing dimensions. China sees itself in historical terms, the Islamic world likewise. The West increasingly resembles an English speaking version of Latin America with power resting in the hands of an elite, a popular culture that glamorizes toughness and violence, an intellectual climate that admits it has lost the lead but seeks only to rationalise and explain it rather than address the causes and an economy that relies on local colour and spectacular events to both attract tourists and quieten the natives.

Planning the colonisation of Mars would address all of these issues. It would once more place the emphasis on technology and the application of science. It would require sobriety and dedication. It would satisfy the ambitions of the young “to travel” which are currently resolved only by backpacking in the less developed parts of the world. And it would instill a sense of mission, a sense of purpose, a sense of direction into the aimless contemporary culture.

24 09 2009
Finding water on the moon, an inspiration to us all « UK After The Recession

[…] to us all 24 09 2009 Readers of this blog will know that I have a deep interest in space travel. (Although I am not terribly good in aeroplanes so I cannot imagine I will be first in line for […]

25 01 2010
Lost in space-the aliens are coming and they are as bad as us, apparently « UK After The Recession

[…] to push ahead with the exploration of space, some of which I listed in this article on travel to Mars. But it is humanity’s endless curiosity and willingness to experiment and explore which has […]

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