Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Case For Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must

Robert Zubrin is the world's most effective advocate for Mars exploration and colonization. As an engineer he devised the "Mars Direct" scheme which cleverly uses local resources to make a Mars mission more affordable. I read his book "The Case For Mars" years ago, but he's now revised it to include the latest information on the Red Planet. If you want to know how we can go to Mars soon, read this book.

Zubrin has no time for anything that does not lead immediately to a Mars mission, which makes him rather annoying. He dismisses a return to the Moon on the basis that there's nothing interesting there; blows off development of VASMIR, an engine which could reduce travel time to Mars by an order of magnitude; and states that the ISS has "no rational purpose". I don't agree with his characterization of any of these things. Yet as to his goal of making us a true spacefaring species, I am in complete agreement.

The American people want and deserve a space program that really is going somewhere. But no goal can be sustained unless it can be backed up, and not by "rationales," but by reasons.
There are real and vital reasons why we should venture to Mars. It is the key to unlocking the secret of life in the universe. It is the challenge to adventure that will inspire millions of young people to enter science and engineering, and whose acceptance will reaffirm the nature of our society as a nation of pioneers. It is the door to an open future, a new frontier on a new world, a planet that can be settled, the beginning of humanity's career as a spacefaring species, with no limits to its resources or aspirations, as it continues to push outward into the infinite universe beyond.

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