DailyDirt: How Will Anyone Get To Mars?

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Traveling to mars is going to be a really, really long term project. We had some fun on the moon and drove around up there in a nifty moon buggy, but we didn't have a commitment to stay there for very long -- or even plans to keep going there once we knew it could be done. Getting astronauts to mars requires a completely different level of planning than going to the moon. Current technology won't get us there (well, at least not alive and healthy), but maybe we're still making some progress with a few untested propulsion systems. After you've finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.
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Filed Under: astronauts, fission, laser propulsion, lightsail, manned missions, mars, nuclear energy, propulsion, rockets, space, space exploration, spacecraft
Companies: nasa, rosatom

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  1. icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 16 Mar 2016 @ 7:53am


    Quite a lot, actually. Robots are good for taking photographs and measurements of the nearest surface and perhaps the couple inches underneath. But once you start wanting to do things like drilling for core samples or digging a few trenches - and taking a close look at what's inside - humans start to win out. (Yes, current and planned robots can drill core samples and dig trenches, but they're limited to a depth of a few inches.)

    Even Mars Exploration Rover Principal Investigator Steve Squyres says this. He talks about the subject here (PDF). Ending with "But I love those machines. I miss them. I do. But they will never, ever have the capabilities that humans will have and I sure hope you send people soon."

    And frankly, science isn't the only reason to have humans on Mars. As just one example there's also insurance: A self-sustaining colony on another planet is a dirt-cheap investment for the security of the human race.

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