from the urls-we-dig-up dept
The Martian is inspiring some re-vitalized enthusiasm for manned missions to Mars. Along with the discovery of liquid water flowing on the surface of the red planet, science fiction combined with actual science is making space exploration sound cool again. However, there are still plenty of harsh realities for manned space exploration. Men have walked (and driven) on the moon, but beyond that, it’s unclear how much anyone really benefits from having people touch the surface of another moon or planet — without a plan to stay there and accomplish even more significant tasks. Becoming an interplanetary species sounds like a nice idea, but it’s not a pressing issue to actually do it — and we probably won’t be ready for it until we can actually set long term goals (ahem, and pass budgets on time).
- NASA has thought through the steps that could take people to Mars — and published its plan to try to give it a boost in Congress. The report gives a brief overview of how NASA plans to move from space stations that need to be constantly re-supplied to “Earth independent” stations that wouldn’t require a consistent supply line from terrestrial resources. [url]
- There’s a socio-economic argument that Martian “cities” are unlikely to exist simply because Mars is so remote and isolated, and cities require a network of trade and commerce. Essentially, there is a vast amount of infrastructure and resources to build up on Mars before it’s anything more than a scientific curiosity outpost. No unobtainium exists to make Mars a worthwhile location for anything (yet?). [url]
- Mars simulations have been performed on isolated camps, and NASA is also working with Navy submarine training facilities to get a better idea of how to deal with living in sealed environments for long periods of time. NASA wants to avoid situations that some reality TV shows (eg. Big Brother and Real World) encourage. (Even Mars One isn’t going to do a reality show anymore.) [url]
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