“”NASA couldn’t get to the Moon today. They’re so ossified,” – Bill Anders, a former Apollo 8 pilot and NASA astronaut
“WHAT! ‘ossified’… or OSS-ified!” ;D
Look, we haven’t been to the fucking moon… faked, fabricated, Disney land la la bullshit. To get to Mars, we have to at least send humans to the moon… that shit isn’t happening as long as the US military complex controls the planet. We aren’t getting to Mars (or the moon) based on 1930’s rocket technology… then there’s a million and one other obstacles to overcome once that one is solved (radiation, breathing, setting up colonies, water, oxygen, food)… there is more chance of us de-populating the human species than getting to Mars.
I’m all for it! I wish for it more than any other human alive! (I use to watch Total Recall again and again as a kid)… but humanity has to wake the fuck up to ever make going to Mars a reality.
(No, I’m not convinced that the Mars Rover landings are real!)
Finally, an astronaut after my own cynical heart.
A while back, I argued that building colonies on Mars is stupid. “But you’re not an astrophysicist,” you may tell me. “You’re not even a scientist. In fact, how do I know you’re not just a computer program impersonating a journalist?” I can’t argue with any of these concerns [humanmode] *wink* [/humanmode]. But check it out! A real-life astronaut agrees with me now.
Bill Anders, a former Apollo 8 pilot and NASA astronaut, recently told the BBC that sending humans to Mars is dumb.
“What’s the imperative? What’s pushing us to go to Mars?” asked the spunky 85-year-old. “I don’t think the public is that interested.”
Besides, NASA just isn’t the same space program it was in the good old days, back when we had to get to the moon before Russia because that’s the kind of thing that apparently motivates space travel.
“NASA couldn’t get to the Moon today. They’re so ossified,” Anders said. “NASA has turned into a jobs programme… many of the centers are mainly interested in keeping busy, and you don’t see the public support other than they get the workers their pay and their congressmen get re-elected.”
Oh, and the space station? Kind of a bridge to nowhere.
“I think the space shuttle was a serious error. It hardly did anything except have an exciting launch, but it never lived up to its promise,” Anders added. “The space station is only there because you had a shuttle, and vice-versa. NASA really mismanaged the manned programme since the late lunar landings.”
Besides, people’s ideas about Mars are a tad … exaggerated?
“I do think there’s a lot of hype about Mars that is nonsense,” said Frank Borman, another astronaut who went on the Apollo 8 mission. “Musk and Bezos, they’re talking about putting colonies on Mars, that’s nonsense.”
That’s my main problem with the idea of sending humans to live on Mars too. It suggests that humans are so separate from the earth that we could set up shop on some other planet just fine. But Earth isn’t just some rock we happen to be standing on. We are made of earth; we are the planet come to life.
Some think we’ll destroy Earth and move to Mars, creating Earth-like environments on the red planet. Humans are certainly are destroying Earth’s ecosystems. But no matter how badly we mess up the planet, humans will always be made of earth, and Earth will always be more Earth-like than Mars. It’s not rocket science.
Lots of people are enraptured by the idea of leaving Earth behind and colonizing Mars. Elon Musk even “plans” to build a colony on Mars in the next decade. After all, if we destroy our own planet, we’ll have to go somewhere else, won’t we?
“Humans will survive no matter what happens on Earth,” said Stephen Petranek, science writer and author of “How We’ll Live on Mars.”
This idea irritates me to no end. Sure, saving the planet is hard. But turning Mars into something livable, transporting humanity there, and starting a civilization is a whole lot harder and more expensive. Mars is a barren wasteland with an average temperature is -81°F (your freezer is 40°F). It’s 34 million miles away.
“The truth is that the technology to [terraform Mars] already exists,” Petranek went on.
NASA, on the other hand, disagrees.
“Transforming the inhospitable Martian environment into a place astronauts could explore without life support is not possible without technology well beyond today’s capabilities,” says NASA’s website.
Even if humans could somehow make Mars habitable and move there in large numbers, the pesky fact remains that we happen to be made out of Earth. Earth spoils its children with luxuries like breathable air, drinkable water and temperatures that don’t freeze us to death instantly. We were evolved out of Earth, for Earth.
I’m not trying to be a downer. I love sci-fi. If a spaceship landed in my backyard, and a friendly alien invited me inside, I’d go without even taking my bag. And if we ever develop the technology and will to do so, I’m all for exploring space and setting up colonies on Mars. But currently, Mars is a fantasy, and a fantasy isn’t a realistic solution to Earth’s problems. Dreams about going to Mars are fine, as long as they don’t become an excuse for trashing the present. Instead of turning poisonous space gas into something resembling air on Earth, can’t we just cut back on the pollution here?
I’m not afraid humans will actually abandon Earth. I doubt large communities will move to Mars anytime soon, no matter how many shows people make about it or TED Talks they give about it. But if people talk about swapping planets like it’s a real possibility, then humans might be tempted to ignore the problems that brought us to that possibility. Why not destroy the planet, if we’re going to leave it anyway?