Destination Mars – The Next Logical Step?

The Mars Underground is a documentary that I came across yesterday. It is wonderfully concise and outlines the arguments within the space advocacy community concerning the next logical step in humanity’s quest to explore and eventually settle the high frontier of space. But, is a mission to Mars really the next logical step as we enter the second phase of the Space Age?

At the dawn of the 21st century, space agencies in Europe and America are making plans to land the first humans on Mars. But manned missions to the red planet have been proposed before. For some Mars holds the answers to mankind’s future in space. Others say Mars is too far, too dangerous and too expensive for humans to explore. And in a world torn by troubles, some say there’s no need or will for mankind to reach into space anymore.

Thirty seven years after the last Apollo astronaut walked on the moon, American manned space program seems to have lost its way, unable to reach beyond even low-earth orbit. With the tragic loss of the crew aboard the space shuttle Columbia, a debate has begun. Astronautical engineer Dr. Robert Zubrin has been arguing for years that sending humans to Mars is the mission the space program needs.

I have tremendous respect for Bob Zubrin but, I must respectively disagree. I firmly believe humankind must and will eventually settle the red planet and transform it to a blue and green oasis for life. But, as I have argued elsewhere in these pages the next logical step in humanity’s settlement of the high frontier of space is to return to the Moon – this time to stay. Returning to the Moon with the aim of eventually harnessing its vast mineral and energy resources will be the essential first step in ensuring humanity’s permanent presence in space and demonstrating the vast economic potential that space holds for humankind’s future. Only after we build the vitally important infrastructure necessary to achieve this aim closer to home can we then press onward and outward to Mars, the rest of the solar system and to the stars. If we truly want to become a spacefaring civilization we must first develop and settle our remarkable natural space station –The Moon.

The space program must prove itself to be “economical sustainable and politically justifiable”. A return to the Moon with the aim of developing its vast mineral and energy wealth will provide the corner stone in creating a space program fully geared to help the United States and the World confront and meet the challenges of the political, economic, environmental and strategic realities of the 21st century.

As NASA and the new administration in Washington review the current state of America’s space program and the way ahead it is vital that all concerned send their own input and air their views concerning the road that must be taken. I already did this last July prior to the presidential election and welcome your comments and suggestions.

The Mars Underground


3 Responses to “Destination Mars – The Next Logical Step?”

  1. 1 Ralph Buttigieg May 30, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    G’day Alex,Moon? Mars? Heres another suggestion, do the lot!Theres not going to be much development in Space with the current high launch costs. Getting those costs down is the first prerequisite. However once those costs do come down exploration and settlement of both the Moon and Mars (and the rest of the solar system) do become possible. I expect there will be attempts to do both at about the same time.taRalph

  2. 2 Alex Michael Bonnici May 31, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Hello Ralph, With regard to Cheap Access To Space (CATS) it does not look as if there is much going on at the governmental level in either the United States, Europe or the emerging space powers of Asia (China and India).It looks like every one has given up on the development of reusable launch vehicles or advanced shuttle type spacecraft. The DCX looked very promising and that also was abandoned. For now it looks like its back to the future with the tried and true expendable launch systems. Even the current Constellation architecture seems almost like a throwback to the Apollo era. Albeit, an architecture that I would have expected if the Saturn V had remained in production and allowed to evolve naturally. So all in all it doesn’t look like much progress has been made in bringing down the cost of space launches.Is there anything on the horizon in your view? It looks like space missions are destined to be expensive for some time to come.Best regards,Alex

  3. 3 Jishnu V Subhash July 3, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Hello SirYour blog is very much interesting; I am your blog favorites. also I follow your blog. have been maintaining this blog for more than a year.My blog deals with current news on NASA Space Shuttle Missions,International Space Station News, Astronauts News and Moon & Mars, Aeronautics,Science & TechnologyI have got many back links for my blog from related sitesSo If you could provide me a link to my blog, it will be much more useful for user and young school and college peoples.Around 8,000 visitors daily visits my blog. So it will be highly benefited for your sites also.It would be great pleasure if you can add this link in your blog so that it can benefit our visitors.Hope you would add my blog.Please respond to me for this mail.Awaiting for your reply.RegardsJishnu

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